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  • To get the most juice from lemons and limes, first heat the fruit in a microwave on high for 30 seconds, then roll it on the counter with your hand, pressing firmly. This can yield as much as twice the amount of juice!
  • Prevent apples, bananas and pears from turning brown after cutting by tossing them with a little lemon juice. If the lemon flavor is too overpowering, toss them with a touch of lighter-tasting lemon-lime soda instead.
  • Freeze overripe bananas in heavy-duty resealable bags. Then when you need them for a recipe, thaw the bananas, then mash by squeezing the bag.
  • Peel peaches by covering with boiling water in a bowl and letting them stand for a minute. Rinse in cold water, then remove the skin with your fingers—it should slip right off of ripe peaches, but underripe fruit may need paring with a knife.
  • To keep strawberries fresher longer, store them in cardboard (not styrofoam) egg cartons. Don’t wash first—water can cause them to spoil quickly. Instead, rinse them just before serving.
  • Raspberries and blackberries spoil quickly in their packaging. To prolong their life, line an airtight plastic container with paper towels, then arrange lightly rinsed fruit, stem side down, on the towels. Covered and stored in the refrigerator, the berries will stay fresh several days longer.
  • When grating lemon or orange peel on a box grater, be careful not to grate down to the white spongy layer—this is the “pith” and tastes bitter. You want only the colored, aromatic portion of the peel.
  • Ping pong ball-size Key limes can be tough to juice, but squeezing quartered Key limes in a garlic press makes the job easier and extracts plenty of juice.
  • Sugared grapes, cranberries, citrus and sturdy herbs like rosemary sprigs, make gorgeousgarnishes. Use a pastry brush to dab the fruit with lightly beaten egg whites, then coat with sugar. Dry on wax paper before using. (For decoration only. Raw eggs should not be consumed.)
  • When choosing cantaloupe, first smell it, avoiding those with no scent. That’s a sign of under-ripeness. Next, shake it—seeds should slosh inside. It should feel heavy for its size, sound hollow when thumped, and the stem end should give slightly when pressed.
  • To choose a ripe mango, look for smooth fruit that’s free of blemishes and gives slightly when pressed. Hard mangoes will ripen in a couple of days on the kitchen counter. Store ripe mangoes in the refrigerator.
  • Ripen slightly green pineapple by placing it on the kitchen counter turned upside down to rest on the leafy top. This forces the sugars in the bottom of the fruit to travel to the top for even ripening.
  • Extracting pomegranate seeds is messy, so cut the fruit into quarters, place in a bowl of water, and use your fingers to remove the seeds from the membrane, letting them sink to the bottom. The membrane will float to the top for easy removal.