Dr Abe V Rotor
. The best part of papaya (Carica papaya) is the lower half; it is more fleshy, sweeter and deeper in color. In the case of pineapple it is the opposite – the upper half is superior. Here is a cursory list to guide buyers and consumers.
• Lansones (Lansium domesticum) – Extra large fruits have big seeds, and are not in any way sweeter than the rest in the bunch. Choose the medium size, quite elongated, and bright yellow in color.
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativa) – Choose the size for pickling or about. As the fruit matures it loses its firm cartilaginous consistency and the seeds have already matured. Harvest okra, cowpea, patola, batao and string beans when still succulent, other wise they become fibrous.
• Squash (Cucurbita maxima) – Tough to the fingernail, does not exude sap. The fruit is mature and seasoned, and has glutinous (malagkit) consistency.
• Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) – Break the tip of the stem and look for the yellowish to orange coloration at the center. Red means the fruit is over mature.
• Watermelon (Citrulus vulgaris) – Stripes are distinct and widespread. The cut stem should be green. Tap the fruit with the forefinger. If the sound is deep and dull, the fruit is ripe. Better still, ask the seller to make a triangular cut through the fruit.
• Banana (Musa sapientum) – The upper fruits in the bunch are bigger, sweeter and the first to ripen.
• Caimito (Chrysophylum cainito) – Fruits becomes shiny when it is about to ripen. This is also true in avocado (Persea Americana) and tiesa (Locuma nervosa).
• Chico (Achras sapota) – Lightly scrape the skin of the fruit with your fingernail. If underneath is green it is not yet ready for harvesting. This is also a guide in buying unripe chico.
• Sugar apple or atis (Anona squamosa) – Fruit well expanded, canals are distinct, color turns pale green.
• Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) for chewing – Get the internodes closest to the base; they are sweeter than those near the top.
. Balimbing (Averrhoa balimbi) - Harvest when fruit is greenish yellow, best to eat a day or two after. Cut crosswise to show star shape design.
. Tamarind or sampalok (Tamarindus indica) - Best when shell or rind has detached from the flesh (marsaba Ilk), otherwise, wait till the flesh has turned brown and shrunk - it is sweetest in this stage. (kalanakang Ilk)
. Nangka (Arthocarpus integra) - Aromatic odor, gives way to pressure, thick dull sound when tapped, turns yellowish green when ripe, may crack showing golden yellow flesh.