How to keep melons off the ground?

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PHOTO: Jessica Walliserby Jessica Walliser July 26, 2018

One of the sweetest treats of summer is a homegrown melon. That said, whether you’re growing cantaloupes, muskmelons or watermelons, leaving the ripening fruits on the ground can lead to rot and damage from pests such as slugs, earwigs, pill bugs and wireworms. Elevating developing melons so they don’t contact the soil solves this common problem. Here are four ways to keep melons off the ground and make sure you get a perfect, sweet melon at harvest time.

1. Use Plastic Cradles

If you’re a backyard gardener who’s just raising a few melon plants in your veggie patch, commercially made plastic melon cradles are a great way to keep melons off the ground. When the melon begins to form, simply lift it up and place a cradle beneath it. Each of these plastic, bowl-shaped cradles has a spike on the bottom to hold it in place and a perforated upper surface to ensure good air circulation around the developing melon. Plus, they’re reusable, allowing you to get many years of use from each one, which helps justify their expense.

2. Build Platforms

Another way to keep melons off the ground is to make an elevated platform for each one. This can be done with some pieces of scrap wood and heavy hardware cloth. Build a square, rectangular or even triangular frame from the wood and then fasten a top of hardware cloth over it. Rest the growing melon on top of the hardware cloth as it matures. The hardware cloth means that even the bottom surface of the melon will receive good air circulation while slugs and other pests are kept at bay.

3. Make Slings

If you grow your melons vertically, like I do, making melon slings (shown above) is the best way to keep melons off the ground. Use wide strips of old cotton sheets or sections of old nylon stockings to make slings. Tie each end of the sling to the fence or other climbing structure near where a young melon is starting to grow. Gently place the melon into the sling, and the sling will provide support as the melon matures.

4. Use PVC Pipe Platforms

Another clever way to keep melons off the ground is to elevate each one on a piece of PVC pipe. When the melons are small, use 2- or 3-inch diameter pipe, and as they grow, replace the small pipe with a piece of larger diameter pipe. PVC pipe comes in widths as wide as 10 inches, so this method accommodates even large melons. No matter the pipe’s size, cut an 8-to-10-inch-long piece and place it on end beneath the melon, allowing the melon to sit on the top opening.

Using one of these four techniques, you’ll be able to keep melons off the ground easily and without a lot of expense.

Protect Pumpkins, Squash and Melons from Rot

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Protect your pumpkins, melons and squash from fruit-rotting fungi.

Keep your garden weeded throughout the season. This increases light and airflow around the developing fruit, so they will dry quickly after rainfall and irrigation. This helps reduce the risk of disease.

Remove and destroy any infected fruit immediately. Sacrificing one rotten melon can prevent it from infecting the whole patch. Do not compost diseased material as most compost piles do not get hot enough to kill the disease organism. Bury it away from your garden or contact your municipality for disposal options.

Elevate the fruit above the soil to prevent bottom rot. Use a fluffy layer of straw or wood chips under the fruit to increase airflow and reduce contact with the soil. Or try melon and squash cradles that elevate the fruit above the ground to prevent rot and promote even ripening.

A bit more information: Blossom end rot of melons is similar to that of tomatoes. A lack of calcium at certain times in the fruit’s development results in the blossom end turning black. Keep soil evenly moist to reduce this problem and have a soil test before adding calcium or other nutrients to the soil.

You’re five-years-old, the sun is beating down on your skin while you’re sitting outside on the warm summer grass, and your mom hands you a piece of watermelon.

She tells you not to eat the seeds. Being the disobedient little stinker that you are, you swallow one anyway. Your big sister leans over and tells you that a watermelon is going to grow in your stomach, and you instantly begin to cry.

It’s 15 years down the road since then, did that watermelon ever show up? (Hopefully not.)

Where exactly did this myth come from that if you eat watermelon seeds, your digestive tract suddenly becomes an organic garden?

It’s no surprise that people more commonly opt for a seedless watermelon (who really wants to keep spitting seeds out of their mouth…) However, what a lot of people don’t know, is that watermelon seeds actually carry a lot of nutritional benefits that many people don’t know about.

An article published on Healthline.com talks about five very beneficial perks of swallowing watermelon seeds.

Forget about accidentally swallowing one while you’re eating watermelon, this article actually advises taking them out of the watermelon, roasting them, and then dusting them with olive oil and salt, or cinnamon and sugar. (Yum?)

It’s no surprise that these seeds are very low in calories. This makes them a great alternative to nuts, which have a surprisingly high caloric value.

Not taking your daily vitamins? That’s okay, the seeds are high in magnesium, iron and folate. (If you’re a vegetarian like me, I’m sure you want to take any chance to grab iron that you can.)

Finally, Healthline.com stated that they are comprised of good fatty acids, like monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. (And yes, everyone needs fat in their diet, just make sure it’s the good kind!)

So while I don’t advice going home and eating an entire watermelon, (I tried once, it didn’t workout too well.) I do recommend taking a new perspective on them, and being open to how they can benefit you.

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GARLAND, Texas –

Doctors are in pure disbelief after a patient came into the ER early Wednesday morning complaining about severe stomach pains. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, is still seeking treatment in the hospital and staff claim they have never seen anything like this before.

“We take on a wide number of patients day-after-day, and at this point in my career I thought that I’ve seen it all,” said Michelle Brooks, a nurse at the hospital. “The gentlemen came in, and said his pain was a ’10’ on the stupid scale we’re always using to determine how bad it hurts, so we gave him the standard tests and after nothing came up out of the ordinary, we thought it might have been just gas. He begged us to run another test, so we did an ultrasound of his abdomen, and what we found was remarkable.”

The ultrasound showed a large pumpkin-shaped shadow in the man’s stomach, and doctors initially assumed it was built-up feces, which happens often in patients with IBS and other stomach disorders. It wasn’t until the man mentioned that he had been snacking on some raw pumpkin seeds the previous evening that the idea of an actual pumpkin being inside this man’s stomach even blossomed.

“At first we laughed, and thought it was funny how the ultrasound images appeared to be a pumpkin, but when we looked into it further, we realized it was an actual pumpkin,” said Doctor Rose. “In my career, I’ve seen nothing like this before. The closest is the multitude of things I’ve pulled out of people’s anuses, like lodged bottles and Toy Story figures, but I have never dealt with cases of people swallowing a seed that grew.”

Doctors are now attempting to break down the pumpkin with medications so the man can pass the pumpkin out properly, as they felt surgery was too great a risk in his current condition. If the medications don’t work, doctors say that the only remaining method will be extreme laxatives to help the man pass the pumpkin whole.

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With spring upon us and summer just around the corner, watermelons will soon be back in the limelight. But as you enjoy the sweet, juicy fruit, you might end up worrying about that disturbing threat you heard as a kid: “Don’t swallow the seeds, or a watermelon will grow in your stomach!”

But how much truth is there to this warning? Can a watermelon seed grow in your stomach?

What Do Seeds Need to Grow?

There are three simple things that any seed needs to start growing, or germinating: the right temperature, a source of water, and a good place to grow. How do they know when to grow, and which way to go, is somewhat more complicated.

Seeds use a process known as geotaxis to sense the direction in which gravity is pulling them, and orientate their shoot and roots accordingly. Once the shoot breaks the surface of the soil, they start growing towards the nearest light source, which is known as phototaxis.

The process by which the seeds know when to start growing is programmed at the genetic level, although scientists are still studying exactly how this works.

What Are the Conditions in Your Stomach?

Simply put, the inside of your stomach is not a good place for a plant to start growing. It is dark, but more importantly, it is filled with a variety of acids and enzymes specifically produced to break down organic matter.

The main component of your gastric juice, as this mixture is sometimes known, is hydrochloric acid. This acid is so strong it can melt through metal, and a seed would have little chance of surviving long enough to germinate.

Even worse for the seed’s chances, your stomach regularly opens and closes the passageway to your intestines, known as the gastric sphincter. So, if the seed was somehow able to avoid being dissolved by the corrosive soup it was sloshing about in, it would also have to stop itself from being flushed out into your colon.

So, Can A Watermelon Seed Grow in Your Stomach?

After reading this, you’ve probably worked out the answer for yourself by now. No, there is effectively no chance that a watermelon seed, or any other seed for that matter, would be able to survive in your stomach for long enough to start to grow. This regularly shared warning is very much a myth.

Where Did the Myth Come From?

Similar to the old favorite of sending your new employee out to find a tin of elbow grease, this myth has been around for a good while. It’s probably impossible to work out exactly where it got started, though it is possible to guess how the myth became so widespread.

Back in 1992, there was an episode of the children’s TV show “Rugrats” called “The Inside Story”. In that episode, Chuckie, one of the program’s toddler protagonists, panics after being told the myth by his friend’s grandfather as he is in the process of eating a slice of watermelon, seeds and all.

The gang then go on an exciting adventure inside Chuckie’s body, inspired by the Sci-Fi classic “Fantastic Voyage”, in order to save him before the fruit starts to grow. There’s a good chance that this is the source of the myth’s modern popularity.

Is Swallowing Watermelon Seeds Bad for You?

Not at all! The raw seeds are not toxic, and they definitely won’t be growing in your stomach. You can swallow as many as you want without worrying at all.

Scientists have even debunked another related seed-swallowing myth. They conducted a study which showed that the risk of the seeds getting caught in your appendix is very low. It only occurred in one case out of the entire study, which was 0.05% of the people taking part.

That said, there are actually a number of nutritional benefits to be gained from eating the seeds after roasting or sprouting. You might want to think about hanging on to them after finishing your fruity treat, rather than just throwing them away or spitting them out at your unsuspecting friends.

Nutritional Benefits of Watermelon Seeds

First of all, roasted watermelon seeds can make a tasty snack, and work well as an alternative to potato chips and other less healthy treats. They are crunchy, low in calories compared to those chips, and taste great with a sprinkle of salt and a dash of olive oil. Try a handful mixed in with your next salad for a flavorsome extra crunch.

Even better, they are rich in magnesium, iron, several B vitamins, and healthy fats. The plentiful iron content is especially good news for vegetarians and vegans!

However, to reap the best nutritional rewards from eating the seeds, you should try sprouting them. While roasting the seeds can reduce the nutritional content, sprouting actually increases the benefits. Plus, once they’re sprouted and dried, watermelon seeds are an excellent source of protein.

How to Roast Watermelon Seeds

First rinse the seeds, drain the water, and then pat them dry. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet, and heat your oven to 325°F. Pop the tray in for fifteen to twenty minutes, and wait for the seeds to turn crispy and golden brown. Alternatively, you can toss the seeds with some olive oil and salt, and then toast them in a skillet.

How to Sprout Watermelon Seeds

Soak the seeds overnight in a jar, such as a 1-quart mason jar, and cover the neck with a cheesecloth, secured with a rubber band. This allows for air circulation and water drainage. Keep the jar somewhere warm.

In the morning, drain the water through the cloth, pour some more in, and swish the seeds around to rinse them, then drain it again. You’ll want to keep the seeds moist, so rinse again two or three times a day. It should take just a few days for the sprouts to become visible.

Next, dry the sprouted seeds in a dehydrator, an oven, or even just direct sunlight. Once dried, your homemade, healthy, and nutritious little snacks are ready to be enjoyed.

The Easy-to-Swallow Truth

So, to recap, can a watermelon seed grow in your stomach?

Contrary to popular belief, and despite what your dastardly relatives may have said to terrify you at your family BBQ, no. There is no chance of a watermelon seed sprouting in your stomach. Now you can enjoy this refreshing fruit with peace of mind! You can even keep the seeds for an extra nutrient boost to your diet, if you’re up to roasting or sprouting them yourself.

It may come as no surprise that despite what we were told as children, swallowing a watermelon seed will not cause a watermelon to grow in your stomach. Yet many people still try to avoid eating the seeds for various reasons. Some people worry that watermelon seeds contain harmful chemicals, and some just think they’re tasteless and annoying.

Katherine Baker

So what really happens when you eat watermelon seeds? Do you digest them, or do they just pass right through you? When you swallow watermelon seeds raw, not much happens. They basically just move through your digestive tract without being digested, similar to what happens when you swallow a piece of gum.

Jennifer Cao

However, a little known fact is that when prepared correctly watermelon seeds actually have many health benefits, as they are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals.

According to the Huffington Post, about 1/8 of a cup of watermelon seeds contains 10 grams of protein. In order to experience the full nutritional benefits of watermelon seeds, there is a little bit of labor required, as they need to be sprouted, shelled, and dried.

So instead of avoiding them or using them for seed-spitting contests, you should actually be taking them out of the watermelon and saving them to be sprouted and eaten.

Why can’t you just eat the seeds straight out of the watermelon? Well, you can, but you won’t really experience any sort of nutritional benefits. The black shell of the seed seals off the endosperm and other nutrients hidden inside that give the seed its flavor and nutrition.

Kathleen Lee

When sprouted, the black shell of the seed is removed and the nutrients, along with the yummy flavor, are released. You can sprout the seeds yourself by following this instructional guide, or you could buy them already sprouted from websites like Go Raw.

Not only are watermelon seeds completely safe to swallow, but they actually have many health benefits when prepared correctly!

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Can you grow a watermelon in your stomach

08.11.2019 | Games & Recreation | 1 Comments

Long Explanation Answer: Fact- Swallowing a watermelon seed will not cause a watermelon to grow in your stomach. When you swallow. If you’re like many children, you may have heard an old tale that goes something like this: if you swallow a watermelon seed, a watermelon will grow in your belly. Have you ever heard that if you swallow a watermelon seed, a watermelon will start growing in your stomach or out of the top of your head?? Luckily, this.

If you’re like many children, you may have heard an old tale that goes something like this: if you swallow a watermelon seed, a watermelon will grow in your belly. Everyone has already said if you swallow a seed into your stomach, it won’t grow so I won’t be a broken record about it. However, if a seed. Where exactly did this myth come from that if you eat watermelon seeds, your digestive tract suddenly becomes an organic garden?.

Watermelon seeds will not grow in your stomach, they will simply go through your digestive system. Unless you have soils in your stomach this story is just an old. Has anyone ever told you that if you eat a watermelon seed, a watermelon will grow in your stomach?. With spring upon us and summer just around the corner, watermelons will soon be back in the limelight. But as you enjoy the sweet, juicy fruit.

If you swallow watermelon seeds, a watermelon will grow in your stomach. Same goes for apple trees. Commonly spread by funny uncles to. It may come as no surprise that despite what we were told as children, swallowing a watermelon seed will not cause a watermelon to grow in your stomach. Despite the childhood myth that swallowing watermelon seeds will cause you to grow a watermelon inside your stomach, all watermelon.

Long Explanation Answer: Fact- Swallowing a watermelon seed will not cause a watermelon to grow in your stomach. When you swallow. You may have once believed that swallowing a watermelon seed would ignite the growth of an enormous fruit inside your belly. So instead of. If You Swallow Watermelon Seeds, You’ll Grow A Watermelon In Your Stomach She always warned them about the magical watermelon seeds, the kids do.

Yes, You Can Eat Watermelon Seeds — And They’re Actually Good for You!

In an episode of the hit ‘90s TV show Rugrats, 2-year-old Chuckie freaks out after he swallows a watermelon seed, fearing that it will grow into a melon inside his belly. To his relief, he eventually learns that his stomach won’t turn into a miniature greenhouse. As you probably already know, watermelon seeds are completely safe — but did you know that the seeds are actually little purses of protein?

However, in order to unlock the seeds’ nutritional benefits, they must first be sprouted. Sprouting seeds is pretty simple: Harvest some fresh seeds straight from a watermelon, run the seeds under water, and then let them dry. After this process, the seeds will naturally shed their black outer shell in about a week. An ounce of sprouted watermelon seeds contains 10 grams of protein — that’s four more grams per ounce than almonds.

On their own, the sprouted seeds are pretty bland, but they can be roasted and jazzed up with a sprinkle of sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and other seasonings. The seeds can bring a nutritional boost to your morning breakfast; simply fold them into your granola, blend them into an energizing smoothie, use them, to replace peanuts in trail mix , or substitute them for pine nuts in pesto

If sprouting your own watermelon seeds sounds like too much work, Go Raw sells the sprouted seeds in bags on their website. The company also offers a line of GROW Sprouted Raw Bars, which use the sprouted seeds as the main source of protein. Each 1.9-ounce bar delivers 10 percent of your recommended daily intake of iron and 12 grams of protein. The bars come in four different flavors: Zesty Lemon, Cinnamon Spice, Mint Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate. A case of 12 bars will cost you $27.48 on the company’s website, and they’re definitely worth a try if you’re bored with traditional protein bars.

Jan 22, 2017Protect watermelon vines for successful season

Protecting watermelon vines also increases the length of harvests. Instead of picking two or more times in a season, a farmer may pick four times in the same field, which increases yields and profits, Coolong said.

Vines also help control sunburn. If vines aren’t strong when temperatures are at their highest during the harvest season, they aren’t able to protect the watermelon fruit from being exposed, which leads to sunburn damage.

Coolong stresses that the best way to protect vines is to turn them back in drive rows. Watermelon fields are set up in several groups of five or six beds that are divided by larger drive rows, which make the vines accessible by farm equipment. Drive rows allow the grower to spray vines and enable harvest wagons or buses to get into the field without running over most vines. Vines in the rows located next to the drive row may grow into the road, however, which makes them vulnerable to being run over.

“For some of our larger growers, it can be prohibitively expensive to turn vines by hand, but most of our medium-sized growers have their crews go into the fields and turn the vines in those drive rows so they’re not running over them,” Coolong said. “Also, if (the plant) sets fruit in those drive rows and you run them over, and you have a drive row every fifth or sixth row, you’re talking maybe 10 percent of your fruit that could potentially be damaged.”

In Coolong’s research trials on the UGA Tifton Campus, watermelon vines are turned back once a week for a month or more near harvest.

“It really helped with the quality of our harvest on that third picking. Where we used to have a lot of small fruit that may not be worth picking, now we’re still maintaining size through that third pick,” he said.

Coolong also stresses the importance of workers not trampling vines when they walk through a field.

“As a grower, your workers are trying to move through the field as fast as they can to be as efficient and as productive as they can. That doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with maintaining vine quality, so it’s a challenge to not beat up the vines, but get through the fields in a quick fashion,” Coolong said.

The watermelon market in Georgia starts in early June and usually concludes a week after July 4. Georgia watermelon was worth more than $124.5 million in 2015, according to the Georgia Farm Gate Value Report, published by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

— Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Source: University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Tags: watermelon

How to Pick the Perfect Watermelon and Other Tips for Selecting the Best Produce

Few things are worse than expensive fruit going bad just days after you bought it. Aside from bringing a farmer shopping with you, what’s the best way to assess produce before you buy it? Follow these handy tips for selecting the juiciest fruits and crispiest veggies. You’ll never have to lug home a bad watermelon again (page 10.)

1. Opt for the best apples

Apples should be crisp and brightly colored. | iStock.com

Apples will tell you a lot based on sight alone. First, avoid prepackaged apples that don’t allow you to select the best ones of the bunch. Check the fruit for discoloration or rotten spots. Bruises and dirt may look similar, so look closely before casting it aside. Next, give your apple a little squeeze. It should be firm and free of soft spots.

Check for a bright red color (or green or yellow, depending on the varietal). Dull apples are usually less flavorful. Lastly, give your apple a quick sniff. Good apples smell sweet and fragrant while rotten apples are obvious to the nose.

Next: This veggie shouldn’t have much bend.

2. Find the best carrots

Look for carrots with stems attached. | iStock.com/Nataliia_Pyzhova

Carrots with green stems still attached are fresher and taste better. Also, avoid the over-sized versions; smaller, dark-orange carrots are sweeter. A carrot should feel firm in your hand. Pliant, soft carrots don’t taste as good. When you get home from the store, remove the stems immediately and keep carrots in the crisper drawer until you’re ready to enjoy them.

Next: Always buy these fruit at the height of the season.

3. Pick the juiciest peaches

Ripeness matters for peaches. | iStock.com

To guarantee your peach hasn’t traveled for too long, shop during the height of the season (May to September, depending on your location). Peaches should be vibrantly colored and slightly fragrant. Gently squeeze the shoulder and top. Soft peaches are ripe and ready to eat. Firmer peaches should last a few days, or they’re great to enjoy if you like a crisp feel. Just be sure your peach isn’t too mushy, which may indicate that it’s overripe and will rot sooner.

Next: Make sure that purple skin shines.

4. Choose an excellent eggplant

There’s more than one way to cook an eggplant. | iStock.com/Olha_Afanasieva

Eggplants taste great in so many ways – from chopped up and grilled with a little olive oil to baked into decadent eggplant Parmesan.

When choosing an eggplant, look for smooth, shiny skin that’s free from spots and blemishes. The green stem on the top should have healthy-looking leaves that aren’t soft, spotted, or shriveled. Your eggplant should also be heavy and the skin should bounce back quickly when you gently press on it.

Next: Never store these in a refrigerator.

5. Determine the top tomatoes

Look for fresh green stems. | iStock.com/Voloshin311

Fresh tomatoes are a delight, whether you make a Caprese salad or enjoy slices on a sandwich. When picking yours, look for plump versions with smooth, unblemished skin. You should see no visible cracks or rot spots, and the stems should be green. Ripe tomatoes are soft but not too soft and have a mild fragrance. Never store tomatoes in a refrigerator; this damages the membranes inside the fruit’s walls, which can cause a mealy texture.

Next: You always want this veggie looking tight and green.

6. Buy the brightest broccoli

Raw broccoli | Source: iStock

To choose the perfect broccoli, look for green heads with tight florets and firm stalks, according to The Spruce Eats. When you hold the broccoli head it should feel heavy, and the cut end should look fresh and moist. Don’t buy broccoli with browning ends or yellow florets.

Next: These veggies actually squeak when they’re at peak freshness.

7. Hunt down the tastiest artichokes

Artichokes | iStock.com/Dianazh

Unlike most of the fruits and veggies on the list, you’ll need to use your ears in order to find the best ones. The freshest artichokes will actually squeak when you squeeze their leaves. Besides this audible cue, also look out for a pistachio-green color and leaves that aren’t brown or dried on the edges.

Next: How to pick without peeking

8. Earn those ears of corn

How to pick the right cob | chengyuzheng/iStock/Getty Images

All you need to do it peek inside an ear of corn to get an idea of its freshness. However, it’s not proper etiquette to peel corn before purchasing, according to Food52. Plus, corn is freshest when kept inside its husk until you cook it. So, how do you spot the right ear from the outside?

If the tassels are dry or black, don’t buy it. If you see brown holes in the husk, they’re likely wormholes. If the husk is tight against the corn, that’s better. Look for moist, brown tassels and a bright green husk.

Next: Don’t pick the wrong magical fruit.

9. Green beans

The most beautiful green beans | JB325/iStock/Getty Images

Bigger isn’t better concerning green beans. When they’re too thick or long, they lose their freshness and flavor, according to Taste of Home. So what should you look for? Moist beans with a bright green surface. If they look yellow or dry, avoid them. Don’t buy green beans with yellow or lumpy skin. And make sure your green beans snap. Bend the pod and listen for the familiar snap of a ripe green bean. If they simply bend, the beans are buy-able.

Next: Never lug home a bad watermelon again.

10. Find the best watermelon

Look for the yellow spot on the watermelon. | iStock.com

The difference between a good watermelon and a bad watermelon is often extreme – and who wants to waste their time on a mediocre version of summer’s favorite treat? Here’s what you need to know about choosing the best one in the batch.

According to The Kitchn, the first thing you should measure is weight. No matter the size, the watermelon should feel heavy and substantial in your hands. Next, flip it over and look for a yellow spot. The yellow spot indicates ripeness, and the riper your watermelon is, the sweeter it will taste. Finally, give it a good thump. Ripe watermelons have a hollow sound, while those that are under- or overripe sound dull.

Next: This food can get slimy real fast.

11. Get a better head of lettuce

Green, leafy lettuce | iStock.com/Wmaster890

The most important thing to look for when you’re lettuce shopping is crisp leaves. Wilted, weathered leaves that are yellow or brown or dark green and slimy indicate that the lettuce has passed its point of freshness. The outer leaves are usually most susceptible to damage, but even they should be visually appealing and stiff. However, a brown stem on the lettuce is totally normal and does not indicate that the lettuce has gone bad.

Next: Bigger isn’t better when it comes to this veggie.

12. Single out the best zucchini

Don’t pick the biggest zucchini. | iStock.com/Bhofack2

When looking for the best one, bigger is not better. Giant zucchinis are watery, seedy, and lack good flavor, so always choose the smaller ones when possible. It can be green, yellow, or white, but no matter the color, it should be vibrant rather than full. Ripe zucchinis are firm to the touch with no apparent blemishes or rot spots. A zucchini with the stem still firmly attached will last longer.

Have too much zucchini? Try freezing it for later and enjoying it any time of the year.

Next: Don’t be afraid to give this fruit a little peek.

13. Buy an awesome avocado

Avocados are perfect for a short window. | iStock.com

Avocados are one of the trickier fruits to pick, but it’s not impossible. You should determine an avocado’s ripeness by feel — not by color. To pick the best one, feel it in your hand. A ripe avocado should be just the right mix of soft and hard, yielding to pressure when gently squeezed. Store avocados at room temperature unless you find yours ripening too quickly. If you notice it getting too soft too fast, put it in the fridge to slow the ripening process.

Another quick way to determine your avocado’s ripeness is to peel the stem off the top. If it’s green underneath, that means it’s ready eat.

Next: Always inspect this fruit’s container before purchase.

14. Selecting the sweetest strawberries

Buy strawberries in season. | Sandra Mu/Getty Images

The best way to ensure your strawberries taste delicious is to buy them in-season. While you can purchase them year-round, they’re more likely to be fresh and local from May to June. Strawberries purchased in January have traveled farther, making them more expensive and prone to rotting faster.

When choosing your carton, look for bright red berries with vibrant green stems. Generally speaking, the smaller the strawberry, the sweeter it is. And don’t forget the sniff test! If you can smell that delicious strawberry scent, then you probably have a good batch.

Next: Smaller berries can equal sweeter fruit.

15. Buy the best blueberries

Blueberries can be dark blue or black. | iStock.com

When shopping for blueberries, don’t worry about the size. Fresh blueberries may be small or large but the tastiest are firm and plump with a deep purple-blue hue that may even skew toward black. If your blueberries look a little red, they aren’t ripe yet. Also, inspect your container carefully for rotten or squishy berries as these can ruin the rest of the bunch. Refrigerate your blueberries, and enjoy within 10 days of purchase.

Next: Color doesn’t matter when it comes to this fruit.

16. Picking a tasty pineapple

Source a superior pineapple. | iStock.com

The most important thing to remember is that the color of a pineapple does not hint at the ripeness. Because ripening stops once a pineapple is harvested, even green pineapples can be ripe. Look for pineapples with fresh, stiff leaves and firm exteriors. Also, give your pineapple a good whiff to check for sweetness. Always store uncut pineapples at room temperature and only refrigerate them after cutting.

Next: Squeeze this fruit before buying.

17. Get the best mango

Squeeze your mango. | iStock.com

For mangoes, the feel of the fruit is a better way to determine ripeness than the color. Give your potential mango a little squeeze. Just like with peaches and avocados, mangoes get soft as they ripen. Look for gentle give that’s just the right amount of soft and hard. The stem ends may also have a slightly sweet aroma.

Next: Avoid this fruit if it smells too sweet.

18. Select the most delicious kiwi

Go exotic with a kiwi. | iStock.com

Ugly on the outside, amazing on the inside, kiwis prove that you should never judge a book (or a fruit) by its cover. When searching for the best of this exotic fruit, take a look at the outer skin first. A ripe kiwi is brown and fuzzy but shouldn’t have any noticeable bruises or dark spots. It should also be taut and firm without shriveling or wrinkling.

Give the kiwi a soft squeeze. Again, this fruit should have a slight give but shouldn’t be too firm or soft. Finally, check for a lightly sweet smell. If it smells too sweet, that may be an indication of the kiwi being too ripe and ready to go bad.

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