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Eating in Season - Spring & Summer Fruits and Veggies

Updated on July 5, 2011

Spring Fruits and Vegetables


  • Apricots should be slightly soft, but unbruised.
  • Ripe apricots are fragrant and golden orange.


  • Look for artichoke with compact head and ripe green color.


  • Buy bright green stalks.
  • Tips should be closed and compact.


  • Gently squeeze an avocado in the palm of your hand to see if there's a little give.
  • Solid avocados take 2-3 days to ripen at home.


  • Healthy-looking tops are an indication of freshness.
  • Carrots should be crisp, and not look tired or limp.

Collard Greens

  • Fresh collards have a dark green color and feel vibrant and firm
  • Avoid wilted or yellowed leaves.

Fava Beans

  • Find firm pods without many markings.


  • Ripe mangoes' skins are more orange/red than green.
  • Squeeze gently in the palm of the hand to determine ripeness.


  • Avoid dried out morels, as they spoil quickly.
  • Morels will last at most two days, refrigerated.

Mustard Greens

  • Buy fresh-looking and crispy greens.
  • Check for yellowing spots or wilting.

New Potatoes

  • New potatoes only last a few days, and are not as hardy as the regular sort.


  • Sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, and check for firmness.
  • Pineapples cannot be ripened at home.



  • Avoid dried-out or yellowing-stemmed spinach.


  • Pick fragrant, slightly soft strawberries.
  • See "Rhubarb"

Sugar Snap/Snow Peas

  • Should be bright green when ripe.
  • Make sure they're not limp, and feel like they'd have a snap.

Summer Fruits and Vegetables


  • Buy beets with greens still attached.
  • Greens should be colorful and not wilted.


  • Look for dark, plump berries.
  • Lift container to check for mold in the bottom.


  • As with all berries, check container for mold.


  • Fresh broccoli has a compact head and dark green color.


  • Sort through cherries by hand.
  • Pick mold-free, plump cherries with vibrant color.


  • A green husk, tight around the cob, indicates freshness.
  • Eat as soon as possible after shucking.


  • Avoid limp or bruised cucumbers.


  • Choose firm, unblemished eggplants.
  • Use within a few days of purchase.

Green Beans

  • Avoid picking dried-out beans.
  • Use quickly, since they don't keep long.


  • Find nectarines soft to the touch.
  • Check for bruises and/or green spots.


  • Pick peaches without bruises or marks.
  • Ripe peaches will give to gentle pressure.


  • Ripe plumbs feel plump and not too hard.


  • Raspberries should be plump and deep red.
  • Look for squashed berries inside containers.

Summer Squash

  • Check firmness and look for blemishes.


  • Look for firm, bright, strong-smelling tomatoes.
  • Never refrigerate, as this destroys taste and texture.


  • Ripe watermelon is yellowish on the underside.
  • A good watermelon has a dried-out stem; a green stem indicates under-ripeness.


  • Select shiny, blemish-free zucchini.


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