Half of your plate at mealtime should be filled with fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is good for your health and it may also help you feel optimistic and improve your looks. One of the problems with eating all that produce is that there's a limited amount of time to eat it at its prime.

Knowing when a fruit or vegetable is past its prime is often easy to detect just by looking at it — it may wilt, get mushy or turn brown. But, how do you know when produce is at its prime? It's not always as easy to tell. This handy infographic from Lunds & Byerlys removes a lot of the guesswork.

ripeness infographic

What if you don't get to eat your produce before it passes its perfect ripeness? There's no reason to throw it out unless it's moldy or your nose tells you it has gone bad.

With that in mind, here are some great tips for using overripe produce:

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

How do I ripen produce? Never wonder again
This handy guide helps you figure out how to handle certain fruits and vegetables.