These days, many fresh fruits sitting on the shelves at the supermarket are imported from other states and countries. While this isn’t a bad thing per se (unlimited access to your favorite fruits is a definite perk), it does mean that certain fruits on the shelves are not in season and are not freshly picked at their optimal level of ripeness. Instead, many fruits are picked before they’re truly ripe and ripen en route to their destination. This results in a slight dip in flavor and nutritional profile. Here are some of the most popular fruits and the seasons in which they reach optimal freshness.
Why It’s Important to Choose In-Season Fruit
When fruit is freshly picked and in season, it’s much tastier and more nutritious. Due to the fact that there’s no need for long shipment times, in-season fruit is given just the right amount of time on the vine or tree to ripen to optimal freshness. When fruit is allowed to ripen naturally on the vine, it results in more nutrients being transferred into the fruit, improving the taste. On the other hand, out-of-season fruits are often treated with chemicals, gases, and heat processes to achieve a level of ripeness that just doesn’t compare to letting the fruit ripen naturally.
In addition, your wallet will thank you for buying in-season fruit. Due to the fact that stores don’t have to ship fruits long distances, they can charge a lot less for in-season fruit. That means reduced grocery costs just by buying the right fruits at the right times. You can also feel better about buying in-season fruit because you’re contributing to the local farming economy rather than that of a different country or state. Shopping at farmer’s markets in your area is a great way to ensure your money stays in the local economy.
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In-Season Fruits for Each of the Four Seasons
If you’re trying to each more fresh seasonal fruit to make the most of your grocery dollars and tastebuds, we’ve got you covered. Here are the most popular fruits that are in-season for each of the four seasons:
Spring brings a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables with it. In fact, it’s probably the season with the most varieties of in-season fruit. For instance, the bright red stalks of rhubarb signal the arrival of spring. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, kiwis are also in season in the spring. Honeydew melon also ripens to freshness in the spring. Bright and fresh, strawberries also reach optimal freshness in the spring. Cherries, pineapples, and apricots are also some of the most popular fruits that are in season in the spring.
The hottest season of the year, summer is a wonderful time for fresh fruit. Some of the world’s most popular fruits ripen in the summer. For instance, plums, peaches, and nectarines all ripen in the summertime. Certain berries, such as blackberries and raspberries are also in season in the summer. Watermelon reaches optimal freshness in the summer. Citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes, are also in-season in the summer.
Fall equates to harvest time for both fruits and vegetables. You’ll find a wide variety of fresh fruit that ripens in autumn. Hands down, the most popular fruit that ripens in the fall is apples. Cranberries, figs, and pears are another fruit in season in the fall. Grapes also ripen on the vine just in time for the harvest season. Key limes, some varieties of kumquats, passion fruit, and pomegranates are also in season in the fall cooler months.
You might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of varieties of fruit that are in season in the winter. Many types of citrus fruit ripen in the winter, bringing a bright and zesty flavor to the cold season, including clementines, grapefruit, oranges, some types of kumquats, pomelos, and tangerines. Dates and persimmons are also in-season in the winter.
Now that you know which fruits are best in which seasons, you can better plan your trips to the supermarket to stock up on your favorite fruits. You can even grab up more of your favorite fresh fruits at their ideal times of freshness and can or dry them for later use.