You know you should be eating more fruit, but oftentimes, eating enough fruits and veggies is more hassle than it's worth. With these quick and easy hacks, you'll no longer have any excuse for eating fruit snacks in place of the real thing, and there will be no more underripe melons or hard-to-peel mangoes in your future.
1. Judge Ripeness by Weight
Good things often come in heavy packages, at least where fruit is concerned. When choosing fruits that get juicy – think oranges, melons and pineapples – compare pieces by weight. If you're holding two oranges of similar size, choose the one that feels heavier. It's probably riper and juicier.
2. Master the Thump Test
Finding the perfect watermelon feels like a crapshoot sometimes. Use the thump test to determine whether a melon is truly ripe. Tap or flick the fruit with one finger. If it's ripe, you should hear a hollow sound; an underripe or overripe watermelon will make more of a thudding sound.
3. Pit Cherries With Chopsticks
If not for the pesky pits, cherries would be the perfect fruit. You don't need to buy a special tool to make pitting cherries fast and easy. Find a clean glass bottle with a small opening through which a cherry won't fit. Place a cherry on the opening and push a chopstick through the fruit to push the pit into the bottle opening.
4. Speed Ripening in a Paper Bag
You can't hurry nature, but you can help it along a little. Force fruit to ripen quicker by placing it in a folded paper bag. Closing the bag traps the ethylene gas that the fruit produces as it ripens, speeding the process. This works with any fruit that continues to ripen after it is picked, like bananas and avocados.
5. Try Rice to Force Ripening
No paper bag? No problem. Uncooked rice can also be used to artificially speed the ripening process. Submerge unripened fruit in a container of white or brown rice and the fruit should be softer after a day or two.
6. Blanch Stone Fruit Before Peeling
Peeling peaches and nectarines is a notoriously frustrating job. The skin is thin and slippery; making a peach pie just isn't worth the trouble. Here's a trick to make life so much simpler. Carve an X shape (about 1 inch in size) into the fruit's peel. Plunge the fruit into boiling water for about 30 seconds and then immediately transfer it into an ice bath to cool. The peel should slip off easily.
7. Whack Seeds Out of Pomegranates
Pomegranates are one of those delicious fruits that people tend to avoid because they're so labor intensive. Don't deny yourself the sweet, tart juiciness of pomegranate seeds. First, roll the fruit around the counter under your palms to loosen the seeds. Cut the pomegranate in half and hold it upside down over a bowl. Use a wooden spoon to firmly and repeatedly whack the fruit; this should cause it to release its seeds.
8. Soften Grapefruit Sourness With Salt
It sounds counterintuitive, but you're just going to have to trust us: Grapefruit and salt really are a match made in heaven. Sprinkling a section of grapefruit with just a little table salt should cut the bitterness and actually make the fruit taste sweeter.
9. Use a Rubber Band on Sliced Apple
If you cut an apple for the kids' lunch in the morning, they may reject the browned fruit at noon. Cut apple starts to turn brown when it's exposed to air. Counteract that effect by cutting a whole apple into slices or wedges and then reassembling it and wrapping a rubber band around the whole thing. When you slide off the band hours later, the fruit should still be crisp and white.
10. Peel Mango on Drinking Glasses
A sweet and tangy bite of ripe mango is worth any effort it takes to remove the fruit from its peel and central pit. One easy way to do this is to slice down the middle of the fruit, cutting two large sections of mango off either side of the pit. Grasp one half in your hand with the peel side against your palm and slide the fruit down the edge of a drinking glass. The glass should easily separate the flesh from the peel.