Summer fruit is delicious, but judging its readiness can be tricky -- it's often ripe before you need it or past its prime when you do. Here's what to keep in mind when choosing produce at the farmers' market or grocery store -- plus how to store it.
Credit: Aaron Dyer

Tomatoes & Avocados

Look for ripe or underripe fruits that yield when gently squeezed but aren't soft. Ripen them at room temperature, and never keep the fruits in the refrigerator -- they'll become mealy and flavorless.

Berries & Cherries

Purchase these when fragrant and vibrant in color. They can be refrigerated for up to a week without losing flavor and texture. They also freeze well -- just hull or pit the fruit before storing it.

Stone Fruit

Buy fruits like peaches and plums either underripe, or ripe and aromatic but still firm. Softness indicates mushy, bland flesh. Ripen at room temperature and store in the refrigerator, or slice and freeze them.


Store stone fruits (and avocados, too) in brown-paper bags to speed up the ripening process.


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