How to Select and Store Summer Fruits
- To select summer fruits (peaches, nectarines, and apricots) at the store, look for firm fruits that are brightly colored and free of bruises or major blemishes.
- The background of peaches and nectarines should be light yellow to bright orange, rather than green.
- Tree-ripened fruits have the best eating qualities.
- Summer fruits may need a day or two after purchase to soften and finish ripening. Leave them at room temperature until they soften to your preference. A brown paper bag with some ventilation can help ripen summer fruits quickly.
- Shriveled skin on summer fruits is a sign the fruit is dry and deteriorating. You don’t want these fruits!
- Refrigerate ripe peaches, nectarines, and apricots and eat within 7 days. Be sure to check the quality of your fruit often, as refrigeration can dry out the fruit.
How To Freeze Summer Fruits
Freezing peaches, nectarines, and apricots is a great way to enjoy the fruits when they are not in season. Frozen summer fruits are great for including in smoothies, or unthawing and eating with cottage cheese or yogurt. Here are two ways to freeze your favorite summer fruits:
- First, wash, halve/slice, and remove the pits of the summer fruit you selected. The fruit should be ripe and not too soft. If you wish, peel the fruits quickly by boiling them in water for a minute.
- Brush the fruit with a water-ascorbic acid mixture, or a lemon juice and water mixture. This prevents the fruit from browning.
- Then, choose your freezing method: syrup pack, dry pack, or your own method.
- Syrup Pack: Mix 2 cups of sugar in 3 cups of cold water in pot and bring to a boil. Remove and let cool. Then, brush the fruit with the syrup. Pack fruit into freezer safe bags. Remove excess air. Freeze. These slices will remain good for 6 or more months.
- Dry Pack: Place summer fruits in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze until solid. Remove and pack into freezer safe bags.
Ideas for Using Summer Fruits
- Can peaches or nectarines to enjoy the fruits during the winter months.
- Dried peaches, nectarines and apricots are a great snack.
- Grill summer fruits and enjoy with a dollop of ice cream for a delicious dessert.
- Turn your summer fruits into preserves or a tasty jam.
- Slice a peach or nectarine and include in a delicious smoothie to start your day. Add spinach or kale to get a serving of veggies too.
- Use peaches or nectarines to sweeten up a green salad.
- Make a classic dessert with peaches and nectarines like cobbler or crisp.
- Serve kids cottage cheese and peaches for a tasty and health snack.