How to choose your favorite summer fruits

 
By 13 May 2018
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With summer on the horizon, the season is ripe for picking up some fantastic fruits. Here’s a guide on what’s hot this season and how to spot signs of the most juicy produce in your local supermarket, courtesy of The Co-op

We put together this simple illustrated manual. As the weather gets warmer and you’re looking for weekends to fill, you can turn to our handy produce guide. Maybe print it out and stick it on your fridge.

STRAWBERRIES
May through June

Plump ruby red berries will be scrumptious toppers for shortcake. But looks can be deceiving and they may be pale and flavorless on the inside. That’s because strawberries redden but don’t ripen once picked. “So use your nose,” says Margaret Hoffman, regional coordinator Northern Manhattan Green market. “Ripe strawberries give off a sweet and distinctive aroma that’s unmistakable and all their own.” Always look at the bottom of the carton to make sure there are no moldy berries lurking there.

CHERRIES
June through July

Different varieties of cherries will ripen at different times of the year. The Bing and Rainier cherries are the most common and usually become available June through July. If the cherry is a more sour variety, then it usually has a shorter season, so pick fast. When picking cherries, look for no wrinkles in the skin, with fresh-looking, green stems. Keep in mind that Rainier cherries are more yellow and are usually softer than Bing cherries.

BLUEBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES 
June through August

Berry season is most of the summer, but different varieties can come into season a bit more during the beginning of the warmer months. Make sure you look for shiny, plump berries if you’re searching for blackberries. Make sure to avoid anything that feels mushy or looks discolored. Blueberries are the only berry that keep a dull, matte finish when they are ripe. These versatile summer all-stars are at their best when they’re plump, firm, and a uniform dark blue color, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

PEACHES 
July through September

If you’re lucky enough to live in a region that grows fresh peaches, make sure to go out for some peach-picking during the months of July or August. When picking your peaches, start with a good smell. You’re searching for a sweet, subtle scent. Then look at the color, there should be no green undertones to the peach itself. Finally, a light squeeze should yield around the stem and give just a little.

TOMATOES
July through September

While you can get delicious tomatoes any time of the year, they are most ripe and flavorful in the warm summer months. If you’ve ever eaten an overripe tomato, you know how it can easily ruin a dish. The perfectly ripe tomato is quite a summer treat. When you squeeze the red fruit gently it should give a little but not be mushy or too soft. It should also be a little heavier than an unripe tomato, which is going to be nearly as hard as a rock.

RASPBERRIES
July through October

come into season in July until October. Similar to strawberries, the first fruit is often the best for eating. Recent work on varieties is changing the profile and appearance of the crop, giving a more consistent quality throughout the season.

FIGS
July through September

This unusual little fruit actually has two growing seasons: One during mid to late summer and a second one in November in the warmer climates. To take advantage of summer-growing figs, remember that they will not continue to ripen after they have been picked. The neck of the fruit will wilt a bit when it’s ready to pick, so be sure to wait patiently for the perfectly sweet and ripe fig.

APPLES
August

The end of the summer is the start of apple season, so prepare early for an apple-full fall. Depending on the variety of apple, they may or may not start ripening in mid to late August, and then continue on through most of fall. Look for the different varieties near you, and seek out firm, solid apples without bruises or holes. They should also have a very subtle scent, without smelling overly sweet.

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