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Helpful tips to assist you with picking the best produce from those overwhelming piles.

It is easy to become frustrated with having to choose the best produce from the huge piles available at your supermarket.   Some people claim you can tell the ripeness of the product by sniffing, squeezing, tapping the produce.   To help you out, here are some clues to help you determine the ripeness of your favorite product.

Oranges: When looking for a ripe orange, don't worry about color. Oranges with green or brown patches can be just as ripe (and some very orange oranges are even injected with food coloring to get that bright color). For the best flavor, look for a firm, heavy orange with a thin, smooth skin.

Watermelon: How do you find the sweetest watermelon when opting for a whole melon? (Note: with cut pieces, look for deeply colored flesh) Choose a firm, heavy watermelon with a smooth skin -- and be sure it has a well-defined yellow area on one side. This is the spot where the watermelon has been resting while ripening, and if it's not there it means it may have been harvested too soon.

Apples: A ripe apple will be firm and deeply colored. Depending on the variety, there should also be a slight rosy tone (such as with yellow and green apples). If you want to find apples with the best flavor, buy them during apple season, which spans from late summer to early winter.

Strawberries: Strawberries are ripe when they're a deep red color with a shiny skin. Avoid buying any with green or yellow patches, as they're unripe (and won't ripen any further). Also stay away from very large strawberries. Though they look tempting, their flavor is often inferior to smaller berries.

Bananas: Ripe bananas are, of course, yellow, but it's OK to buy them while they're still green if you don't plan on eating them for a few days. What many people do not know is that you can actually refrigerate ripe bananas to extend their freshness (the peel will darken, but the flesh won't be affected). Do not put unripe (green) bananas in the refrigerator, though -- this will interrupt the ripening process.

Obviously, these are only a fraction of the fruits available.   Check out this link for more info on other fruits.