Fruits: Summer Fruit Frenzy (cont.)
Apricots (available mid-May to mid-August): Buy plump apricots with as much golden orange color as possible. If not yet ripe, put in a loosely closed paper bag and check daily. Once ripe, refrigerate in bag for up to two days.
Berries (available June-August): Don't buy baskets with bruised or leaking fruits -- turn over to see if there are any moldy fruits at the bottom. Choose plump, firm, berries. Once you bring them home, cover and keep refrigerated. Use within a few days.
Cantaloupes (available May-September): Should "give" when pressed gently and the creamy colored netting should completely cover the melon. Store at room temperature for a few days, then refrigerate and use as soon as possible.
Cherries (available May-August): Should be bright and glossy, ranging from deep red to black in color. Avoid sticky fruits. Refrigerate; use within a few days.
Grapes (available June-February): Choose plump, well-colored grapes that are firmly attached to green stems. They won't become sweeter over time so there's no need to hold for ripening. Refrigerate and use within a week.
Honeydew (peak season June-October): Avoid stark white or greenish rinds; look for creamy or yellowish-white rind with a velvety feel. Keep at room temperature for a few days, then refrigerate until eaten.
Mangos (peak May-August): Avoid buying mangos with grayish skin, pitting, or black spots. The red and yellow colors on a mango's skin increase as it ripens. Keep at room temperature until soft, then refrigerate until eaten.
Peaches and nectarines (peak season June-September): Fruit should be firm with a slight softening along the "seam" line. Avoid buying green or green-tinged fruits and any that are hard or bruised. Keep at room temperature to soften, then refrigerate and eat as soon as possible.
Plums (peak season June-September): Keep at room temperature until they yield gently to pressure.
Strawberries (peak season April-June): Choose strawberries that are fresh, bruise free, and bright red. Refrigerate with leafy caps attached; eat as soon as possible.
Watermelon (peak season May-August): It's difficult to predict the ripeness of uncut melons, but in general, choose firm, smooth melons with a yellowish or creamy-white underside. Keep at room temperature or refrigerate until needed.
Originally published August 22, 2003.
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