I love fruit and when it is in season even better. It seems as if everything has it's own season. I thought I might share a few ways to work with fruit both in season and not. A good friend of mine who has been in culinary school as well as worked in the fruit department of our local grocery store helped me with some great tips.
The fresher the better the old saying goes. For the most part it is very true. With modern farming, processing and delivery finding freshness in our fruit is reachable. The problem to me is how it was processed , what method they used. I also always check to make sure that the canned fruit I purchase hast a light syrup. You can also talk to your produce manager to see when delivery day are to ensure that your veggies have a delicious quality about them.
Remember that good produce does not have to be picture perfect. While it should have the characteristic color, shape and size bananas for example may have a fuller flavor if they are speckled. Fruits and vegetables that do not look perfect may not show up in your grocery store but they will be found else where and may cost less as well.
Before you buy use your senses to find the best fruit available. Feeling a piece of fruit may tell you ripeness, smelling a fruit should tell you something about taste as well. A strong scent normally means they are ripening as they should and fruit to soft is too ripe.
When fruit is in season search out your source of local produce You may find a stand along the road or many times there are farmers that have farm stands where the fruit grows. Fresh fruit often has the better taste than those shipped. Grocery stores often have local fruit for sale as well. Here is where being friends with your produce manager has its perks. Farmers markets are often a great place to purchase local produce
If you do not know where fruit stands are I have a day trip idea for you. Take a drive on any afternoon and most likely you will find farm families ready to sell their produce. Picked just from home right from the garden, tree or vine. In our area there are many pick your own fruit business and this is not only a good family event but also a way to stock up.
Buy in season. Here is a short list of what you will find in what season
Summer: apricots, blueberries, cherries, eggplant, fresh herbs, green beans, hot peppers, melon, okra, peaches, plums, sweet corn, sweet peppers, tomatoes, zucchini.
Fall: apples, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, grapes, kale, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, winter squash, yams.
Winter: beets, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, daikon radishes, onions, rutabagas, turnips, winter squash.
Spring: asparagus, blackberries, green onions, leeks, lettuces, new potatoes, peas, red radishes, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, watercress.