(Becky Krystal/The Washington Post)

Unless you've been living under a very huge pile of oranges, you know Whole Foods last week found itself dealing with the Internet after a customer posted a photo of pre-peeled Sumo mandarins for sale at one of its locations for a reported price of $5.99. Whole Foods apologized and pulled the naked citrus from the shelves.

But the brouhaha got us thinking. When are such shortcuts acceptable? And when do they indicate a level of such culinary sloth that we worry for the future of mankind? Here's our entirely subjective ranking of supermarket-prepared produce items, ranked from most defensible to most lazy. (Prices, per pound unless otherwise noted, are from the Whole Foods on P Street NW.)


1) Carrot, zucchini and squash noodles: $7.49 (organic)

2) Cole slaw mix: $3.99


3) Broccoli stir fry (includes snow peas, onions, peppers and squash): $6.99

4) Mushroom stir fry (includes carrots, broccoli and snow peas): $4.99

5) Asparagus stir fry (includes mushrooms, peppers and broccoli): $6.99

6) Fruit cup mix (berries, grapes, pineapple chunks, honeydew and cantaloupe): $7.99

7) Tropical fruit mix (papaya, mango, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries): $9.99

(Becky Krystal/The Washington Post)

Might just want to use your own knife:

8) Peeled, cored and chopped pineapple with berries: $8.49

9) Peeled, cored and chopped pineapple: $4.99; organic $5.49

10) Peeled and cored pineapple: $3.49

11) Broccoli and cauliflower florets: $7.49

12) Broccoli florets: $5.99

13) Peeled and chopped watermelon: $4.99

14) Peeled and chopped cantaloupe, with or without honeydew: $5.99

15) Peeled and chopped mango and berries: $9.99 (organic)

16) Peeled and chopped papaya and lime: $6.99

17) Kiwi, strawberry and mango mix: $8.49 (organic)

18) Peeled and sliced kiwi: $7.99 (organic)

Almost hopeless:

19) Peeled and sliced grapefruit or oranges: $5.99 (organic)

20) Diced onion, chopped celery and shredded carrot: $5.99

21) Shredded carrots: $5.99 (organic)

22) Diced onions: $5.99 (organic)

23) Peeled garlic cloves: $3.99 for 6-ounce bag of Christopher Ranch brand

24) Carrot and celery sticks: $4.49


25) Berry mix: $9.99; $10.99 (organic)

26) Cut strawberries: $10.99 (organic)

27) Halved and seeded honeydew or cantaloupe: $2.49

28) Snow peas or snap peas: $5.99

Related items:

What Whole Foods is doing to try to dig out of its rut

Whole Foods to pay $500,000 for overcharging NYC customers

To you, it's a chore. To me, it's a quest with benefits.