Chef Ina Garten laughing.
Ina Garten's Etiquette Rule For Grocery Store Fruit Stands

We've all done it: You're shopping in the grocery store produce department and squeezing fruits or veggies to see if they're firm or soft.

Chef Ina Garten warned shoppers against it in an interview with the BBC. Garten explained that every squeeze can leave its mark, bruising the produce's flesh or damaging its skin.

Once produce is squeezed, bacteria gets in and can spoil it quicker. This can be a loss for the unsuspecting shopper who buys it or for the store left with damaged produce.

This is why Garten tells fellow shoppers to avoid the practice, and luckily, there are ways to judge the ripeness of a fruit or vegetable without poking and prodding it.

Try to take in visual and aromatic cues. For instance, a good tomato should look bright and shiny, smell sweet, and feel heavy in your hand.

Citrus fruits should also feel heavy for their size. Likewise, you can judge the sweetness of a watermelon by using the two-finger trick to measure the width of its stripes.