Summer’s here and the garden is growing! I am lucky, in my home garden I have blueberries, grapes, peaches, figs, and apples. Some are more productive than others and each year is a new experience when it comes to what will grow well and what needs more help. I also have to be quick to harvest before the birds or squirrels are the recipients of the fruits of my labor!
Not only are our own backyard or patio garden’s bursting with fresh produce, but also the farmer’s market! This is a great time to take a trip to the nearest farmer’s market or fruit stand.
Once you see the rainbow of color before you, do you know how to pick the perfect piece of your favorite fruit or a new and unique piece you have yet to add to your plate?
Picking Fruit at Its Best
Many of us could use a bit of guidance so we don’t feel like we are wasting our money on overripe or under sweet fruits this summer. It can be frustrating to spend time picking what we thought was the prettiest fruit only to have it become rotten seemingly overnight!
I have prepared this chart I hope you find helpful. It includes some ideas about how to select, the nutrient punch they deliver and some ideas for using those abundant and colorful fresh fruits! It is best to use fresh produce when it is in season and local for the height of nutrition and without paying a premium. Frozen fruits are good options when your favorite fruits are out of season.
|Type of Fruit||How to Pick||Nutritional Information||Ideas for Use||In Season|
|Mango||Choose slightly firm, heavy mangoes with sweet aroma; avoid ones with sap on the skin. When ripe, the flesh at the stem end will yield slightly to gentle pressure, squeeze, softer as ripen. Color not a good indicator of ripeness. |
Has a large pit and thick skin. Wash before cutting.
|Good source of vitamin A and vitamin C; fiber; antioxidants; potassium||Smoothies|
Chutney/salsa to serve over fish, chicken, pork and vegetables
Puree for ice cream topping
|Different varieties available all year, peak April to August|
|Peaches||Pick sweet smelling fruit, gives to pressure. Pick most local for tree ripened quality. Yellow or white flesh. Should have an even color.||Vitamins A and C|
|Cobbler or pie|
Cut up over ice cream
|June to end of August|
|Kiwi||Brown and fuzzy on the outside, green and juicy on the inside. Size does not determine sweetness. Press with thumb, give equals ripeness. Refrigerate. If need to ripen, keep on counter a few days.||Antioxidants|
Vit E, Zinc, Folate
|October to May|
(Caution if you have a latex allergy)
|Orange flesh with black seeds which are edible but bitter. Pick slightly soft to touch and reddish orange skin not hard or green.||Vitamin C and A, folate, fiber,|
potassium, magnesium and copper
|Eat cut up or in recipes|
|Summer and Fall|
|Cantaloupe||Heavier when ripe.|
Makes deep sound when tapped. Thumb pressed on stem end has give. Ripe melons have fragrant aroma. Shouldn’t be mushy.
|Vitamin A, C, E|
Vitamins B3, B1, B6, magnesium and copper
|June through September|
|Watermelon||If buying cut, pick the deepest red color flesh. If buying whole, it should be heavy for its size, ground spot best when creamy yellow not white, skin should be dull not shiny. If you thump it, listen for deep sound.||Lycopene|
Vitamin C and A, potassium, Vitamins B1 and B6
|Peak in May, June and July but available year round|
|Pomegranate||Ripe when heavy, skin should be firm and taut, deep red in color.||Antioxidants, Vitamin C, |
Recipes- juice or seeds
|August through December|
With all fruits, don’t forget to wash thoroughly before cutting even if you aren’t going to eat the skin such as melons. Dirt and bacteria can be “sliced through” and land inside the part you will eat. Many fruits also have pesticides on the skin that should be washed off.
After you cut your fruit, it is best to store in the refrigerator to retain freshness and nutritional value.
Fruits are a sweet and delicious part of our search to eat a rainbow and all contain a good variety of nutrients including water.
Recipes Using Fresh Fruit
Here are a few fruit recipes sure to get a smile from your family!
- 1 cup Watermelon, cubed
- 1 Kiwi, sliced
- Ice cubes as needed for thickness
- 1/2 cup Non-fat vanilla yogurt
- Mint leaf to garnish
- Blenderize all ingredients until smooth!
- Top with mint leaf.
- Makes 2 servings
- 1 mango, cubed
- 1/4 cup green pepper, diced
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- (optional) 1 Tablespoon diced jalepeno
- Mix all ingredients until well combined.
- Best when served covered and refrigerated for 30 minutes prior to serving.
- Delicious served over poached or grilled fish or pork.
- Serves 6
Do you have a great recipe you would like to share for your favorite fruit? Please feel free to share it with us.
If you have a family recipe that uses fresh fruit but you need a recipe renovation to make it a bit healthier for your family, please submit it using our contact page. We would love to help you make health a reality!