It is summer time, which is the best time of the year to enjoy fruit. No other season offers as many delicious fruits at their peak of taste and freshness.

If you are not familiar with the overabundance of fresh summer fruits available, no need to worry. We’ve got a quick run down for you of some of the fruits that come into season over the summer months. Some are more prominent in the early summer months and some don’t come into their own until later in the summer, but all are delicious choices for you to try!

Apricots: These are delicious fresh and are also good dried or in curries, fried rice or granola. You can eat them on their own, halve then stuff then bake, or cook and puree to use in ice cream or mousse. Choose apricots that are deep yellow with a pink blush and no sign of green. They should be plump and firm.

Blackberries: Blackberries are fun to pick during the end of summer. You can rinse them then eat directly. Find berries that are firm, plump, and fully colored.

Cherries: Fiber containing cherries can be sweet or sharp. Sweet cherries are good to eat fresh but sharper varieties should be cooked. Look for green and flexible stems and avoid spots, bruises, and splits.

Gooseberries: Gooseberries can be eaten raw but are more often cooked for use in jellies and preserves. Look for the large, ripe berries that have a tawny blush.

Plums: Raw plums are delicious during the summer. Eat them at room temperature of chill them for salads or sorbets. There are many different varieties but you should look for plums that yield to slight pressure and are plump and heavy in size.

Raspberries: Raw raspberries are great for desserts and smoothies. You can also cook them for great jams, muffins, and pies. Always look for firm, plump and fully colored berries.

Strawberries: Strawberries are many people’s favorite summer fruit. They are great in fruit tarts, fruit salads, smoothies, and sorbets. They also can be cooked into delicious jams or pies. When selecting strawberries look for berries with a good red color and green, leafy hull. Avoid berries with spots of soft areas.

Watermelon: Another summer fruit favorite that is good for all occasions, especially parties. Look for a watermelon that yields to slight pressure at the stem end with a sweet scent. Avoid melons that are very soft.

If you are looking for a great fruit salad recipe, try this one that utilizes the fresh fruit summer produces:

Minted Fruit Salad

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
8 cups cut up assorted fresh fruit
Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except fruit; stir until sugar dissolves. Place fruit in large shallow dish; pour lemon juice over. Cover, chill 3 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate leftovers.

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