Fruit & Food Tips

When I was at Trader Joe’s last week (before I was scolded about the in-store photography) I saw this This How to Pick a Good One sign in front of their outdoor watermelons for sale.

And hey, outdoor photography is fair game, right?

Skylar spoofing around trying to take a nibble of the “watermelon” while I was taking pictures brought me some laughs.


After nibbling, dancing, spinning, and twirling until you get dizzy we went inside and finished our shopping.

And I also bought a watermelon.  Sadly I think w-melon season is wrapping up.  Sigh.  I love summer.

1. In the past I’ve given tips about how to select a perfect watermelon: look for a large yellow/white spot; it means it was on the vine longer and will be sweeter, juicier and just a better melon

More watermelon selecting tips here

2. Need tips on how to select perfect, whole, pineapples?

(See This Post for more & visuals)  How to tell if the pineapple is ripe:

Look near the base of the pineapple and it should be golden yellow.  A green pineapple from base to tip is like a green banana.  Not ripe.

Look for the golden yellow and that means it’s ripe.  

And if it’s overly ripe, the golden area will be more orange, and/or will start getting mushy. 

3. Need tips on how to clean a pineapple in 2 minutes flat?

So many people are afraid to or have never cleaned their own pineapple. <—  Change that.

Since avocados are technically a fruit…

And let’s just say you wanted to make Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse (half or even quarter the recipe as needed)

And fool everyone, every time, that this dessert is both raw, vegan, gluten free, and not baked, made with eggs, and doesn’t take longer than 5 minutes to make

4. But that your avocados were not ripe…

You’d put them in a paper bag on the counterop to speed up the ripening process.

And then once they’re ripe, if you didn’t want to make Mousse you could make Vanilla Avocado Banana “Ice Cream”

This “ice cream” recipe consistently generates positive reader emails and comments that everyone you’ve made it for, i.e. including resistant-to-a-plant-based-diet husbands and boyfriends, to come around and lick their bowls clean.

It happens to be a “healthier dessert” without tasting like one.  And I never try to “healthify” desserts.

5. If your bananas have gone a bit too ripe, peel them, break them into chunks, and store in a container in the freezer for smoothies

Technically you don’t “have to” use frozen bananas for smoothies but I think it makes the texture creamier, fluffier, and just better

Try frozen bananas in a Chocolate Coconut Princess Smoothie

Or use them in softserve such as Vegan Mango Banana Vanilla Softserve

And if you don’t want to use your ripe bananas in beverages, use them in dessert!  <–now we’re talkin’

For example, try Coconut Banana Cookie Bites (Vegan, GF, and you can bake or dehydrate them) with your ripe bananas

Or try Vegan GF Peanut Butter Banana Bread with your ripe bananas

Not for the faint of heart.  This is one dense, happy, moist, rich loaf.  And it’s so good with a huge slab of peanut butter in it.

Tip: I also have an entire post on Banana Recipes & Ideas: Banana Snack Ideas, Banana Dessert Ideas, & Ways to Use Extra Bananas

From my last post on One Leg at a Time, I liked hearing about whether or not you get excited for the fall (or spring) fashions in the stores and how much you tend to buy at this time of year.  Or not buy.  If I could borrow your credit card, I’d buy a whole lot more!


1. Do you have any Fruit or Food Tips?  Any little secrets or tidbits you’re dying to share.

Sharing is caring.

Here’s another one:  When you open a bag of brown sugar, if you’re unlike me and it takes you awhile to use it up, put a piece of bread inside the sugar bag (or container you store your sugar in) and it will keep it softer/moister for a longer duration.

2. Is there anything you’re stumped on in the kitchen, with produce, with a meal, you name it and could use a little explanation or tutorial?

One food I cannot make and have given up trying is eggplant.  It’s either too mushy, too rubbery, overdone, underdone, watery, raw, slimy, bland, over-salted, you name it, I cannot get it right.  I stopped trying.

You don’t have to write in telling me how to make it better.  I’m just going to wait to go to someone else’s house and eat it there.  ha!

Now with that said, the woman who admits she sucks at eggplant, if there is something you’re stumped on and I can, I’d love to help out if I can in a future post and tackle some reader questions.  

I get so many questions in my mailbag about can I substitute this for that, white for brown sugar, almond butter for peanut butter, gluten free blend flour for almond flour, how do I save money on my groceries if I can’t afford all organic, I can’t make tofu that turns out right (hint: see Tofu Preparation & Cooking Tips and make anyone a believer) but if you have something your stumped on, maybe I can help in a future post.

P.S. I’m glad you’re excited about the Attune Foods Healthy Free Food Giveaway, too.   It ends Thursday so don’t delay on getting your entries in.



  1. Hmmm, can’t think of any food tips that you might not already know. I love eggplant – but will say that I prefer Japanese eggplant. It tends to be just a bit sweater.

  2. These are great tips. Skylar looks so adorable in these pictures! It looks like she’s at a really fun age.

  3. Similar tip to the brown sugar but putting a piece of bread in a container with leftover cookies keep them from going stale. Keeping the pit of the avocado in the unused avocado or leftover guacamole keeps it from browing/ going bad. And the more a peach smells like a peach the riper it is… unripe ones don’t smell peachy at all!

  4. I didn’t know that about watermelon!! great tip, thank you! I grew up spending summers in Hawaii (dad was born & raised there) so I know my way around a pineapple, guava, papaya, coconut… ;)

    anyone who juices (I know… not so much you!) ;) can juice a whole pineapple! I juice the skin, core, everything except the spiky top. it gives the juice this wonderful froth! pineapple is a good fruit to use with many greens, like beet tops, that might be bitter. sweet pineapple masks that well! :D

  5. Oh Hi Averie!

    I know it’s been forever. I’m a bad blogger. But I still stop by and just had enough time right now to actually drop in for a little face time!

    Skylar is so beautiful. She is getting bigger and seems just as fun-loving and curious as ever! I love seeing her smiling face.

    I hope you are well, and these are great tips! As for fruit, I generally just go with whatever smells the best. The worst is a tomato or a peach that doesn’t have a smell. No smell = No flavor.

    Miss you!


  6. Any tips for keeping berries fresh? Mine always seem to go bad, especially at the bottom of the package!


  7. Good information on picking ripe produce, I still stand behind my watermelon tips. :-) Lovely pics and recipe inspiration.

    1. I never buy avocados ripe because they become too ripe too quick.
    2. Not really, but there’s always room for improvement – right?

  8. Sigh…I hate it when a season passes for certain foods. I’ll miss juicy, sweet watermelon…but I’m so excited for apples in fall!!!

  9. Lemongrass always fails me. I buy some and don’t know what to do with it before it goes bad. You would think I would stop buying it but I never learn. One day I’ll cook with it.

    Another tip I learned for pineapples is that if all the eyes are the same size, it is ripe. It seems to work for me.

  10. That is such a cute picture of Skyler and the watermelon sign :)

    Fruit tip… Keep your apple away from bananas. They make then go yellow crazy fast!

  11. It’s sad to think that some of the summer fruit is already going out of season!

  12. How about a cleaning tip that involves the use of food?
    To clean your coffee grinder, grind up a couple spoonfuls of uncooked rice and wipe out with a paper towel. (If you find an old, stale bag of rice, this is a perfect use for it.)

  13. skylar just has the best gleam in her eye in those photos! and i spy the current pair of hot pink crocs! :)
    picking watermelons: so many theories out there – thump it, examine the end where the vine was attached…yours is a new one for me!
    nothing worse than a hard avacado – so thanks for that idea!

  14. Great post! I love knowing all the little tricks and tips to pick out fruit. :) Love that you mentioned cutting a pineapple..I had my mom give me lessons recently on how to cut all the different fruits.

  15. Hi Averie! It’s my first time commenting here (I’m terrible for lurking :) ) but I have been reading for a few months and I love your blog!
    Now, the real reason I am commenting is because I just had to thank you for the flourless peanut butter cookie recipe you posted last month! It totally saved me when I was in a pinch for a dessert to bring to dinner at a friend’s house. And the best part: I was really busy so I got my disaster-in-the-kitchen boyfriend to make them — all by himself! They turned out beautifully and I will personally be making them again for sure (just hopefully with less peanut butter mess on the kitchen taps, haha!). I am also excited to try out some of your other recipes!
    Thanks for doing what you do! :)

  16. I had no idea about the watermelon white spot!!! I haven’t had one yet this year, maybe it’ll have to go on my list before they’re out of season.

    I always keep my bananas in the fridge if I know I won’t use them before they over ripen. The peel gets brown but the inside is usually perfect!

  17. You scared me with the watermelong thing, and I bought one today. It is great! I think we’ve still got a few more weeks of good watermelon. I’m about to eat my weight in melons!

  18. I had no idea you could not take pics at Trader Joes. Good to know!

    I love you fruit tips. I am always at a loss when I am searching for the perfect watermelon. Thanks to you and Skylar I now know!

  19. I love that TJ’s put the info right next to the watermelon! Sometimes when I’m buying a strange fruit that I’ve never had before, it’s hard to tell when it’s ripe. I’ve definitely picked up some tips while traveling in Southeast Asia… mostly learning new ways to cut fruit! They have many ways of cutting pineapple and mango here, and they use big sharp knives to shave the rind off pomelos in just a few seconds. I’ve also seen a lot of decorative garnishes – potatoes and carrots and tomatoes cut to look like flowers. Pretty!

  20. Goodness…our watermelons are expensive up here!! cali has cheaper everything….sniff!

    I love summer fruit and looking at this post is making me extra hungry at almost bed time!


  21. As a fruit bat, I really really enjoyed this post! Lots and lots of fruity tips on my site too! Also, I LOVED your prenatal yoga post on fitnessista!!

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  23. Skylar’s color is black! Her eyes look stunning in the photo with black hoodie:)

    Thanks for the tip on choosing watermelon. I just bought one that was bleh. Living in mn, I should have waited bc they are shipped in and not ready here yet. You’re so lucky to have fresh, local produce year found!

    Love your free goods! I’ve been wanted a silpat (its been sitting in my amazon cart for a year I bet). It’s just one of those things, I will buy 4 bottles of kombucha a week, but won’t pull the trigger on a silpat. Ha.


  24. I had the same thoughts as you when I broke into my last watermelon. Sad times! I sure enjoyed it while it lasted, though!

    One tip my Dad told me regarding melons is to pat then (like you’re burping a baby). They should sound hollow if they’re ripe…..

  25. Skylar is seriously so cute. You two must have so much fun together! :)

  26. Oh my gosh, I made that avocado ice cream for my niece and nephew when they were over the other weekend and they GOBBLED it up. Absolutely in love. In fact we took them to a store later on that day and I swore I wiped it all off of them, and it was still hiding in random places that they were happily licking. It would have grossed me out if I didn’t agree that the ice cream is totally worth it ;)

  27. I <3 this post! :D Erm, I can't imagine I know any tips that other people don't, except to say that when I want a mango or avocado to ripen quickly I put it in the same bowl I keep my bananas in (on the countertop, NOT in the fridge), it seems to work well.

    Thanks, I love the photos of Skylar too – she always looks so happy :)

  28. Choosing a watermelon is so difficult, same with cantaloupes. My family loves eggplant- my dad makes eggplant parmesan or grills it to make sandwiches. We just used up old bananas for banana bread :)

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  30. I need a tutorial on how to properly eat artichoke.

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