5 Tips To Pick The Best Produce When Grocery Shopping


Hanging out with my mom over Thanksgiving weekend was a lot of fun. We went grocery shopping together. She taught me a couple of new tips when buying produce, and she reminded me of some previous tips I already knew about but were useful. Here’s Mom’s tips when buying produce:

#1. The green bell pepper: Look at the bottom of the pepper. Males have 3 bumps at the bottom and will be lighter because they are seedless. Female green peppers have four bumps and have seeds inside. This is important to note when buying peppers by the pound, you want to buy the lightest pepper (less seeds = lighter), so buy male. If buying peppers individually (1 pepper = $1.50), go for the biggest pepper because it doesn’t matter how much it weighs.


#2. The lemons, oranges, or grapefruits: Pick the heaviest in relationship to size. This means that you want to hold the citrus fruit in your hand. The heavier means the more juicy and delicious. Try picking up a few to see the difference in weights.


#3. The cantaloupe: To pick the juiciest, most flavorful cantaloupe, press around the area where the stem used to be. If it is ripe, it should give a little to your pressure. Also, smell the area of the stem. It should be fragrant and smell like a cantaloupe which means it will have more flavor.


#4. The carrot: They should be firm and not have any moldy spots. Also make sure there are no splits in the carrot. If they’re split, they’ll have less flavor.


#5. The potato: Buy firm potatoes with smooth skin and no black spots. The skin should be uniform in color and look “clean” with not too many scrapes or cuts in it.

Thank you Mom for your great tips! Hope you enjoy them. The cantaloupe that smelled the best in the store was delicious when we brought it home to eat. Happy grocery shopping.

By Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD

14 comments on “5 Tips To Pick The Best Produce When Grocery Shopping


    Thank you for the buying tips! I have already used the bell pepper one (the peppers were being sold by the pound that day, so I bought the 3 bump one)and look forward to using the cantaloupe tip.

      Patty Hicks

    Loved your tips but I have to tell you the info on the peppers is not true. There is no male or female in fruit of any kind, only in the flowers of plants that are male or female and can reproduce. This has had a lot of gardeners on line laughing lately so just know you are not the only person who has fallen for this. After many years working with plants the one thing I have learned is one can never know it all. I’d just count it up as a learning experience.

        Sarah Koszyk MA RD

      Thanks for the comment! Check out the book: Peppers: Vegetable & Spice Capsicums by Paul Bosland. He talks about how 2 chromosomes are in peppers that indicate there are 2 evolutionary lines. Yes: bell peppers do have flowers which house the sex chromosomes and result in pollination. Also, he describes how bell peppers have lost the ability to reproduce without human care. My mom also grew up on a farm in California where they used to grow peppers. The main point is if buying peppers by the pound, buy the lightest pepper you find in weight. If buying individually, buy the largest, grandest one you find. There’s so much variety out there especially with GMO food and human hybridization so times have definitely changed the flavors of our food and how we grow our food.

      How are three- and four-lobed peppers different? | Femininely Conservative

    [...] it was true or not? I always try to check stuff out before I re-pin it, so when I saw a picture of two bell peppers and the assertion that one was male and one was female, I was very [...]

      Ellis Genzel

    The terms “bell pepper”, “pepper” or in Australia and New Zealand “capsicum”, are often used for any of the large bell shaped fruits, regardless of their color. In British English, the fruit is simply referred to as a “pepper”, or additionally by color (as in the term “green pepper”, for example), whereas in many Commonwealth of Nations countries, such as India, Canada, and Malaysia, they are called “bell peppers”.;

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