Spring has sprung, and that means fresh strawberries, ripe honeydew melons, refreshing pineapples and other seasonal favorites are returning to grocery stores. While modern innovations offer year-round access to such seasonal fruits and vegetables, there’s something that just feels so right about seasonal produce - fresh from the fields, vines and branches.
Shipt Shoppers are in grocery stores day-in and day-out, shopping for customers as they would for themselves and aiming to select the best, freshest produce for their customers. From green beans to vidalia onions, we’re sharing tips from the Shipt Shopper community and from our shopper education produce guide that we make available to Shipt Shoppers. Here’s how to pick the best of the bounty and maximize shelf life, grounded in the ‘three S’s: Sight, Smell and Storage.
Eyes don’t lie - as such, the first gauge of a product's freshness is what’s seen. Signs of dehydration, such as wrinkling and shriveling, are a sign that produce will not be as fresh once home.
In the Shipt Shopper produce guide, our tips for limes is to look for ones that are smooth and shiny. Avoid limes that are light in weight, shriveled or slightly discolored. And a great tip for picking out grapes is taking a look at the vine. Green vines mean the grape was freshly picked and handled properly in transport.
“If the vines are turning brown and the grapes are falling off that means they’re older grapes and not as fresh,” said Shipt Shopper Mary, Nebraska.
If in doubt, give grapes and melons a squeeze to see if they’re firm - any signs of ‘squish’ are a bad sign. The firmer, the better!
“I always check that the produce is free of bruises. If firm, I know the fruit will last a good while,” said Shipt Shopper Evagelia, Virginia.
For aromatic fruits, such as strawberries and melons, the sense of smell can steer toward the best produce. Sour smells are never a good sign.
“Strawberries and melons should smell just as they taste - sweet!” said Shipt Shopper Mary, Nebraska.
In Shipt’s shopper education guide, we advise shoppers to select asparagus bunches that are dry and free from odors. Make sure the tips are tight and crisp!
Once home, the key to keeping produce fresh is how it’s stored - and no two fruits or vegetables are necessarily alike. One easy hack for how to identify the best way to store is to take note of how the item is kept at the store.
“I tell my customers to keep produce at the same temperature as the grocery store. For spring fruits, that means melons on the counter, berries in the refrigerator,” said Shipt Shopper Mary, Nebraska.
While some produce is best kept in the open air, ensure that it is well protected and put away.
“I always keep counter fruits and veggies, such as bananas, out of the sunlight. Putting foil on top of the bunch goes the extra mile to ensure produce isn’t exposed to sunlight or any other irritants,” said Evagelia, Virginia.
With freshness in mind, thanks to Shipt Shoppers for always keeping an eye out for expiration dates and helping their customers along the way!