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Guide To Picking Your Favorite Summer Fruits

With the arrival of the warmer months comes the beginning of fruit season. There are so many different varieties of sweet, tasty fruit — all of which come into season at different times during the summer. Whether you're heading to the grocery store or you're visiting one of those fun pick-your-own-fruit-farms, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting seasonal fruit. Here is a quick look at some of the delicious treats of summer, when to pick them and how to pick them out.

May through June

Picking Strawberries

The sweet berry is one of the first fruits to peek out at the beginning of the summer season. The peak of the season ends around mid-June, but depending on your location and climate, that time can vary. When looking for ripe strawberries, make sure they don't have green or white tips, which means they were picked too early. The size of the berry itself really doesn't matter, as long as they are a bright, solid red color. If the berry is stained or darkened, it means it's over-ripe.

June through July

Picking Cherries

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 and Blackberries
June through August

Picking Blackberries

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.

July through September

Picking Peaches

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.

July through September

Picking Tomatoes

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.

July through October

Picking Raspberries

Like their cousins, the blackberries, raspberries have a long growing season. You'll find them ripening in early July and remaining in season for most of the warm months. The problem with raspberries is that they spoil very quickly, so shake the container a bit at the grocery store to make sure there is no mold. Look for berries that hold their shape and aren't leaking their juices yet, as that's an indicator of an over-ripe berry.

July through September

Picking Figs

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.


Picking Apples

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.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at

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