The Food Lovers Guide to Houston

Know How to Pick Your Produce

Never picked a fruit or veggie before? Here’s what to look for—and what to avoid—when harvesting your own Texas produce:

By Katharine Shilcutt March 3, 2014 Published in the March 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

0314 food lovers guide farmers market basket of vegetables jcmlzn

Image: Jill Hunter

Blackberries should be a deep black color, with a “full” feel, and should come off the bush without tugging; red or purple berries aren’t yet ripe.

Cantaloupe should smell rich, with a light-colored netting; too much green underneath means it isn’t ripe.

Cucumbers should be firm and not too large with bright, evenly colored, green skin; avoid dull or flabby cucumbers.

Honeydew should smell fragrant and feel heavy for its size, with a completely
yellow, creamy, or white skin without a trace of green.

Okra should be bright green, firm, and no longer than four inches; avoid large okra pods, as well as pods that are too hard or too soft.

Onions should have a completely closed “neck” at the top, with skin that’s bright and shiny; avoid those with dark, powdery patches (which often indicates mold).

Peaches should be barely firm, but not mushy, with an even golden yellow color and no trace of green; red on a peach only indicates sun exposure.

Strawberries should be fat, firm, and fully red, with a strong, sweet smell; avoid any trace of green or yellow.

Tomatoes should be—like strawberries—fat, firm, and fully red, with a deep, earthy fragrance; avoid any discolorations or bruising. 


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