Fruits of Summer

Fruits of Summer

Apricots

Purchasing and storing

  • Do not purchase apricots with any green color to the skin—ripe apricots are firm and plum or bright orange-gold in color
  • Choose apricots that yield to gentle pressure, and with smooth and velvety skin
  • Ripen apricots that are not quite ripe in a paper bag at room temperature
  • Store ripe apricots in the refrigerator for 1–2 days

 

Nutrition information

  • One medium apricot contains 18 calories, 0 grams (g) protein, 0 g fat, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 91 milligrams (mg) potassium, 34 micrograms (mcg) vitamin A, and 3.5 mg vitamin C

 

Uses

  • Best when eaten at room temperature
  • Broil, grill, or poach
  • Use in place of nectarines or peaches in recipes
  • Serve with poultry

 

Other facts

  • If you are allergic to aspirin, you should avoid eating apricots

 

Domestic season

  • Mid-May through mid-August

 

Cherries

Purchasing and storing

  • Look for plump, firm cherries
  • Keep cherries cool, not at room temperature
  • Choose cherries that are 1″ inch or more in diameter, hard, and appropriately colored

–  Bing cherries—almost black in color

–  Lambert cherries—bright crimson

–  Queen Anne cherries—mostly yellow

  • Select cherries that still have green stems attached
  • Store cherries in the refrigerator, wrapped, for up to 1 week
  • Do not wash cherries before storing
  • Inspect and remove cherries that are spoiled before storing, because the rot can spread to the other fruit 

 

Nutrition information

  • 1 cup (C) of pitted sour cherries contains 78 calories, 2 g protein, 0 g fat, 19 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 268 mg potassium, 99 mcg vitamin A, and 16 mg vitamin C
  • 1 C of pitted sweet cherries contains 91 calories, 2 g protein, 0 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 322 mg potassium, 4 mcg vitamin A, and 10 mg vitamin C

 

Uses

  • Eat sweet cherries by themselves or use in salads and fruit cups
  • Use sour cherries in tarts, pies, and preserves
  • Make chilled cherry soup, which is quite refreshing in the summer heat

 

Domestic season

  • End of May through early-mid August, depending on variety

 

Mangoes

Purchasing and storing

  • Choose ripe mangoes, which should yield slightly to pressure (its red blush increases as it ripens)
  • Avoid mangoes that have an overabundance of black freckles on the skin, although some are normal and acceptable
  • Ripen mangoes at room temperature
  • Place mangoes in a paper or plastic bag to speed ripening
  • Store ripe fruit in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2–3 days 

 

Nutrition information

  • One mango contains 135 calories, 1 g protein, 1 g fat, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 323 mg potassium, 79 mcg vitamin A, and 57 mg vitamin C

 

Uses

  • Eat when slightly chilled for best flavor
  • Serve with yogurt, in smoothies, on rice pudding, or with angel food cake, but also excellent when eaten by itself
  • Serve mango puree with fish 

 

Domestic season

  • Florida mangoes are available from May through August, with peak season in June and July

 

Melons

Purchasing and storing

  • Choose melons that are symmetrically shaped and free of cracks or soft spots
  • Look for a bit of stem at the end of watermelons, but no stem should remain when selecting other melons
  • Disregard the theory of thumping and shaking melons to determine ripeness
  • Select honeydew melon that is a pale creamy yellow, with tiny freckles on the skin
  • Follow these tips when purchasing a watermelon:

–  Choose one that has a moderately shiny rind and a waxy bloom covering it

–  Select one with a bottom that is yellow, not green-white

–  Do not choose one that has a green stem still attached

–  Avoid buying cut watermelon that has white seeds, which is a sign of immaturity

  • Store uncut melon at room temperature for 2–4 days, so it can reach full ripeness, and then store in refrigerator within 2 days 

 

Nutrition information

  • 1 C of cantaloupe balls contains 60 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 14 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 473 mg potassium, 299 mcg vitamin A, and 65 mg vitamin C
  • 1 C of honeydew balls contains 64 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 404 mg potassium, 5 mcg vitamin A, and 32 mg vitamin C
  • 1 C of watermelon balls contains 46 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 12 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 172 mg potassium, 43 mcg vitamin A, and 13 mg vitamin C

 

Uses

  • Eat raw, sliced, in pieces, or balls
  • Add chopped mint to cut melon
  • Blend cantaloupe with wine or orange juice to make a melon soup
  • Pickle melon rinds 

 

Other facts

  • Cantaloupes are actually muskmelon
  • True cantaloupes are grown in Europe and are not generally exported to the United States 

 

Domestic season

  • Watermelon—March through August
  • Cantaloupe—peak season June through August
  • Honeydew—peak season June through October

 

Peaches

Purchasing and storing

  • Select peaches that are slightly soft and free of bruises
  • Do not choose green peaches, which were picked when they were unripe and will not become sweet, even as their color improves
  • Know that the amount of pink- or red-colored blush on the peach is not a characteristic of ripeness, but of variety
  • Yellow-fleshed varieties, such as Elberta, Redhaven, and Halford, contain more beta-carotene than the lighter colored varieties
  • Store between 65° F–70° F to ripen peaches within 2–4 days
  • Store ripened peaches in the refrigerator for 3–4 days 

 

Nutrition information

  • 1 medium peach contains 38 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 186 mg potassium, 16 mcg vitamin A, and 7 mg vitamin C

 

Uses

  • Eat fresh and unadorned
  • Use in many meat and chicken dishes, broiled or poached and served warm
  • Make pies and cobblers
  • Combine peaches and peach yogurt to make a peach smoothie
  • Find a recipe and make peach preserves 

 

Domestic season

  • April through mid-October, peaking in July and August

 

Pineapple

Purchasing and storing

  • Disregard the theories that thumping a pineapple or pulling the crown leafs are reliable ways to measure for ripeness
  • Look for firm fruit that seems heavy for its size and has fresh-looking green leaves
  • Choose a pineapple with a dry base
  • Leave pineapple at room temperature for 1–2 days for best results
  • Store ripened pineapple in the refrigerator for 3–5 days
  • Put cut-up pineapple in plastic storage containers and store in refrigerator for 6–7 days

 

Nutrition information

  • 1 C of diced pineapple contains 74 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 20 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 178 mg potassium, 5 mcg vitamin A, and 56 mg vitamin C

 

Uses

  • Serve as is or broiled
  • Use in salads
  • Bake with sweet potatoes
  • Serve on top of pizza
  • Add to stir-fry
  • Place on skewers or grill slices
  • Never use fresh pineapple in gelatin salads, because it contains an enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting
  • Wait to mix pineapple with cottage cheese or yogurt until just before serving
  • Use pineapple as a meat tenderizer or for marinades 

 

Domestic season

  • Peak season March through June

 

Strawberries

Purchasing and storing

  • Choose berries with a deep, uniform red color and intact green caps
  • Do not sweeten berries after picking
  • Purchase strawberries that are dry and firm
  • Remove any bruised or rotten berries from the container before storing
  • Keep strawberries refrigerated
  • Never rinse or remove the green cap from strawberries before storing
  • Store strawberries, if possible, on a large sheet, no more than 2 deep and cover the tray
  • Use within 2–3 days of purchase 

 

Nutrition information

  • 1 cup of strawberries contains 53 calories, 1 g protein, 1 g fat, 13 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 254 mg potassium, 2 mcg vitamin A, and 98 mg vitamin C

 

Uses

  • Use in salad
  • Serve with cereal
  • Mix with yogurt or make strawberry smoothies
  • Add chopped berries to pancakes, waffles, or muffin batter for extra flavor 

 

Other facts

  • Ounce for ounce, strawberries contain more vitamin C than oranges
  • Peak season April through July

 

Domestic season

 

 

References and recommended readings

University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. Selecting fresh fruits and vegetables, 2005. Available at: http://food.unl.edu/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=6e405311-7f02-4e6c-b6f0-0471cad98d72&groupId=4091401. Accessed April 28, 2012.

 

University of Tennessee Extension. A guide to buying fresh fruits and vegetables. Available at: https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP527.pdf. Accessed April 28, 2012.

 

US Dept of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. What’s in the food you eat search tool, 1.0. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7783. Accessed April 28, 2012. 

 

 

Review Date 5/12

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