You asked

Fresh fruit: how can I be sure that I cam providing the best?

By now you probably know that fruits and vegetables are an important part of your child’s diet. However, not all fruit is created equally, and there are a few ways you can ensure that you are getting the best fruit for your children.

Choose local produce, as this has to travel less distance to reach you, and the supermarket. That also means buying in season. Another good idea is to opt for frozen berries and other fruits that aren’t in season. While fresh is best, usually, these kinds of fruit are also transported minimally, and quick frozen, so they have a higher nutritional value.

When you shop for specific fruits, look for the following:

Apples should be firm, and you should avoid any that are overly bruised.

When you buy bananas, look for yellow fruit with small brown spots – too dark and the fruit will be spoiled. Also, don’t refrigerate bananas – the cold will damage them.

Avocados should be bought either just ripe, or slightly under ripe. If you buy them when they are ripe, they should give a little to pressure, but not be too soft. If they’re not ripe yet, place them in a paper bag for a day or two.

Blueberries should be firm and plump, and there should be no liquid oozing out of them.

Grapes should also be firm and uniformly coloured and they should not fall off the stem too easily.

Grapefruit should be firm, but minor scratches and dents on the peel are usually not a problem.

Melons should be firm, and should smell sweet. If they’re too soft, they’re over ripe, and you should avoid them.

Oranges should be heavy and firm, they should also be a bright orange when ripe, although brown patches on the skin of some varieties are also okay.

Peaches should be soft but firm, as unripe peaches don’t really ripen after picking. They should also be the loose stoned variety if you want to eat them as is.

Slightly soft pears that aren’t wrinkled are the best option when buying this fruit. The colour will depend on the variety you are buying.

Berries, like strawberries and raspberries should be firm, brightly coloured and smell pleasant. Strawberries should be sold with their caps on, and raspberries with their caps off, and in either case, you should avoid fruits that are discoloured or oozing liquid.

If you have a lot of fruit that you can’t eat, making jam, or using them in a fruit salad, is a good way to use them up.

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