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Summer Fruit Picking Guide: How to Tell When Produce is Ripe and Ready

Have you ever been to the market and decided to pick up some fresh fruit to bring home, thinking the ones you chose looked good enough, but were then astonished (and probably frustrated) to see that your “fresh fruit” turned bad or moldy after only a short while in your possession, or that the fruit you bought didn’t taste exactly as ripe you thought it should? We feel your pain! The best way to avoid this produce-picking debacle is to arm yourself with the information necessary to identify when fruit is at its peak, ensuring that you get the best produce each and every time. In honor of the impending summer season, Healthy Little Cooks has devised a foolproof plan to help you select the best summer produce…so get out into those local markets and community farms and do some fresh, summer fruit picking with ease and delight!



Look for grapes that are firm and plump. They should look and feel heavy for its size and should be securely attached to their stems. The stems themselves should look fresh and green. Also, look for a dusty looking surface, referred to as “dusty bloom”, which indicates freshness. Be sure to avoid grapes with wrinkles or spots, though. The best time of year to get grapes is July through December.



Blueberries that are completely blue in color from the stem-end of the fruit and all the way around are the best to pick. They should also be firm to the touch. Blueberries, along with grapes, have the “dusty bloom” sheen, so look for those to ensure you’re picking the freshest available. Avoid ones that are shriveled, green, or shiny. The best time of year to get blueberries are in the summer months, most notably in July and August.



Look for strawberries that are red all over, with fresh looking green tops. They should be fragrant (meaning that they should smell strongly of strawberry). Weak smelling strawberries indicate that they are unripe and being of poor taste. The best time of year to get strawberries is in spring and summer.



The best peaches are ones that are fragrant (again, ones that smell strongly of peaches). They should be firm, yet slightly soft when touched. Look for peaches that are yellow in color with a good amount of red. If the only ones available are not-quite ripe, not to worry: a special quality of peaches is that due to their naturally emitted ethylene gas, keeping peaches in a loosely closed paper bag speeds up the ripening process! The best time of year to get peaches is mid-May through Mid-August.



Watermelons may seem tricky to figure out, but don’t fret! Look for watermelons that are firm, heavy, and sound hollow when thumped. The color should be medium-to-dark green. Avoid ones yellow in color. Also, if you lightly scratch the rind with your fingernail, it should be white underneath. The best time of year to get watermelons is May through August.



A ripened kiwi will give slightly when touched. Think of the the kiwi as the baby bear of the fruit family. It shouldn’t be too hard and it shouldn’t be too soft! It should feel in between being super hard and super soft. That’s when you know it is ready to take home. The best time of year to get kiwis is November through May.



Take a look at our tips on the Top 5 Tips to Selecting the Best Produce for more information!

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