SUMMER FRUITS: Selecting, storing, serving

by Sue Taggart

Summer is the most abundant season for delicious, juicy fresh fruits. Whether you are buying from your local farmers market or supermarket it’s good to know what to look for when selecting and storing these wonderful summer fruits.

1. ORGANIC – Yes or No?

Apples are usually named as the No.1 food to buy organic, followed by peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes and plums. Our advice, when in doubt buy organic and Non-GMO.


Blueberries– Go for plump berries with a lightly frosted hue

Strawberries– Smell. It should smell exactly like you want it to taste, Also a ripe strawberry should be red all the way through

Raspberries– Look carefully to see if there is any mold on any of the berries. This is a common problem if they are in the store too long. Don’t buy them if any have even the slightest bit of mold. They will taste moldy.

Watermelon– A ripe watermelon is heavy, indicating that it’s full of water. Tap it and if sounds hollow, it’s ripe.

Cantaloupe– A ripe cantaloupe will feel heavy and smell sweet – too sweet then it could be overripe. Push on the stem end and if it gives a little it’s ready to eat.

Peaches– When peaches are ripe, they turn a reddish and yellowish color. A perfectly ripe peach will give slightly to touch and will smell as a peach should taste.

Plums– You can’t judge a plum by its color. When looking for ripeness in a plum, you want a slightly soft and smooth skin. Skip any that are wrinkled, hard or mushy.


Blueberries– Keep unwashed blueberries in their original container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Strawberries– Discard damaged or moldy berries before storing to prevent the spread of mold. Can be refrigerated for 3-5 days

Raspberries– Ripe raspberries are best eaten the same day, but as long as there is no mold they can be refrigerated for 2 – 3 days.

Watermelon– Watermelon? can be stored whole for a week in the fridge, cut or sliced for 2 days.

Cantaloupe– You can ripen for 2 days at room temperature, then store whole melons in the fridge for a week. Wrap sliced melon in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Peaches– Avoid handling peaches and nectarines too much. Allow to ripen at room temperature, then refrigerate at once. Yellow peaches may last 3 to 5 days, but nectarines and white peaches should be eaten within a day.

Plums– To ripen, keep at room temperature until soft and the skins develop a silvery, powdery coating. Ripe plums should last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.


Fresh fruits are great just as they are. Wash, slice and serve.

• Slice various fruits and arrange in colorful patterns on individual plates.

• Fruits are great served with small cookies or angel food cake.

• Mix fresh fruit, ice cubes and milk in a blender to make a frosty.

• Mix lemonade and watermelon in a blender to make a refreshing summer ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint if desired.

• Mix berries in individual crystal goblets. Pour a little Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur or orange juice) over the berries and serve as a “berry compote.”

• Berries are great served over vanilla ice cream for a cool summer dessert.

• Make melon balls from several types of melons, then carve the melon and refill it with the melon balls. This is great for a buffet or brunch.

• Nothing beats strawberries and whipped cream!

• Peaches, nectarines and plumb are great on the grill. Just cut in half, put flesh side down on the grill and cook until the juices run.


In the mood for other recipes using fruits? We have plenty!


Cherry Cobbler


Peach Lemonade


Poached Peaches in Lemon Verbena Syrup


Blueberry Lemon Loaf


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