You’ve worked too hard in your garden this year to end up with anything but the best homegrown veggies and fruits. Harvesting your summer produce at the right time (or choosing it at the grocery store at its most ripe) is key to enjoying fruits and vegetables at their most delicious – and nutritious! Use these guidelines for picking common fruits or veggies at their peak.
- Watermelon. At its juiciest, watermelon tastes amazingly sweet. If it’s not ready to eat, it just tastes watery. A ripe watermelon feels heavy and sounds hollow when you tap it with a finger. To be doubly sure, check the bottom of the melon for a yellowed spot where the melon sat on the ground – if your melon has perfectly alternating green stripes, it probably needs more time to ripen.
- Peaches. Peaches can be tough to judge for ripeness, since reddish coloring doesn’t always indicate ripeness or juiciness. For a reliable indicator, check the stem area to make sure there’s no greenish areas on the skin. You can also press slightly on the fruit to make sure it gives a little, but do it gently to avoid pushing through to the flesh underneath.
- Corn. You can tell if an ear of corn is ripe (or overripe) by its husk – so never purchase it pre-husked in the produce aisle. A green husk, plump kernels and silky threads that cling to the kernels all indicate your corn is ready.
- Strawberries. Test with your nose. Strawberries at the height of summer ripeness should smell just as good as you want them to taste.
- Tomatoes. Tomatoes can come in every color of the rainbow, so judging ripeness by their redness isn’t always a reliable test. Push the skin gently: If the fruit yields just a bit to your touch, it’s likely ready to eat. Hard tomatoes need a few more days on the vine.
- Avocadoes. Just like the tomato test, use touch to judge ripeness. A ripe avocado will give slightly when you press the skin – use your palm, though, to avoid bruising.
Bringing summer produce indoors after picking can also bring along some unwelcome garden pests. Treat your edibles with Garden Safe® Brand Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer in the days before you harvest to ensure bugs and insect damage isn’t a problem. Spray on fruits and vegetables right up until you pick them – just rinse thoroughly before eating.