Monday, November 1, 2010

Sweet Bell Peppers

During my years as a produce buyer I have purchased these delicious veggies from as far away as Holland and as close as a stone's throw from my backyard. Visually speaking... it's pretty easy to tell the difference between good quality peppers and bad quality. Softness, wrinkling, black stems, and mold are signs of age, though softness is usually a sign that the pepper has been picked too early. Peppers picked at their peak of perfection are rock hard and very heavy. They have a beautiful sheen to their skin and should be blemish free. Rough handling and sunburn, often ruin the appearance and flavor of this popular veggie.

The biggest difference between a field grown pepper and a greenhouse grown pepper is the thickness of their flesh. Usually greenhouse peppers have thicker, sweeter flesh, the quality is consistently superb to field grown varieties. This of course reflects in the higher retail you will also pay at the checkout.

When peppers are picked at full maturity they will almost make a sound like biting into a crisp apple or pulling the lid off your tupperware container when you are cutting them up for a salad or hot meal. They make a hollow "thump" sound when they rub against each other on the pepper display. I have spent many years in the field inspecting produce and peppers were a big part of my purchasing.

Coloured peppers cost much more to grow because they take longer to mature in the field from green; this means the sun beats down on them all day for an extra few weeks and sunburns a significant percentage of the crop. The sunburned peppers cannot be marketed and the loss is absorbed by the coloured peppers that do make it to market. So it is not unusual to pay twice to three times the price for coloured peppers.

Do not buy peppers that are soft or wrinkly as these are signs of immaturity, age, or improper handling. If the top of the vine looks brown or black this is definitely a sign of age, or if the seeds inside the pepper are brown or black. The signs are pretty obvious to even a first time shopper.

If you are purchasing bagged peppers hold the package up to your nose and if there is an overpowering aroma of peppers the package is not fresh.

Eat lots of Produce and support Local Growers whenever possible!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sweetheart Cherries

Sweetheart Cherries are fast becoming one of the world's favorite cherries because of their super sweet flavour, crunchiness and long shelf-life. Sweethearts are one of the few "Naturally Red" cherries grown, though many shoppers are turned off by their colour assuming they aren't very sweet. Nothing could be further from the truth!


  • Crunchier
  • Sweeter
  • Smaller Pit
  • Extremely Long Shelf-Life

I love the fact Sweetheart Cherries are heart-shaped too. Makes a great gift for your "Sweetheart". LOL!

Sweetheart Cherries

Lapin Cherries are probably the most eaten cherries in the world today, though many new strains are being planted today that will one day usurp the Lapin as the "King of Cherries". Lapins are very dark in colour almost black and they can look more appetizing than a Sweetheart Cherry. Don't be fooled! The Sweetheart variety is superior in taste and crunchiness.

When you're buying cherries look for a nice sheen to the skin , good quality cherries always have beautiful eye appeal. The stems should be a solid green colour, if the stems are a brown or black colour the fruit is not fresh (bought at a discount may be an option if your pocketbook is a little light). Perform the pressure test... lightly squeeze a cherry between your fingers and it should be very firm. If samples are offered the "taste test" is always best.

Avoid fruit with splits in the flesh (check my 3rd post down) and if you are purchasing Bagged Cherries make sure the bottom of the bag is not full of stems, the bags are relatively dry and the fruit does not smell like wine; all signs of age.

A problem in Supermarkets today is a lack of adequate training of their Produce Clerks. Usually Produce Departments will have on only one Senior Produce Clerk while the other Clerks have little or no training. The produce is mishandled, dropped, dumped, over-stacked, heaped, the damage will often not be noticeable until after you have gotten your purchases home. Avoid messy, unkempt and dirty displays. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Eat lots of Produce and support Local Growers whenever possible!

If you have ever had Welch's grape jelly, drank their purple grape juice or had their fruit snacks; then you've been eating Concord grapes.

Concord grapes are an old-time favorite of my parent's generation and not so readily available today. They are harvested in the U.S. and Canada in late August and early September. I love to grab handfulls and munch on them, they have such a unique and wonderful flavour. Grab a straw and you can spit the seeds at your closest nemesis. JK!

Seeded fruits should be a healthy part of your diet as Mother Nature intended. Eating grape seeds is very good for your body and I personally have never heard of anyone choking to death on a grape seed. Although uncommon... it is more likely for people to choke on whole grapes than their seeds.


There is a variety of blue grape similar to the seeded Concord grape called Coronation and they are seedless. Same fantastic flavor and appearance without the seeds. The seedless Coronation variety will eventually surpass Concord sales as production increases.

When buying Concord or Coronation Grapes they should have a natural whitish powder on their skin (just like blueberries, apples, plums), this is a great indicator of their freshness. After grapes are harvested they lose their "powdery look" as they age and begin to look bland and dull.

Pick up a bunch of grapes and gently shake them, if a large percentage of fruit falls off (called "shatter") the bunch this is a sign of age. Not necessarily bad though if the fruit is still firm. Squeeze a grape between your fingers to ensure they are still firm, not soft and mushy. These two varieties get soft quickly and should be kept refrigerated or in your cold room.

The vine should be light brown or green, not shriveled or black in color. Occasionally you may see a moldy, brown, raisiny, wrinkled or greenish grape on a bunch, this is NORMAL and doe not mean the bunch is bad

If the grape bunches are sticky, this usually means the fruit is old or overripe and should be avoided unless you are making jam or wine. The "taste test" is alway best, pop one in your mouth and savor their wonderful flavour. You will not die from eating an unwashed grape!

Monday, July 5, 2010

How to buy Blueberries

Blueberries are so delicious and they make the perfect snack just about anytime, anywhere. Now days they are available year-round at quite reasonable prices. I couldn't begin to calculate how many pounds of Blueberries I have sold over the last 25 years... or Eaten!

When buying blueberries you should turn over the plastic container and check the bottom for wetness and mold. If there is a white liner in the bottom of the container make sure it has not turned blue, a sign that the fruit is not fresh. Always open the container and gently squeeze the berries, they should be firm and hard (not wrinkled). Soft berries spoil quickly and are usually a sign of old age or heat stroke.

Bigger fruit is ALWAYS sweeter. Blueberries have a natural white powdery look on their skin (as do plums and apples), this is a sign of freshness. Berries that look dull and lacklustre will be soft, mushy and almost tasteless.

Blueberries should be blue in color, immature berries will have a greenish or yellow tinge. If you are buying a case of berries make sure you gently shake the box of berries so you can check the interior bottom of the box for wetness and mold. You would be surprised how often a box of blueberries looks beautiful on top and the bottom is bad.

On extremely hot days, heat affects the quality of the fruit so reputatble growers will stop picking earlier in the day to maintain a certain quality standard. While not so reputable growers will continue picking fruit which becomes soft quickly due to the extreme temperatures. This can often reflected in the price at the store, a "No Name" brand versus a "Driscoll or Dole" label.

Generally speaking when you see a great buy for Blueberries, Strawberries, Cherries, Corn or Grapes in your local newspaper they are being sold as a loss leader to entice shoppers into their supermarkets.

Remember if you want good produce in your local grocery stores you need to write out customer complaint cards and include the grower's name whenever possible. With centralized purchasing the Produce Buyers often never see the produce being shipped to their stores. Customer complaints are taken seriously and will be checked out.

Big Cherries

My specialty has always been growing, packing and selling Big Cherries. Unfortunately Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate and sometimes we must deal with the impact of unseasonably wet weather, extreme temperatures and insect infestations. Ouch!

This coming 2011 season, frost damage will be widely seen in the fruit at the supermarkets. Produce Buyers will have to lower their normally high standards to ensure they have continuous supply and to appease growers. Hopefully this year's *June Drop will not adversely affect the crops.

There are many types of splits and cracks referred to when it comes to cherries but I will simplify it here. First is the "Horseshoe Split" which is on top of the cherry, a brown ring or crack around the stem caused by a drop of rain sitting atop the cherry after a rainfall. "Bum Split" on the bottom of the cherry, again this is caused by rain. The "GA Split" (Gibberelic-acid) which is a chemical sprayed on most cherries today in the Northern Hemisphere to delay the maturity of the cherry (late cherries usually sell for more) and making it crunchier. While in the Southern Hemisphere growers often use Ethrel to speed up the maturity of cherries (Early cherries sell for more).

Horseshoe Split

Bum Split

GA Split or Crack

Brown or Wet Rot

Frost Damage

* Every June, cherries while still in their infancy will naturally fall off the trees. This is Mother Nature's way of thinning cherry trees of their overabundant fruit.

Now here are some photos of some beautiful Yellow "Early Robin" cherries being picked a couple of days ago in Washington State. This particular variety is very similar to a Yellow Rainier cherry and will be marketed as such. This cherry tends to be very big fruit, supersweet and they have a wonderful red blush. Don't you think?

These cherries are huge they average about 1.25" inches in diameter. Probably cost about $5.99/lb for these in supermarkets if you can even find them. Most fruit of this quality is destined for overseas markets where they can command even higher prices.

Rainer Cherries ready to be picked

Fresh Picked Rainier Cherries

Inspecting Rainier Cherries for size

Giant 8 Row Rainier Cherries


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I watched this video produced by Hellman's the other day and I loved the message of "Buy Local" but it lacks truth because it only tells half the story.

Why do supermarkets import the majority of their produce today? Why are our farmlands continuing to dwindle annually. I will talk about some of the main reasons in today's post.

First let me say again that I support local growers, even if I have to pay a little more. Quite honestly, I don't mind paying a little more knowing my dollars are staying in the local economy. This means so much to me and I know I'm keeping jobs here.

The cost of agricultural land in North America has sky-rocketd compared to many other countries where we import our produce. At today's land prices it is very difficult to begin farming, the mortgage payment alone can far exceed the annual return of the crops. Tourism is a strong contributing factor in many cases, for example with all the wineries popping up, surrounding lands have increased substanially in value. It's trendy to take a wine tour or buy an adjacent vacation property. An acre of prime orchard land 5 years that may have cost $40,000 today costs over a $100,000. In Chile the same land can be purchased for $6,000 - $12,000 acre.

The average orchard in Canada is about 10 acres whereas the average orchard in the U.S. is 100 - 2000 acres. Purchasing packing equipment and building a packing shed to handle the crops will easily cost over a $1,000,000 today. Not possible for a small farm so the answer is to sell their crop directly (best return) or have a co-op pack and market their crop (worst return).

The laws governing the packing of produce are becoming more stringent each year as our government tries to protect us from getting sick, disease and terrorist threats (poisoning of the food chain). The average grower cannot afford these costs and either must sell to a co-op as I mentioned earlier or expand. Accountability is the new word in packing, the government wants to be able to trace the source of any contaminated produce to stop it in its tracks. Rightfully so and this comes at a great multi-billion dollar cost.

As Supemarkets move into the big box category to survive against the Walmarts, this means less neighbourhood stores. Today's stores must purchase full truckloads of single commodities like broccoli, corn, oranges to get truckload pricing and save on freight costs. Having a truck drive to several farms to fill a truck with produce can raise the cost of delivery by 20% or more. Produce buyers are looking to do business with farms big enough to handle their requirements. The little farmer cannot service these companies in this capacity which gives them fewer options to market their crops

A produce buyer may want to buy locally but the farms are just too small to service their needs so they look to other sources or countries that can.

Today most supermarkets voluntarily follow Gap Certification standards to protect themselves from liability and their customers by taking food safety a step further. This is an expensive program which is ultimately passed on to you the customer.

If a grower isn't Gap Certified the supermarkets will not buy his produce. Our orchards are Global Gap Certified.


Lastly... where have all the pickers gone? There is a huge shortage of workers. Our children do not want to work picking peaches or blueberries, preferring to focus on higher education. I would estimate 30% - 40% of the labor force used to pick crops today are seasonal workers imported from Mexico or some other low income third world nation. There is nobody to pick the crops, there is a shortage of workers.

It can be very frustrating being a farmer today. Yes buying local produce will cost you more money. Absolutely. Eat lots of Produce and support Local Growers whenever possible!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


fresh, cherries,

I have been gone for awhile and haven't had a chance to update my blog with anything new or unusual. My apologies!

A new season is upon us and I will be posting regularly and adding updates as I travel through growing regions of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

California has had a great crop of cherries this season, prices have been quite reasonable so far and with the expected overlap of fruit between Califor

California is in full production right now with alot of the early variety Brooks available. A nice cherry if it's picked in a dry season, terrible quality if it rains, Brooks split so easily. Of course the bings are starting too, another excellent cherry with heavy volumes expected.

Washington State will begin picking their early varieties anyday now. The Chelan variety is an excellent cherry its characteristics are a dark, hard and very crunchy piece of fruit. Albeit not as sweet as the bing or lapin varieties which will come later in the season. The Van cherry is a Canadian favorite because of it's almost black color and supersweet thick sugary flavor. Volumes continue to decrease every year as this variety commands lower returns to the growers.

Can't wait to eat my fill of cherries this season. I've already started on the Rainiers, they haven't been this cheap out of California since I can't remember.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dinosaur Egg Brand

Ripe Dinosaur Egg Plums

Unripe Dinosaur Egg Plums

Overripe Dinosaur Egg Plum

Dapple Dandy Pluots aka Dinosaur Egg Plums

Stem Indentation on the Shoulder

Plum + Apricot = Plumcot

One of my favorite fruits is the super sweet and flavorful "Dapple Dandy" pluot. Also referred to as the "Dinosaur Egg" plum, coined by the Jackson Family of Kingsburg Orchards in California (the family owns the trademark too).

A "pluot" or "interspecific plum" is a cross between a plum and apricot. Very similar to "plumcots", though the differences escape me. There are approximately 25 pluot varieties and no... they are not genetically modified.

Usually you need to ripen these yourself on your kitchen counter because it's hard to find these ripe in supermarkets. Although paying a hefty price in some stores will get you tree ripened fruit that can be eaten right away.Worth every penny if you can spare the change.

How to buy Dinosaur Egg plums:

Ripe Dinosaur Egg plums have a deep pink color, press your thumb against the side of the fruit, the flesh should feel soft not mushy. Stem indentations on the shoulders is perfectly normal, although brown discoloration is a sign of poor quality. Firm fruit is tasteless and will need a few days to ripen. Sampling is always best.

The chalky white powder on plums is called "bloom" and it's presence is a good sign that the fruit hasn't been handled too much from orchard to store. Please check out all my reference photos included in this post.

Ripen plums and pluots at room temperature (not in plastic), they need to breathe. Do not store in direct sunlight or extremely warm areas, this will cause the fruit to mold and spoil rather quickly. I have lost a small fortune learning this lesson. Once the fruit is ripe put it in your refrigerator.

More wonderful varieties of pluots

  • Mango Tango
  • Flavor Grenade
  • Raspberry Jewel
  • Flavor Queen
Flavorosa - very plain tasting

Plum Powder a sign of Freshness is called "Bloom"

Friday, January 15, 2010


Maybe you've seen Rambutan before and wondered what it was... it looks a little bit creepy like a hairy spider or some type of cactus. It's actually a delicious fruit very similar in flavor and texture to grapes. Rambutan means "Hairy" in the Indonesian tongue.

I've been selling this fruit for 25 years and it's popularity is only overshadowed by it's expensive retail. Most of the supply destined for world markets was shipped out of Bangkok by plane so half the cost of the fruit is attributed to air freight. But during the last few years, Central America has been playing a key role in introducing this wonderful fruit to North Americans. Mexico, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica have all been steadily increasing their tonnage as demand exceeds availability.

Peeled Red Rambutan

Rambutan is related to the Lychee, Longan and Mamoncillo fruits and is grown throughout tropical parts of Asia and Central America. If you have ever tasted a Lychee Nut before it is also very similar in texture, flavor and the flesh is the same whitish color. Rambutans have a wonderful refreshing taste, especially served cold. The fruit is 3-4 times larger than it's cousin the Lychee or large grapes.

Peeled Reddish-Green Rambutan

In North America most Asian stores sell this fruit with more of a reddish-green color. The Red fruit is more expensive, a little sweeter and usually only sold at upscale stores if you can find it at all.

Rambutan On Display At A Market

When you're buying Rambutans look for fruit with a nice "bright" color, dull looking fruit (or black tips) is old... good to buy if it's half price and eaten right away. Fruit still attached to their branches is usually fresher.

Rambutan On Display At A Market

Rambutans have a tough skin. I suggest gently cutting into the shell in a 360 degrees rotation with a paring knife. The shell will now come off easily. You can also use your thumbnail or teeth to pierce the skin but it can be a bit messier using this method. Remember there is a small pit in the middle so be careful not to bite down too hard and injure your teeth. Rambutan should easily last a week in your refrigerator, do not store at room temperature it dries out too quickly.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reuters Photo

In 1997 just days before the British Colony of Hong Kong was handed back to China, I was walking through the streets of Hong Kong taking in the wonderful and not so wonderful aromas of the markets; when I happen chanced upon the curiosity (for me) of "Garlic Stems" aka "Garlic Scapes".

I wanted to see Hong Kong before it was handed back to Mainland China. Everybody at the time was in a state of panic over what would happen to the island after it fell into communist hands.

I walked by store fronts (not produce) and noticed plates full of fresh garlic with thick green stems about 10 inches high sprouting from the bulbs. The garlic was usually situated on the counter by their cash register or in the store front window, amazing I thought... I wonder if they are edible, just for decoration or a religious offering to Buddha?

This is funny because I was an experienced international produce buyer with 15 years under my belt and of course I had imported chives (gow choy) and flowering chives (gow choy fa) from Taiwan for years but had never run across garlic stems before. Sometimes it can take years before growing and production methods and technology is advanced enough to bring a product to market.

If you love the taste of onions and garlic then I recommend trying garlic stems. Today they are widely available in asian markets and even in "authentic cuisine" chinese restaurants. They taste wonderful stirfried in a wok (cut in 1 inch strips) for about 3 - 4 minutes with a little bit of oil, salt to taste, a sprinkle of sugar and some soy sauce. Also a great addition to wok-fried seafood with a bit of chinese cooking wine.

When you are buying garlic stems, the stalks of this vegetable should be very firm similar to celery. Limpness means the product is very old or has been sitting in the hot sun and deteriorating. If the flowers are still attached, the buds should be tightly closed, compact and no wetness or slime should be evident. The stalks themselves can have a nice healthy mixture of green and yellow color but if their aroma is overpowering (almost a stench) this means they're not fresh

I hope I've introduced you to a new vegetable that you will love and enjoy and adds a new dimension to your cooking.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stevia is an wonderful alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. I started to research sugar substitutes in 2003 after my mother had been diagnosed with Diabetes. She loves to add heaping amounts of sugar to her tea and on her morning grapefruit and she couldn't any longer after her diagnosis. So, I happen chanced upon the herb Stevia.

Stevia is native to South America and has been used by the natives for more than a thousand years. Zero calories, zero on the Glycemic Index, medically proven to lower high blood pressure, and in it's natural state 10 - 30 times sweeter than sugar. You can also bake with Stevia.

Some people find the aftertaste of the leaves to be a little bitter; thankfully you can buy it processed similar to sugar. Processed, there is no aftertaste and it's 100 - 300 times sweeter than sugar.

You can make liquid "sugar" yourself by cooking this herb on your stove with equal parts water and whiskey; boiling off the alcohol and then letting the concoction sit overnight. In the morning drain the liquid and discard the remnants and you have a natural liquid sweetener. I suggest experimenting with a small amount first.

In my research there is past evidence that suggests Artificial Sweetener companies had bribed certain key FDA officials or offered them key positions within their companies in return for their cooperation in keeping Stevia off retail shelves. These officials no longer work for the FDA.

Today, Stevia has become widely available throughout the U.S. though in Canada it is only approved as a dietary supplement.

Global brands like Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Cargill all use Stevia in their products today. In Japan, Stevia has been approved for decades and 40% of their manufactured foods use this natural sweetener as a sugar substitute. I believe this is a testament to it's safeness. We know many medical studies are commissioned by corporate interests that would like nothing better than to see products like Stevia banned from our store shelves.

I have been using Stevia for about 5 years. When I was in retail I sold Stevia in the herb section of my store. The suprise on people's faces when they popped a sample into their mouth and tasted how sweet this herb can be in it's natural state. LOL!

Obesity has become the number one health problem in North America today. Stevia would help eliminate that problem. So give this wonderful herb a try and if you have friends and family on carbohydrate reduced diets or are diabetic... tell them about this wonderful herb. I am not being paid an endorsement for this editorial!

Please Note: I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your own diligence. I haven't gone into any technical data because that is not what my blog is about but the data is out there for those interested enough to "Google" it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sometimes we all get bored with the everyday staples like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions and such; and it's nice that there's an alternative to spice up the dinner menu.

"Romanesco Cauliflower" aka "Romanesco Broccoli" or "Coral Broccoli" is one of the most unique, eye appealing and tastiest of the cauliflower and broccoli family and native to Italy. This variety is much more tender than its cousins and easy to overcook so you need to keep a close eye on it. Nice nutty flavor I think you'll enjoy and also very good served raw.

Varieties of colored cauliflower aka "Carnival Cauliflower" include purple, orange and green. These varieties and are NOT genetically modified.

A important side note... scientific studies prove with proper farm management, organic produce is safer than conventional when it comes to the "E. coli O157" bacteria. I recommend checking out the safety practices of your organic growers before eating their produce though. There is evidence some growers do not dry their manure for the recommended period which can have the opposite impact "E. coli O157" can survive in soil 1 - 6 months depending on the variety of vegetable. You know the old story of how a few can ruin it for the whole.

Purple cauliflower is very high in anti-oxidants (anthocyanin) and a healthy additon to any diet. This heirloom variety will turn whitish color if it's pan fried or boiled, better to serve it steamed or raw if you want to show off the beautiful color. It has a milder flavor than the white and is also more tender so be careful with your cooking time. I used to kid my staff and tell them it was a blend of cauliflower and beets and ask them if they could taste the beet flavor when they ate it LOL!

The orange variety is not only beautiful to look at it's very high in beta-carotene which causes the orange color and has 25 times more Vitamin A than the white variety. Discovered in a farmer's field of white cauliflower in Canada more than 30 years ago, this naturally occurring mutant variety has a mild delicious flavor similar to the white but is much more tender.

Green Cauliflower aka "Broccoflower" is actually very delicious though not very popular with the masses. I suppose it's because the retail is usually about twice that of the white variety and it reminds us of white cauliflower and green broccoli. Yes, this variety is a cross of broccoli and cauliflower but NOT genetically modified . The term "Broccoflower" was coined by California growers Tanimura & Antle to market this crop more effectively.

When buying any type of cauliflower you should look for the following traits:

The heads should be firm and the leaves surrounding the head crisp not limp or yellow. The vegetable itself should be hard and firm when you press your thumb against the head. Softness is a sign of age. Check the center of the butt for slime and brown decay. The closed buds of the flowers should be tight, compact and no brown or black spots should be visible. The best test of all is to smell it, bad or old product will have a bad and stale aroma. Organic cauliflower and broccoli... pests love to hide in the heads so always thoroughly wash and clean. Cauliflower is best stored in your refrigerator.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Starfruit (Carambola) is one of the most talked about and recognizable exotic fruits in the world. It's a delicious, invigorating fruit, especially on a hot day or after a hard workout. At the same time this wonderful fruit can be lacklustre and tasteless if it's not bought or ripened properly. I have talked with a lot of customers that were left with a disappointed feeling after their first taste.

The important thing to do when trying a new kind of fruit is to ask someone in the produce department these five questions:

  1. What does it taste like?
  2. How do I handle it?
  3. How do I ripen it?
  4. How do I eat it?
  5. How do I store it?

If there's noone who can answers these questions, the internet is a good alternative to look for the answers.

What doe it taste like?

I think is has a flavor combination of green grapes and granny smith apples. The first taste is sweetness with the wonderful afterbite of a sour apple but not overly sour. The flesh is soft like a ripe, firm plum and the juice will run down your chin and squirt all about if you're not careful lol!

How do I handle it?

Starfruit is delicate and should be handled gently. Don't squeeze it because it will leave bruises on the flesh and won't ripen properly.

How do I ripen it?

Like most fruit sold today there is more than one grade. You're looking for fruit with green ridges and yellowing flesh without any brown discoloration on the flesh. I don't suggest buying ripe starfruit unless it's at a public market and picked that day. Remove the fruit from any bags and leave it on your counter or in a fruit bowl at room temperature. As it ripens the ridges of the fruit will turn brown, that's okay. When the flesh of the fruit turns completely yellow it's ready to be eaten.

How do I eat it?

Take a paring knife and cut the thin brown ridges off the ripe fruit and then slice it crosswise to eat in star shaped wedges. There are a few seeds that look similar to apple seeds that can be eaten or spit out. In many photos you will notice the fruit is sliced with green edges, starfruit can be eaten at any stage depending on your personal tastes. The more yellow the flesh...the sweeter the fruit.

How do I store it?

After the fruit is ripe if you haven't eaten it all already, it can now be stored in your refrigerator. This will dampen the ripening process and extend the life of the fruit by about 5 - 7 days. You probably don't want to store it any longer than this because the fruit will start to dry out and lose its appeal.

Starfruit contains oxalic acid which can harm people suffering from kidney failure or on dialysis. Symptoms can range from hiccups, vomiting, nausea and mental confusion to death. So a good way to off your better half if you get the urge. Just kidding!