Now that the season of farmers markets is upon us, there’s no better time to explore far and wide the expansive world of fruits, whether that means slicing up an unusual varietal of apple or taking a chance on something you’ve never tried before, like rambutan or cactus pear.
As fruits abound, however, it also means that it’s time to brush up on your methods of cleaning and preparation, as well as the best practices for creating enviable fruit pies all summer long.
To keep your fruits fresh for as long as possible, be careful of how and where you store them — berries, for instance, will stay fresh for much longer with the help of a vinegar bath.
If you consider yourself quite the fruit connoisseur, don’t fear: We’ve also included a few methods of cutting that require some elevated knife skills.
Finally, although we do want you to pick your produce carefully, we also don’t want to discredit their inner beauty. If you see a misshapen mango on your farmer’s market run, bring it home. Ugly fruits need love too.
You’re Buying Them Wrong
Although it might feel impossible to go wrong with fruit in the summer, that’s not quite the case. For example, don’t just buy blueberries because they’re a nice shade of blue; instead, look for a silvery bloom — the natural waxy coating that protects each berry.
Go dark for cherries, but watch out for dried or shriveled stems to avoid cherries that are past their prime.
Pick apples by their bright color and be careful of mealy flesh, which can affect how willing your family is to eat fruit in the future. Finally, if you smell a hint of vinegar in your pineapple, it’s too ripe.
You’re Storing Them Wrong
Although you might be inclined to think of the vegetable crisper in your refrigerator as a general storage area for all produce, fruits and vegetables should not kept together. That’s because many fruits produce ethylene gas, a naturally occurring ripening hormone that can speed up the time it takes produce to spoil.