When Fruits Are in Season

Fruit

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

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While most fruits (and vegetables) are available at supermarkets year-round thanks to imports, choosing local, in-season fruits is a good way to get the most flavor and nutrients, support local businesses, and reduce the environmental impact of purchases. So whether it's at the grocery store or the farmer's market, here's what to look for when shopping for seasonal produce in the U.S.

Spring: March, April, and May

After the winter, where fresh fruit may not be in season, the spring is a welcome time for apricots, melons, and some berries. Classic combinations like strawberry rhubarb inspire fresh, vibrant dishes that liven up your meals after a long winter.

Apricots

Apricots tend to be a little soft to the touch when they're ripe. Choose apricots that are golden-orange in color and try to avoid the ones that are hard and greenish. If you do buy apricots that aren't quite ready, just keep them at room temperature so they can ripen a bit more. They don't last long, so eat them within a day or two.

Apricots
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Honeydew Melons

Honeydew melon
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Honeydews should feel heavy for their size with an unblemished rind and a greenish color. They may also feel waxy or even sticky to the touch. Keep them in the refrigerator until you cut them; after that, store the cut pieces in a covered container in the fridge.

Limes

Limes
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It's easy enough to find limes most of the year, but their best season is spring. Choose limes that have smooth, shiny skin and feel heavy for their size. Limes keep well and can stay in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Lychees

Canned lychees are available year-round, but you may find fresh ones in some grocery stores in the spring. Choose lychees that have firm red shells and feel heavy for their size. Store them in the refrigerator, where they'll keep for up to ten days.

Mangos

Mangos
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A ripe mango should have a sweet aroma, and the skin should give just a little bit when you squeeze the fruit, but not so much that you leave a dent. The color of the skin should be green, yellow, or red. Keep ripe, whole mangos in your refrigerator for up to a week. Once you cut the mango, it needs to be eaten within a day or two.

Pineapples

Pineapple
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Fresh pineapples should have dark green, firm leaves and feel heavy when you hold one. Avoid fruits with wilted leaves or dark or squishy spots on the skin. Pineapples can be kept at room temperature for a day or two, but once they're peeled and sliced, store the pieces in the fridge and eat them within a couple days.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb
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You'll rarely find fresh rhubarb in the grocery store at any other time of the year, so grab it while you can. If you can't find it at your local grocery store, farmer's markets are a good place to check. Rhubarb is ripe when the stalks are deep red, but avoid stalks that are limp or appear dehydrated. Keep your rhubarb in the refrigerator and use it within a few days.

Strawberries

Strawberries
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Sweet red strawberries are easy to find all year, but they're at their best during the spring (and summer) months. Choose berries that are firm but not solid and avoid strawberries that have mold, squishy spots, or look shriveled. Keep your berries refrigerated and eat them within a few days.

Visiting a farmer’s market is always a good way to find seasonal fruits and vegetables. You might find local flavors at their peak and discover new favorites.

Summer: June, July, and August

Apricots, honeydew melons, limes, lychees, and strawberries continue to be in season during the summer months. But you will also find a wide variety of fruits coming into season. Freezing fruit preserves its nutrients, so if you have a big bounty of summer fruits and enough storage space, you can freeze summer fruits to enjoy in the winter.

Asian Pears

Asian pears are at their peak in the summer, although you'll often see them at other times of the year. Choose pears that are firm to the touch without any dark spots. Asian pears keep their firm texture and last up to a week at room temperature or for three months when refrigerated.

Blackberries

Blackberries
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Blackberries are at their best during the summer months when they're shiny and dark in color. Look for berries that are not bruised or mushy. You don't want to see fluid leaking from the berries or any signs of mold. Keep blackberries in the refrigerator for up to a week, but don't wash them until you're ready to eat them.

Blueberries

Blueberries
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Here's another berry that's available year-round, but there's no denying they're bigger and better-tasting during the summer months—and likely less expensive. As with any berry, look for smooth skins with no sign of mold. Blueberries should be dark in color when they're fully ripe. Keep them in the refrigerator, unwashed, for up to two weeks.

Boysenberries

Boysenberries are a cross between blackberries and raspberries, so their color is darker than red raspberries, but not as dark as blackberries. Choose boysenberries that aren't moldy and have smooth, shiny skins. As long as they're not washed, they'll last for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Cantaloupe Melons

Cantaloupe
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It's hard to imagine a summer without cantaloupe melons. Choose melons that have firm, unbroken skin and feel heavy for their size. Avoid the ones that look like they're bruised. Store whole cantaloupe melons for up to one week. You'll need to refrigerate any peeled and sliced pieces and eat them within a few days.

Casaba Melons

These melons have pale green flesh and bright yellow skin when they're fully ripe. Choose casaba melons that are firm and without bruises or squishy parts. The stem end might feel slightly soft, which is fine. Store casaba melons at room temperature for a week and refrigerate melons that have been cut.

Cherries

Cherries
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Canned and frozen cherries are always around, but you'll find fresh cherries at their best during the summer months. Choose cherries that are deep red in color, with smooth, unbroken skins, and without bruises or blemishes. Cherries will stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to ten days.

Figs

Fresh figs are ready to eat in the summertime, but they don't last long. Choose figs with smooth, dry skin. They should be somewhat soft to the touch but not mushy. Put them in the refrigerator when you get home from the store and eat them within a day or two.

Grapes

Grapes
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Grapes have a very long season, starting in the summer, when you'll find several different varieties in the produce section. Choose plump grapes with no signs of bruising, mushy spots, or mold. Keep them in the refrigerator for up to ten days, or freeze them.

Nectarines

Nectarines
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Fresh nectarines are best in the summer months. Choose fruits that have smooth skin and are firm to the touch, but not too hard. Avoid nectarines that are bruised or mushy. You can keep firm nectarines at room temperature for a day or two or put them in the refrigerator. You'll need to eat them within two or three days.

Passion Fruits

Passion fruit
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Summer signals the beginning of passion fruit season, and this is when you might find some in your local grocery store. Choose passion fruits that have wrinkled skin and feel heavy in your hand. If the surface is smooth, then the fruit isn't ripe yet. But you can keep them at room temperature for a few days until fully ripened and then store them in the fridge.

Peaches

Peaches
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Fresh, fragrant peaches are ripe during the summer months. Choose fruits that have fuzzy skin and are firm to the touch but not too hard. Avoid peaches that are bruised or mushy. You can keep firm peaches at room temperature and eat them within two or three days.

Plums

Plums
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Fresh plums are sweet and tasty and easy to find in the produce section during the summertime. Choose plums that are plump with smooth skins. Avoid plums that are mushy or bruised. Keep plums at room temperature or refrigerate them and eat them within two or three days.

Raspberries

Raspberries
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Lovely but delicate raspberries are at their best during the summer months. Look for raspberries that are not bruised or mushy, and you don't want to see fluid leaking from the berries or any sign of mold. Keep raspberries in the refrigerator, but don't wash them until you're ready to eat them, which should be within a day or two.

Watermelon

Watermelon
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Watermelons are a summertime staple. Choose watermelons that are heavy and look for a creamy yellow spot on the rind. Keep whole watermelons at room temperature or cut them up and keep them in the refrigerator. Eat your watermelons within five or six days.

Another way to find seasonal produce is by joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture) share. By becoming a CSA member, you buy a share of a local farm’s seasonal harvest. This is a great way to support local farmers and try fresh, in-season local produce.

Fall: September, October, and November

Asian pears, grapes, and passion fruits stay in season, while mangos and pineapples come back into season during the fall months. Classic fall fruits like cranberries and pomegranates make an appearance as well.

Apples

Apples may be available year-round, but they are at their peak in the fall. Plus, you may be able to go and pick your own at a local orchard. Look for firm apples without bruising, cuts, or soft spots. Store them on the counter for five to seven days or unwashed in the fridge for six to eight weeks. Apples go brown after you cut them, but squeezing on some lemon juice might prevent that. You can store apple slices in the fridge for three to five days.

Cranberries

This is the time of year when tart and tangy cranberries are ready for your favorite fall recipes. Choose cranberries that are firm with glossy red skin. They'll keep for a long time as long as you refrigerate them. In fact, they're good for up to two months.

Key Limes

Little key limes are ready in the fall. Choose limes that have firm, shiny skin and feel heavy for their tiny size. Keep key limes in the refrigerator, where they'll stay fresh for up to two weeks.

Pears

Pears
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

You can find pears any time of year, but they're most flavorful in the fall. Choose pears that are firm with just a little softness near the stem. Keep firm pears at room temperature and move them to the refrigerator after a day or two so they don't over-ripen.

Pomegranates

Pomegranate
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Fresh pomegranates are perfect in fall dishes or as a healthy snack. Choose pomegranates that are firm and heavy for their size. Keep whole pomegranates in the fridge for up to two months until you're ready to remove the arils.

Winter: December, January, and February

Pomegranates, pears, and passion fruits continue to be in season during the winter. This is the time of year when citrus fruits hit the grocery aisles, providing a bit of sunshine for chilly, dark days.

Clementines

clementine

Isabelle Rozenbaum / Getty Images

Clementines are a popular citrus fruit available in season in the winter. Look for ones that are bright and smooth, without dull areas or broken skin. Avoid green clementines. They should feel heavy for the size, as light ones indicate they might be dried up. Clementines last on the counter for about a week and in the fridge for one to two weeks.

Grapefruits

Grapefruit
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Fresh grapefruits aren't ever hard to find, but they're most affordable during the winter months. Choose grapefruits that have smooth skin and are heavy for their size. Fresh, uncut grapefruits will last for a week at room temperature or two to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Kiwifruits

Kiwi
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Little kiwifruits are at their peak in the winter, so this is when they're most flavorful and affordable. Choose kiwifruits with fuzzy, unbroken skin. They should feel heavy for their size and somewhat soft. Keep them refrigerated, where they'll keep fresh for up to six weeks.

Oranges

Oranges
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

All kinds of oranges come into season during the winter months, including naval oranges, mandarin oranges, and tangerines. Look for oranges that smell sweet and fresh, have firm skin, and feel heavy for their size. Room temperature is fine for a day or two, but if you need to keep them longer, the refrigerator is where they'll stay fresh for up to two weeks.

Pomelos

Pomelo
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Fresh pomelos (also called pummelos) look like giant grapefruits, and you'll find them during the winter months. Choose pummelos that have smooth skin and are heavy for their size. Fresh, uncut pummelos will last for a week at room temperature or up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

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