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How to Pick your Summer Produce

Summer Produce

Produce can be the best way to enjoy summer. Not only is the produce fresh and ripe but it is also in season just about everywhere, and can be enjoyed straight from the garden.

Video Overview:

Here are some great tips for picking your summer produce, whether the produce is coming from your backyard or the grocer.

If you don’t have a garden, pick up your produce at the farmer’s market or a summer produce stand for wonderful fresh foods.


There are a few ways to pick a watermelon. The first is selecting based on color and shape. The melon should have no dents or flat sides or dull finish. It should be shiny. It should feel heavy for its size, and be hollow sounding when given a light knock.

Watermelon can sit unsliced for about a week and sliced for 4-5 days in a fridge.

Cantaloupe & Honeydew:

A rind that is pale yellow (no dark-green areas). The melons should be even all around, and slightly hefty. The stem should smell fruity and sweet and the melon, when inspected should show signs of bee stings. These bee stings are signs that the melon is ripe.

Cantaloupe and Honeydew have the same ripening time tables and the same sliced shelf life.

Plums, Nectarines & Peaches:

These fruits should be vibrant and when squeezed lightly should yield just a little. Plums won’t have much of a scent, but nectarines and peaches are fragrant. No fuzz or mold spots should be visible.

Should keep for a few days outside of the fridge for a few days and up to 5 in the fridge.’

Cherries & Berries:

Cherries and berries should be plump with no blemishes, dark fuzzy spots or mold between them. Cherries and Blueberries aren’t fragrant, but, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries “really smell like the fruit”

Remove them from the containers and discard any mushy berries. Line containers with paper towels to keep them from going bad.  Refrigerate for a week and wash before serving.

Summer ProduceTomatoes:

This fruit should be vivid with smooth, shiny skin and bright green tops.  Surprisingly heavy,  and firm with an herbal smell is the best pick.

Keep them outside of the refrigerator – as this zaps their flavor. Keep them on the counter, but out of direct sunlight. If on the vine, keep them there until needed.

Summer Squash:

Smooth, flawless skin but small to medium size are the perfect pick. When overgrown the squash can lose its flavor and seeds become hard and overwhelming.

Grab an armful. They will last 2 weeks in the fridge and even longer if placed into a plastic sealable bag.


Fresh, uncut silks in a bright green husk. Cut silks shows that rot may have been trimmed off.  Husks should smell subtly sweet and grassy.  Peel back just a little to reveal plump, bright kernels.

Put them in the fridge for up to a week with the husks in tact.

Keep in mind that when picking the best fresh summer produce, you can use much of it in other summer recipes such as our easy camping recipes and skinny summer recipes. And, for more summer produce ideas and picking tips, visit this Summer Produce Guide.

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