Summer Fruit Guide
How to select the best fruit of the summer season.
Cherries, peaches, raspberries and watermelon are healthy foods to satisfy your sweet tooth in the summer. This handy guide offers information on picking the best summer fruits and the nutritional benefits of each.
Whether you like them sweet or sour, there is only a brief window of time to enjoy fresh cherries. While sweet cherries are often sold fresh, most of the sour-cherry crop, also called "pie" cherries, is canned, dried or frozen.
What You Get: Cherries are rich in antioxidants: anthocyanidins, which bolster antioxidant defenses, and quercetin, which may help regulate blood pressure. They are also a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C.
Shopping Tips: Sweet cherries can be found in the produce section of most markets during cherry season. Sweet-cherry varieties include Bing, Rainier and Lambert.
Sour cherries, which are too tart to eat out of hand, are most often used as pie filling. Find them frozen, canned and dried in most supermarkets; they are more difficult to find fresh. Varieties include Early Richmond, Montmorency and Morello.
Select cherries that are firm, plump and shiny without soft spots or bruising.
Storage Tip: Store fresh cherries in the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchase.
Now that summer is here, get your fill of fresh peaches. Toss some in your morning yogurt or breakfast cereal, bake some into a pie or tart, experiment with savory recipes for main dishes or sides, or merely eat them on the go, juice running down your chin and, without a doubt, a smile on your face.
What You Get: Besides amazing flavor, peaches are packed with natural goodness from vitamins A, C and potassium. They’re also a good source of antioxidants, beta carotene (which gives them their deep yellow color) and flavonoids, which may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of some types of cancer and heart disease. Plus with only 60 calories each and plenty of fiber, they are a calorie-counter’s dream.
Shopping Tips: Choose peaches with a "peachy" scent, slightly sweet and flowery. Ripe peaches will give a little when gently pressed.
The red or blush color on the skin is a characteristic of variety, not ripeness.
Avoid any peaches that are overly green—they were picked too early and won’t ripen properly.
Never squeeze peaches, as they will bruise.
Storage Tip: If your peaches need ripening, set them in a single layer on the counter, not stacked, and allow to ripen for a day or so at room temperature. Once ripe, transfer them to the refrigerator and use within a week.
Pop a few juicy raspberries in your mouth and enjoy a sweet-sour sensation of summer anytime. Delicious unadorned, they’re easily adapted for sweet or savory dishes.