What's In Season This Summer?

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What's In Season This Summer?
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What's In Season This Summer?

Many types of fruits and vegetables reach their peak during the warm weather months. Find out what's in season during the summer, how to select produce for ripeness and flavor and the best way to keep them fresh.


This bushy, fragrant herb comes in several varieties like Lemon basil and Thai basil, but the most common is sweet basil with its broad leaves and bright color. Basil grows best in the summer when there’s plenty of sunlight and warm weather. To keep basil fresh longer, store it in the original plastic container inside the refrigerator for up to a week. Freshly picked leaves should be rinsed, gently wrapped in paper towel and stored in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge.

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White corn and yellow corn are the most popular varieties, and they are in season from May to September. When shopping for corn, look for bright green husks that are not dried out, brown silk and plump kernels. As soon as corn is picked, its sugar starts converting to starch; enjoy fresh-picked corn immediately or store them in the refrigerator for up to two days for the best taste.

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Eggplant, also known as aubergine, can differ in size, shape and color, but the most popular variety of this fleshy vegetable has a deep purple color, pear-like shape and spongy, slightly bitter taste. Eggplant tastes best during their peak in mid to late summer. Look for unwrinkled, shiny skin and a feeling of heaviness for their size.

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Ridged, fuzzy okra pods are a traditional ingredient of Southern cooking and grow best in warm weather. Okra is available all year long in the South, but grows from July to September in most other areas. Choose smaller no larger than two to three inches for tenderness.

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There are more than 100 varieties of plums available in the U.S., with the Japanese varieties producing fruit as early as May (and peaking in August) and the European varieties ready for harvesting in the fall. Ripe plums will look plump and give slightly to gentle pressure.

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Sweet, tart raspberries are a quintessential summer fruit, and they are best from June through August. These berries are delicate due to their hollow core, so make sure to avoid bruised or crushed fruit and wash them just before serving.

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Bite into a succulent summer-ripened tomato and you’ll notice a big difference in its taste and texture. The growing season varies throughout the country but generally peaks during late summer. Heirloom varieties come in an assortment of shapes, sizes and colors.

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In season from May to October, fresh blueberries have a deep purple or blue color and should look firm and plump. Store them for up to ten days in the refrigerator.

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In most parts of the country, the season for freshly picked cherries only lasts about one month, which is usually July. There are several varieties available, from large, black Bing cherries to sweet pink and yellow Royale Annes.

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The season for popular varieties of cucumbers, like English, Armenian and Kirby, peaks in the summer. Look for bright green, firm cucumbers free from soft spots. Plastic-wrapped cucumbers can be stored in the fridge for about one week.

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Green Beans

Peak season for green beans, also called string beans, starts in May and ends in October. Beans should be slender, bright and crisp, and when tightly wrapped in plastic can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.

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Peach season runs from May through September and peaks in July and August. The sweetest peaches will have a warm hue and no green undertones, and a wide stem cavity indicates that the fruit was picked when ripe.

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Summer Squash

Abundant in late summer, basic summer squashes like yellow, zucchini and pattypan have pale flesh and mild flavor. Smaller squash will be tenderer, and choose ones with bright, smooth skin. Squash can be stored in a plastic bag for up to five days in the refrigerator.

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You can find several varieties of this sweet, refreshing fruit available at your grocery store during the summer months, with the peak of its season taking place in August. New cantaloupe-sized hybrid watermelons are also available. While it may look unsightly, a yellow patch on the watermelon’s underside is a sign that it has sat long enough to ripen.

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Sweet, honey-like flavor and sticky flesh make figs a decadent summer treat. Figs have two seasons, a short one in early summer and the main crop from late summer through fall, and are best enjoyed within one or two days of buying them.

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Bell Peppers

Colorful and crisp, bell peppers compliment any summer dish. Bell peppers are in their peak during the fall and summer. While these peppers can vary in color and size, the best are glossy, and without wrinkles or other blemishes. When placed in a produce bag and in the refrigerator, bell peppers can last up to a week.

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This sweet and tart fruit with bright color can be prepared in a variety of ways. Apricots peak season is during early summer, from June to around the middle of July. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.

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Key Lime

What says summer like Key Lime Pie? Luckily, key limes are in season during the summer months. To get the best taste from your limes, choose those with smooth skin, yellow-green in color, and slightly heavy for their size. When refrigerated, they can last for up to 2 weeks.

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Summer runs from June to September, and a variety of fruits and vegetables reach the peak of their growing season during these warm weather months. What may be available to you locally depends on the climate, and harvest times differ from region to region. Be on the lookout for ripe berries, juicy melons and crisp greens at the market.

Some fruits and vegetables aren't in season for very long (in fact, a certain rose-hued fruit is only available fresh-picked for about one month), so stock up! Learn what to look for when buying them and how best to store them, so you can make the most of this season's harvest.

Check out our slideshow above to discover 15 foods that are in season in the summer.

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