A stroll through a strawberry patch; stained-red fingers; a basket full of sweet and tart summer fruits. There is no better day than eating the fruits of your labor... or just eating fruits! Make sure to grab a big sun hat and lather on your sunscreen. Whether you're picking your fruits fresh from the patch or heading to your local farmers market, there are specific fruits that blossom in the summer heat!
Specific harvest dates will depend on your region's climate, so check out your state’s individual season. But peruse this list from A to Z to learn about the various fruits that are the juiciest during the summer season!
Apricots: These plump fruits can be harvested in late spring through mid-summer. Check out this fudge recipe that uses fresh apricots!
Blackberries: Make a day out of this and head to your local patch, because picking fresh berries is a fun summer activity the whole family can do. Ripe blackberries will be shiny and firmly plump. Rinse them right before using them in a recipe or eating them plain, because standing water will make them soggy faster. Add them to your next smoothie, like in this fiber-packed recipe!
Plums: The color of a plum should be an indicator that it's ready to go: any range from dark blue to royal purple are the colors you want to see. They should also feel heavy for their size and emit a sweet aroma.
Raspberries: Another berry that is fun to pick yourself! Raspberries are the most delicate of the berry family and are at their peak season around July. Look for full berries that are brightly colored (either red or golden or blackish-blue) and are not mushy. Everything goes better on a skewer with a sauce to dip in!
Rhubarb: This fruit pops up in early spring and is harvested throughout the summer. Rhubarb is a delicious ingredient in jams, jellies and salsas; check it out in this recipe! The stalks should feel somewhat heavy and have shiny skin.
Strawberries: The peak season for these berries is April through June, so snatch them up while they’re perfectly ripe! As with every berry, look for a full and plump fruit with vibrant colors!
Watermelons: Unlike the other fruits in the melon family, these guys won’t emit much of an aroma when they are ripe, but are the sweetest of the bunch. They should still feel heavy for their size, have a symmetrical body shape and a rich green color. Thump it with your knuckles; if it produces a dull sound, it’s ripe! Use your ripe watermelon and add a splash of vodka in this skinny martini recipe!
If you’re ever in doubt about whether your fruits are ripe, ask the farmer you bought it from or the employees in the produce section. Take advantage of the sun this summer, as these fleshy fruits that thrive in heat will likely make your next meal that much more healthy!
Boysenberries: Like blackberries, they should be plump and shiny when ripe.
Cherries: Most strains of cherries will be harvested anywhere from May to August. Sour cherries have a shorter season, usually around a week or two in the middle of June. Watch out for the pits! Spoil yourself with cherry chocolate chip ice cream.
Figs: The majority of figs are dried into a fruit that is nutritious and can be enjoyed all year round. They are a great source of potassium and dietary fiber. But the harvest season of figs, which grow best in warmer climates like California, is in mid- to late-summer.
Huckleberries: No, not blueberries, which they are commonly mistaken for; huckleberries are grown in the Pacific Northwest and are a true summer treat for those areas. Look for plump, blue fruits; they are the ripest!
Mangoes: This frustrating-to-cut-and-eat fruit is a treat for anyone willing to go through the process. They need tropical heat to grow, so you can find them in Florida and Hawaii. A ripe mango will give a little bit under your fingers; if it feels somewhat soft, it’s ready to go!
Melons: Melons of any kind should feel heavy for their size and have a “melony” smell (imagine that!). Many regions grow beautiful melons, but their harvest needs two to three months of heat and warm soil.
Nectarines: The younger, hairless brother of peaches, you can indulge in these juicy wonders from late June through early August! A little bit of give when you squeeze it is an indicator that it's ripe for the eating.
Peaches: A summer favorite! What’s better than the nectar from a peach running down your hand while you treat yourself to this lovely fruit on a hot summer evening? Look for fruits that are heavy for their size and give a little bit when squeezed. Their harvest is usually from May to early August. Click here to delight your tastebuds with a skinny peach crumble.