How to pick fresh fruit
When shopping for fresh fruit, choose carefully and don't buy fruit with cuts, mold or decay, advises Kansas State University nutrition educator Kathy Walsten. Fruit is most nutritious and best-tasting at its peak - so it's important for shoppers to choose carefully and buy only the amount they can use within a few days, she says.
Handle fruit gentlyWalsten, who coordinates the Kids a Cookin' Program, a part of Kansas State Research and Extension's Family Nutrition Program, cautions shoppers to handle fresh fruit gently because bruising leads to spoilage.
"Place fruit in your shopping cart where it won't get damaged and then pack it safely for the trip home," she said.
Wash before eating
"We know it's healthy to wash apples, peaches and pears before eating, but it is also important to wash fruit that you peel - such as oranges and kiwi," Walsten says.
"Wash melons and grapefruit with a vegetable brush to remove dirt, and rinse well before cutting. This prevents bacteria from being transferred from the outside to the inside when cutting through the fruit."
Walsten suggests mixing sliced kiwi, halved grapes and whole strawberries for variety and color. "To keep bananas and apples from turning brown after cutting, try dipping cut pieces in pineapple or orange juice before serving," she says.
"If your favorite fresh fruit is not in season, buy frozen or canned fruit, which is less expensive. Enjoy fruit and dip as a snack or dessert often. By varying flavors or ingredients, you'll discover new favorites," Walsten says.