Save Big on Groceries: The Insider’s Guide To Buying Fruit in Season

Friendly female worker assisting customer in choosing muskmelon

How To Buy Fruit in Season

eating fruit
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Buying fruit in season, even more so than vegetables, allows you to save money based on the increased supply and obtain better taste.

The selection of fruit in the supermarket has changed over the past few years, and in most cases, this has led to a better variety, selection, and freshness factor.

Fruit is now available from around the world and caters to the diverse nature of our population, featuring items that weren't available locally just a short time ago. Local produce is featured in season at your supermarket, ensuring top freshness and lower prices if you take advantage.

Here are some hints that can save money and make your fruit selections top-notch.

Apples

Honeycrisp apples
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long, but best in fall for some varieties.

How to Choose: Firm, no soft spots or bruises.

Apples are a versatile fruit known for their crisp texture and wide range of flavors. They can be enjoyed fresh, used for baking, or even turned into applesauce. While they are available year-round, the best-tasting apples are typically found in the fall, thanks to the cooler weather that enhances their sweetness and flavor. When selecting apples, look for ones that are firm, free from bruises, and have a vibrant color. They should feel heavy for their size, indicating juiciness and freshness.

Apricots

bowl of fresh ripe apricots with leaves on a wooden table
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: June through August is the peak season.

How to Choose: Firm, plump, and deep orange in color.

Apricots are a delightful summer fruit, prized for their juicy, sweet-tart flesh and velvety skin. Their peak season occurs from June through August, when they are at their ripest and most flavorful. When choosing apricots, opt for firm, plump, and deep orange in color. Avoid any with soft spots or greenish undertones, as they may not be fully ripe.

Bananas

Ripe bananas isolated on brown texture pattern background
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long.

How to Choose: Green if not eating immediately; otherwise, yellow, possibly with brown flecks; no bruises.

Bananas are a year-round staple and one of the most consumed fruits worldwide. They are typically available in abundance throughout the year. When picking bananas, consider your preferred ripeness. If you plan to eat them right away, choose those that are yellow with possibly a few brown flecks. For a longer shelf life, opt for slightly green bananas. In any case, avoid bananas with bruises, as they can indicate overripeness.

Blackberries

Delicious italian dessert panna cotta with berry sauce, fresh berries and mint on gray background.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Summer through early fall.

How to Choose: Firm and plump berries with rich color; no mold or juice in the container; will not ripen after picking.

Blackberries are a summer delight, known for their sweet-tart flavor and vibrant color. They are in peak season from summer through early fall. When selecting blackberries, pick ones that are firm, plump, and richly colored. Ensure there is no sign of mold or juice in the container, as these can indicate spoilage. Blackberries will not ripen after picking, so choose ripe ones at the store.

Blueberries

Young hispanic man holding blueberries doing ok sign with fingers, smiling friendly gesturing excellent symbol
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: June through August.

How to Choose: Firm, plump, deeply colored berries; no soft spots or mold; will not ripen after picking; New Jersey berries are considered the best in the US.

Blueberries are small, sweet, and packed with antioxidants. They reach their peak season from June through August. When buying blueberries, look for those that are firm, plump, and deeply colored. Be sure to inspect them for any soft spots or signs of mold, as these can be indicators of aging or spoilage. Keep in mind that New Jersey blueberries are often considered the best in the United States.

Cherries

shutterstock 2169121309 scaled e1691471013620
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Short peak season, June through July.

How to Choose: Firm, shiny skin with a darker tinge and green stems; the northwest produces the best in the US.

Cherries have a short peak season in June through July, but they are well worth the wait. When selecting cherries, look for those with firm, shiny skin and a slightly darker tinge. The presence of green stems is a good indicator of freshness. The northwest region of the United States is renowned for producing some of the best cherries in the country.

Coconuts

Coconut with half and leaves on white background
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long, best in March and April.

How to Choose: No cracks, heavy for its size; can hear the water inside when shaken.

Coconuts are available year-round and are often at their best in March and April. When choosing a coconut, check for any cracks or damage on the outer husk. A good coconut should feel heavy for its size, indicating plenty of water inside. You can even shake it to hear if there is water within. The freshness of the water is a good sign of the coconut's quality.

Cranberries

basket full of cranberries.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: October through December.

How to Choose: Firm to the touch, plump, deep-red berries; NJ is considered the best in the US.

Cranberries are a tart, deep-red fruit, and their peak season is from October through December. When selecting cranberries, ensure they are firm to the touch and plump. Their deep-red color is an indication of ripeness. As a bonus, cranberries from New Jersey are often regarded as some of the best in the United States.

Grapefruit

Pink grapefruit and rosemary gin cocktail served in prepared gin cocktail glass on a tropical beach bar
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Late summer.

How to Choose: Firm, round, with a tinge of red; heavy for its size; best from Florida and California.

Grapefruit has a tangy-sweet flavor and is in season during late summer. When selecting grapefruit, choose those that are firm, round, and have a tinge of red blush. They should feel heavy for their size, a sign of juiciness. The best grapefruits often come from Florida and California. It's worth noting that grapefruit can interact with certain medications, so it's essential to check with your doctor if you are on medication.

Grapes

Young salesgirl at her first job, selling green grape and other fruits in vegetable shop
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Most of the year, but late summer through mid-fall are the best.

How to Choose: Plump and unwrinkled with intact stems; green should have a slight yellowish tinge, red should be mostly crimson red, and blue should have a deep dark hue; grapes from California are considered to be the best in the US.

Grapes are available most of the year, but late summer through mid-fall is when they are at their peak. When choosing grapes, look for those that are plump and unwrinkled with intact stems. The color should match the variety: green grapes should have a slight yellowish tinge, red grapes should be mostly crimson red, and blue grapes should have a deep, dark hue. Grapes from California are known for their quality.

Kiwi

Delicious ripe kiwi fruits, isolated on white background
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long.

How to Choose: Yields slightly to pressure; smooth, taut, evenly-colored skin; fragrant smell; avoid bruised or wrinkled.

Kiwi is a small, green fruit with a slightly tangy and sweet taste. They are available year-round. To choose the best kiwis, look for those that yield slightly to pressure, indicating ripeness. The skin should be smooth, taut, and evenly colored. A fragrant smell is a good sign of readiness. Avoid kiwis with bruises or wrinkles, as they may be overripe.

Lemons

Lemon zest on a small marble slab with a microplane and two lemons to the left.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long.

How to Choose: Yields slightly to pressure; heavy for their size; avoid wrinkled, soft, or spongy; buy in multiples for savings.

Lemons are known for their tart and zesty flavor, and they are available year-round. When selecting lemons, look for ones that yield slightly to pressure and feel heavy for their size. Avoid any that are wrinkled, soft, or spongy. Buying lemons in multiples can often save you money, and they are a versatile ingredient in both cooking and beverages.

Limes

Fresh green lime fruit with water droplets and cut in half sliced isolated on white background.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long.

How to Choose: Yields slightly to pressure; heavy for their size; avoid wrinkled, soft, or spongy; buy in multiples for savings.

Limes are known for their sharp, tangy taste and are available year-round. To choose the best limes, look for those that yield slightly to pressure and feel heavy for their size. Avoid any that are wrinkled, soft, or spongy. Like lemons, buying limes in multiples can provide cost savings.

Mangos

Mango tropical fruit in wooden basket put on green leaf background, top view
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Best in spring.

How to Choose: Yields slightly to pressure; fruity aroma where the stem was removed; color is not an indicator of ripeness.

Mangos are tropical fruits at their best in spring. To choose ripe mangos, look for ones that yield slightly to pressure when gently squeezed. They should also emit a fruity aroma where the stem was removed. Interestingly, the color of a mango is not an indicator of ripeness, so rely on touch and smell to make the best selection.

Oranges

Naval Oranges
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Peak Season: All year long, but winter and spring are often the best.

How to Choose: Firm and heavy for size; avoid blemished or shriveled; sweet, clean fragrance; Florida and California are top picks.

Oranges are a refreshing and juicy citrus fruit available year-round. However, they are often at their best in winter and spring. When choosing oranges, opt for ones that are firm and feel heavy for their size, as this indicates juiciness. Avoid any that are blemished or shriveled. A sweet, clean fragrance is a good sign of their quality. Oranges from Florida and California are top picks.

Peaches

Ripe peaches in basket on wooden background
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Best May through September

How to Choose: Sweet fragrance; soft to the touch, but don't squeeze (they bruise easily); color not an indicator of ripeness except near stem, should be yellow or cream, not green.

Peaches are renowned for their sweet, juicy flesh and fuzzy skin. They are at their peak from May through September. When selecting peaches, go for those that emit a sweet fragrance. They should be soft to the touch but not squeezed, as they bruise easily. The color of a peach is not an indicator of ripeness, except near the stem, where it should be yellow or cream, not green.

Pears

Fresh bio pear with leaves on the plate. Gray stone table.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long, best in summer through fall.

How to Choose: Firm, uniform shape; plump; avoid bruises.

Pears are known for their sweet and grainy texture. They are available year-round, but they are often at their best in the summer through the fall. When choosing pears, look for those with a firm and uniform shape. They should be plump and free from bruises, which can affect their texture and taste.

Pineapples

Fresh Pineapple
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long.

How to Choose: Sweet smelling; fresh looking with green leaves and a firm shell; external color not an indicator of ripeness.

Pineapples are tropical and sweet, and they are available year-round. To select a ripe pineapple, rely on your sense of smell. A ripe pineapple should have a sweet, fresh aroma. The external color of the pineapple is not an indicator of ripeness. Instead, look for one with green leaves and a firm shell.

Plantains

Homemade Yellow Fried Plantains in a Bowl
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: All year long.

How to Choose: Firm when green; yield slightly to pressure when yellow; slightly soft when ripe (black).

Plantains are starchy fruits similar to bananas and are available year-round. When selecting plantains, choose them based on your intended use. If you plan to cook them when they are green, select firm plantains. As they ripen and turn yellow, they should yield slightly to pressure. When they reach the black stage, they will be slightly soft and ideal for sweet dishes.

Pomegranates

Pomegranate
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: September through December.

How to Choose: Heavy for their size; red or yellow skin; avoid shredded peel.

Pomegranates are known for their juicy seeds and tart-sweet flavor. They are in season from September through December. To choose the perfect pomegranate, pick one that feels heavy for its size. The skin should be red or yellow, and you should avoid any with a shredded peel, as it may indicate spoilage.

Raspberries

Healthy breakfast overnight oats with fresh raspberries and shredded coconut in a glass jar
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Summer through early fall.

How to Choose: Firm and plump berries with rich color; no mold or juice in the container; will not ripen after picking.

Raspberries are delicate and sweet berries, best enjoyed during the summer and early fall. When selecting raspberries, pick those that are firm and plump, with rich color. Make sure there is no mold or juice in the container, as these are indicators of spoilage. Raspberries do not ripen after picking, so choose ripe ones at the store.

Strawberries

ripe red stawberry on a white,isolated
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Best in spring and summer.

How to Choose: Plump, bright red berries with green tops attached; avoid moldy, bruised, or white/green skin; California has a top crop year-round; promoted heavily in season.

Strawberries are well-loved for their sweet red berries and bright green tops. They are at their best in the spring and summer. When choosing strawberries, opt for those that are plump, bright red, and have green tops attached. Avoid any that appear moldy, bruised, or have white or green skin. California strawberries are a top crop year-round and are often heavily promoted in season.

Tangerines

Young girl shopping assistant at her first job selling tangerines and other fruits in vegetable shop
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: Late September to early spring.

How to Choose: Firm to semi-soft with deep orange color; heavy for size; avoid soft spots.

Tangerines are small, easy-to-peel citrus fruits with a sweet and tangy flavor. They are in season from late September to early spring. When selecting tangerines, look for firm to semi-soft with a deep orange color. They should feel heavy for their size, indicating juiciness. Avoid any with soft spots, as they may be overripe.

Watermelon

Watermelon isolated on white background.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Peak Season: May through September peak season.

How to Choose: Uniform shape; heavy for its size; look for a creamy yellow spot where the melon sat on the ground (if white, picked too soon); dark green, dull skin; buying a whole melon will save lots, and they are heavily promoted in season.

Watermelon is a quintessential summer fruit that peaks from May through September. To choose a ripe watermelon, look for one with a uniform shape that feels heavy for its size. A creamy yellow spot on the melon's skin, where it sat on the ground, indicates ripeness. The skin should be dark green and dull. Buying a whole watermelon is often cost-effective and heavily promoted during their peak season.

Tips for Choosing In-Season Fruits

supermarket shopping
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Choosing the right fruits in their peak season ensures better flavor and nutrition, supports local agriculture, and reduces environmental impact. Following our guidelines for each fruit, you can make informed decisions when selecting fresh, delicious produce at your local market. So, enjoy nature's bounty, savor the taste of perfectly ripe fruits, and make the most of each season's offerings for a healthier and more sustainable approach to your diet.

+ posts