A Sweet Guide to Summer's Best Fruits
Take a moment to revisit a few of your fondest summer memories. Perhaps it's helping Mom make her famous cherry pie for the annual family picnic, or picking blueberries and popping one too many into your mouth along the way. Maybe you're remembering a favorite trip to the beach, sand on your skin, and a juicy slice of watermelon in your hand. Whatever memory you've drummed up, chances are its familiar sights, smells, and tastes include tastes of summer fruits at their peak.
From berries and melons to peaches and plums, there are so many of nature's sweet treats worth celebrating this season—and we're here to share the fruits to enjoy right now. Ahead, we're outlining the summer's best fruits, as well as sharing the best times to buy each type of produce and the proper way to store your favorites. When the season starts to wind down, you'll want to keep our guide to freezing summer produce close by, plus save these clever ways on making it last (hello, jamming and canning!).
While we'd argue that ripe, seasonal fruit is best enjoyed on its own, we know that you might crave something different from time to time. That's why we're also sharing dozens of tasty recipes sure to inspire you all season long. With just five ingredients, you can turn your favorite summer fruits into over 20 delightful desserts, including refreshing granita, light and airy pound cakes, and a foolproof crumble. Add a pitcher of our easy-to-make summer sangria to the picnic or party table or serve a plate of rainbow-colored fruit salad. As for the best berry-filled tarts and pies? We've outlined a number of possibilities bound to appeal to your tastebuds.
Since they're in season for just under two months (from mid-May to early July), don't miss out on these golden goodies at your local market this summer. Look for deep orange colors and a fairly plump shape that yields to a gentle pressure. Then, wow a crowd with our simple-yet-impressive apricot pistachio tart, swirl them around in brown butter for a decadent topping, or dice them up into a zesty salsa.
Did you know these mini stone fruits are one of Martha's favorite summer produce picks? Their season is rather short—June to August for sweet varieties, and just June through July for sour cherries—but the ways in which you can enjoy them are many! Enjoy sweet cherries out of hand or turn them into sweet toppings and decadent pie fillings. For a savory bite, pair them with cheeses and meats.
These versatile berries make for a great addition to savory and sweet dishes alike. Try them in chutney to pair with pork medallions, toss them into a simple Blackberry-Cantaloupe salad, or combine them with your favorite stone fruits, like plums, for a stunning galette. Packing a picnic? These blackberry-raspberry hand pies are sure to delight.
Add these small berries by the handful to breakfast yogurt, lunch salads, and all kinds of desserts. They shine in just about any kind of sweet treat, from homemade sherbert and our crowd-pleasing slab pie to these oh-so-fluffy Dutch pancakes and show-stopping cupcakes. Another blueberry bonus: They're jam-packed with antioxidants.
Few things capture the spirit of summer like biting into a perfectly ripe, juicy peach. At their peak in July and August, these favorite stone fruits are delicious in a pie or cobbler, sliced and grilled atop a pizza, as a fruity stuffing for pork loin, or even infused in a bit of white-wine vinegar for a lively summer condiment.
This fuzz-free cousin of the peach is beloved for its sweet fragrance, heady juice, and it's smooth skin. Eat them as is or use in any of a slew of delicious recipes—they can be used pretty much interchangeably in recipes that call for peaches. Until ready to eat or cook, be sure to handle them with care and pop any ripe ones in the refrigerator to extend their life.
When in season (May through October), plums can be spotted in a spectrum of rich hues from dark reds (likely domestic varieties) to blues, greens, and purples (European varieties like the Italian prune plum). Enjoy them with paired with apricots and nectarines in a gorgeous upside-down cake or dress them up for a party platter with honey-drizzled soft cheeses and toasted almonds.
From market staples, like honeydew and cantaloupe, to more exotic varieties, like the Israeli hybrid, banana-flavored Galia, there's so much to love about summer melons. Choosing a ripe one will depend on the variety. Be sure to bring home watermelon for slicing, juicing, and definitely for a savory melon salad.