There's A Good Reason To Shake Fruit Containers At The Grocery Store

Selecting the perfect blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries to add to our shopping carts should be a sensational experience. You should not only be inspecting your potential produce purchases with your eyes but your ears and nose as well — every time. 

Believe it or not, the sound produced when we gently shake a fruit container can reveal crucial information about freshness and quality. Instead of relying solely on appearances, we can turn to an auditory technique to make informed decisions about what we eat. By giving the container a gentle shake, you can gauge the firmness of the berries it holds. Lack of sound, or dull thuds, could mean excess moisture or softness, indicating overripe berries. You should hear a distinct rattle sound when you give them a gentle shake.

The best part? This trick works for all berries. Strawberries should be plump (and supremely red, by the way) and blueberries should be firm (make sure they're uniformly blue), as blackberries and even raspberries should be. The fruits won't continue to ripen once they're purchased from the grocery store, only go bad, so by incorporating this simple step into our berry selection process, you can increase the likelihood of bringing home the freshest and yummiest fruits possible.

Give your fruits a flip

Of course, hearing this distinct rattle is only one way of sensing it. You can definitely feel if the berries you've chosen are firm and intact when you shake the container. If they stick together when shaking, they're likely too ripe.

On to the nose: Another trick worth employing in the quest for the best-packaged produce is the carton test: checking the bottom of the berry container. While it may seem like common sense, we implore you to also give the bottom of the container a sniff. Visual examination of the bottom-most berries ensures nothing is sticking or clinging to each other or the container. By smelling the bottom of the container as well, you can discern between a subtly sweet scent and something stronger, perhaps even putrid or sickly sweet, which indicates overripe berries. 

By taking a moment to turn the container upside down or lift it up to inspect the bottom, we can assess the overall quality, cleanliness, and ripeness of the fruit. These simple steps provide an additional layer of assurance, helping us make more informed choices and prevent potential disappointments when we reach for the fruit at home.

Unveil any hidden surprises

As quick and almost frivolous as shaking, sniffing, and turning your berry containers at the store might feel, they're actions as important as gently knocking on cantaloupe or shaking to find ripe avocados when it comes to QA-ing your produce. Just as is done for non-packaged produce from peaches, pears, and apples to celery, potatoes, and greens, engage your senses beyond sight and you can confidently select the best fruits available to you. 

Not only can you employ these tricks on everything from cherry tomatoes to grapes and cherries, but you can check to make sure all of your packaged produce isn't spoiled by their biggest enemy during transport: gray mold. It's the most common disease for packaged fruit in transport and can even grow in low temperatures. It's worth employing all of your senses while shopping to ensure you're not taking anything but some good ol' berries home with you.