The Kitchen Goddess doles out tricks to pick, cut and store your fruits
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You are in the market, and are lured by fruits that look gorgeous. How do you pick the perfectly juicy and ripe variety? Or, how do you cut a prickly pineapple with ease? You are heading out for the weekend and are worried that the fruits will rot, so what do you do?

Have no fear, for Expert Chef Pankaj Bhadouria has your back. Here are her tried-and-tested hacks concerning all things fruity:

Avocados
1. Select the perfect avocado by doing the stem test. First, locate the stem of the fruit. Try pushing the stem inwards into the fruit. If it recedes, then the avocado is ripe and can be eaten. Pick those if you intend to eat the avocados within a few days.

2. If you want to ripen an avocado quicker—read: under 10 minutes—then here’s the trick. Wrap the unripe avocado in a silver foil. Bake the wrapped avocado at 220° C for 10 minutes in an oven. Remove it from the oven, unwrap and voila! It’s now ripe and ready to be eaten.

3. To cut an avocado perfectly, use a sharp knife and cut the fruit around, right through the middle. Separate it. The seed will automatically pop out. You can scoop the flesh out with the help of a spoon.

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4. Cut avocados have a tendency of turning brown and eventually black if not eaten immediately. Drizzle some fresh lemon juice on the avocado flesh to prevent it from discolouring.

Bananas
1. If you want to make crispy chips with raw bananas, here’s what you should do. Before frying them, soak the thinly-sliced raw banana in ice-cold water. Add ice cubes and a few drops of lemon juice. This way the slices will remain hard and won’t discolour. When frying, it’s a must for the oil to be hot. This way, the banana chips will be crisp and not too oily. If the oil isn’t hot enough, then the chips will just soak up the oil. To prevent the oil from spluttering, never throw in the chips from a distance or into the middle of the pan. Slide the ingredients into the oil from the side of the pan, from a short distance.

3. Bananas are technically a berry. If a banana is ripe, you will find brown spots on the upper outer layer. To stop bananas from further ripening, wrap the stem of the bananas tightly with a silver foil so that air doesn’t get into the stem.

4. And what if you have raw bananas that you would want to ripen quickly? Simply place the raw bananas in a brown paper bag and seal. Bananas secrete a gas that helps them ripen. In the airtight brown paper bag, the accumulated gas will help ripen the bananas faster.

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Pineapples
1. How to pick a good ripe pineapple? Identify by observing the fruit. If the pineapple has started turning yellow from the base and gap between the pines have widened, then opt for such a pineapple. A raw pineapple will still be green and the pines stiff and closer together. A ripe pineapple will also smell sweet and fruity even when uncut.

2. Cutting a pineapple can be tricky. You could always cut it from top to bottom at an angle. But for ease, it’s best to slice the pineapple into thick circular pieces, and then cut out the prickly edges.

3. Cut pineapples also tend to discolour soon, but if you are unable to consume the entire pineapple at once, then cut the remaining pineapple into smaller pieces. Store them in a sugar and water solution, in a glass container, not plastic. Secure the lid tightly.

Watermelons
1. To pick the right watermelon, investigate the fruit for any white or yellow patches. White patches signify that it is still raw and yellow patches indicate that it is ripe, sweet and ready to be eaten.

2. You can also tap or knock on the watermelon. If knocking gives out a hollow sound like when you play a table, pick that watermelon because it’s ripe.

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Images courtesy: Shutterstock
​Creative conceptualised by Vartika Pahuja

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