Seasonal Fruit - Shopping & Cooking

Apples
Buddha's Hand
Blackberries
Blueberries
Cherries
Dates
Figs
Grapes
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Kumquat
Lemons
Limes
Melons
Nectarines
Oranges
Oranges, Mandarin / Tangerine
Peaches
Pears
Pears, Asian
Persimmons
Plums
Pomegranate
Pomelo
Raspberries
Rhubarb: see Greens/Stalks
Strawberries
Tangelo

Apples

More than 2,500 varieties are grown in the U.S., categorized by eating, cooking, cider or crab.

Some common and/or local varieties: Fuji (snacking or baking), Gala (snacking or salads), Golden Delicious (versatile, holds shape well when baked), Granny Smith (pies, snacking, salads), Gravenstein (saucing, pies), Jonagold (snacking, cooking, pies), Johnathan (sauces, cider, snacking), McIntosh (versatile but commonly used for snacking and cider), Red Delicious (snacking, salads).

Look for: Smooth, clean skin. Avoid dull skin, bruises, punctures, soft spots or mealy texture.

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

Buddha's Hand

In the citrus family, Buddha’s hands have lobes that look like fingers. The fruit has an intense fragrance, but very little flesh, juice or seeds.

Use Buddha’s hand (the entire fruit or just the rind) as a replacement for lemon zest. It can also be candied or made into marmalade.

Look for: Firm, fragrant, unblemished fruit.

Storage: Keeps several days at room temperature.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes (substitute for lemon zest)

  • Escarole salad with shaved Buddha's hand citron & anchovy - Chris Cosentino at Incanto

BLACKBERRIES
LOGANBERRIES
BOYSENBERRIES
OLLALIEBERRIES

Blackberries/Related Berries

Blackberries (aka brambles) have seeds; loganberries are dark red and more acidic; boysenberries are a cross b/w black-, logan- and raspberries, seedless and more fragile; olallieberries are a cross b/w a loganberry and blackberry.

Look for: Plump, deep-colored, clean, slightly firm berries. Avoid ones that are too soft (overripe) or have the hull attached (picked too early = tart).

Storage: Very perishable and don't ripen after picking. Use immediately, or refrigerate in single layer and wash right before use.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
  • Liberty Ranch duck leg with blackberry-red wine sauce and summer vegetable tian -- Michael Wild at Baywolf
  • Boysenberry galette w/ fresh cream – Ria Ramsey & Sher Rogat at Pizzetta 211
  • Olallieberry crostata with lemon crème fraîche -- Chris Cosentino at Incanto
  • Blackberry shortcake with lavender peach sorbet -- Amy Pearce at Millennium

 
 
 



Blueberries

more info coming soon

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Cherries

Bing, Black Tartarian, Chelan, Rainier, Redlac varieties...
More info coming soon!

Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Dates

Dates are fruit from the date palm tree. There are three types: soft (Barhi, Halawy, Khadrawy, Medjool), semi-soft (Dayri, Deglet Noor, Zahidi), and dry (Thoory). Soft dates have lower sugar content than semi-soft or dry varieties. Fresh dates are available August-December. Dried dates are available year-round.

Eat fresh or dried dates by themselves, or chop and add to breakfast cereal, pastries or meat stews. Remove seeds and stuff with fillings such as almonds, candied citrus peel or marzipan.

Look for: Plump dates with smooth, glossy skins. Avoid those that are cracked, dry, or shriveled (they may be slightly wrinkled). Fresh dates should not smell sour or have crystallized sugar on their surface. Dried dates should not be rock hard.

Storage: Store Deglet Noor and other semisoft varieties in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Place in airtight plastic bags or containers to prevent dates from absorbing odors of other foods.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


BLACK MISSION
"figgy" flavor
KADOTA
honey flavor
BROWN TURKEY
more juicy

Figs

Mission figs have dark purple skin/light red flesh, kadota figs have green skin/amber flesh (not as sweet), brown turkey figs have brown-copper skin/white-pink flesh (fewer seeds).

Eat whole, or slice in halves/quarters.

Look for: The stem still attached, a sweet smell, and soft texture. Slight tears in the skin are okay. Avoid figs that are dry, overly bruised or unripe-green.

Storage: Handle very carefully; they bruise very easily. They also don't ripen after picking. Refrigerate to store, and bring to room temperature before serving.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipe
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
  • Fig and hazelnut salad -- Michael Tusk at Quince
  • Round of goat's milk cheese embraced & served w/ walnuts, figs and grapes -- Daniel DeLong at Manka's
  • Roasted chicken breast w/ balsamic figs & toasted quinoa --- Matthew Christianson at Lark Creek Inn





Grapes

Classified by color and whether they're seeded. Green grapes: Thompson Seedless, Calmeria, Sugarone. Red grapes: Flame Seedless, Cardinal, Emporer, Red Globe, Tokay. Blue/black grapes: Beauty Seedless, Concord, Zinfandel.

"Table grapes" are great right off the stem.

Look for: Full colored, plump, grapes that are firmly attached to stem. Avoid softness, wrinkles, brown tops. Sweeter grapes have been on the vine longer, and often have uniformly browned stems.

Storage: Wrap in paper towel and refrigerate in vented plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • See Manka's dish above under Figs!
  • Romaine hearts, comice pear, queso fresco, champagne grapes, toasted almonds & sherry vinaigrette -- James Ormsby at Jack Falstaff
  • Grilled pizza topped w/ gorgonzola cheese, carmelized onion & grapes, topped w/ fresh arugula -- at Geranium

Grapefruit

This large, slightly bitter fruit is categorized by its flesh color: pink, red or white. Desert-grown varieties often have a smooth, thick peel and acidic flavor. Tropical-grown varieties often have a blemished, thin peel and sweeter flavor.

Tangelos are a cross between a grapefruit and tangerine. The Oro Blanco fruit is a cross between a grapefruit and pomelo.

Look for: Grapefruit that are heavy for their size and have firm, shiny, resilient skin (indicating it's juicy inside). Avoid those that don't give when you squeeze them.

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipe
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Avocado & grapefruit salad tossed w/ arugula, shaved fennel & grapefruit juice vinaigrette -- Sascha Weiss at Lettus Cafe Organic

Kiwi

aka Chinese gooseberry.

Peel and use raw kiwis in cereals, fruit salads, and desserts, or eat out of hand.

Look for: Kiwis that give slightly to pressure. Firm kiwis will soften at room temperature. To speed the ripening process, put in a bag with an apple.

Storage: Once ripe, store in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Kumquat

more info soon

What's Cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
 
 
 


COMMON LEMON
Eureka or Lisbon
MEYER LEMON
not yet in season

Lemons

Eureka lemons have a flat end and few seeds, and are available year-round; Lisbon lemons have a protruding end, smoother skin, and usually peak in the winter; sweet Meyer lemons are actually a cross between a lemon and tangerine, and have a rich yellow-orange rind when ripe and rounder shape.

Look for: Plump, firm lemons that are heavy for their size. Look for rich yellow-orange Meyer lemons. Avoid those that are shriveled or have hard, overly soft or spongey skin.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks (up to 1 week for Meyer lemons).

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


PERSIAN LIME
KEY LIME
*out of season*
KAFFIR LIME

Limes

Common Persian limes are usually seedless with a thick rind. They're available year-round and the most common variety in America.

Aromatic Key limes are slightly smaller with thin, yellow-green skin (sometimes with brown splotches) and a more complex, acidic flavor. They're best in the warmer months and globally the most dominant variety.

Kaffir limes are usually golf-ball size and have very little juice. They're most often used for their aromatic zest.

Limequats are a cross between a lime and kumquat.

Look for: Brightly colored, smooth-skinned limes that are heavy for their size. Avoid those that have hard, shriveled skin or are hard when you squeeze them, which often means they're dry inside.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 10 days (up to 5 days for Key limes).

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes






Melons

more info coming soon
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

Nectarines

more info coming soon

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Roasted nectarines, prosciutto & wild arugula pizzetta -- Ria Ramsey & Sher Rogat at Pizzetta 211
  • more local dishes coming soon

Oranges

The most common varieties are the large, seedless Navel oranges with their characteristic "baby fruit" in the blossom end, and the juicy Valencia oranges with 4 or 5 seeds and a thin rind that only peels easily when ripe.

Look for: Firm, evenly-shaped, smooth-skinned oranges that are heavy for their size. Small- and medium-sized ones are usually sweeter. Some oranges can still be very sweet despite green splotches. Avoid those with brown streaks or soft spots.

Storage: Keep at room temperature or refrigerate in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Dungeness crab, cracked & roasted in orange, thyme & garlic sauce w/ flake red pepper -- Johannes Kim at Zoya
  • Two sorbets: blood orange champagne sorbet & blackberry cabernet sorbet -- same as above

Oranges, Mandarin / Tangerine

Smaller, flatter and sweeter than oranges, tangerines (aka known as mandarin oranges) are easier to peel and separate into segments. Common tangerines have seeds; Satsumas and Clementines do not.

Tangelos are a cross between a tangerine and grapefruit.

Look for: Tangerines that fill their skin. (Satsuma and Clementine skin will seem loose though. Make sure the ends aren't soft.) The best ones will have the stem or leaves still attached. Avoid those that feel hollow or have especially soft spots.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to a week.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Peaches

more info coming soon

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Field greens tossed w/ peach, montrachet goat cheese, toasted pine nuts & champagne-peach vinaigrette -- Emmanuel Liotard-Vogt & Rolf Bachman at Pomelo
  • Grilled peach, pancetta & frisee -- Mark Gordon at Rose's Cafe
  • Seared foie gras w/ salt roasted blood peaches, housemade brioche, blackberry gastrique -- Matthew Christianson at Lark Creek Inn
  • Roasted duck breast w/ roasted peaches, farro, pistachios & mâche -- Loretta Keller at Bizou

Pears

Some common and/or local varieties: Anjou (snacking, cooking) Pale green or red. Mellow flavor. Bartletts (snacking) Green skins that ripens to yellow. Smooth, sweet, juicy. Bosc (cooking, baking) Yellow-brown skin. Crisp, creamy, aromatic. Comice (snacking) Yellow skin with red blush. Buttery, smooth, sweet. Seckles (cooking, canning) Brownish skin with red blush. Firm, sweet, spicy.

Pears are harvested in an unripe condition, and are ripe when the flesh near the stem yields with gentle pressure. Anjou, Bosc and Comic pears do not change color as they ripen.

Slice and use on salads, in breakfast cereal, or desserts. Poach cored pears in apple juice or wine.

Look for: Firm pears with smooth skin. Avoid bruises.

Storage: Place unripe pears in a paper bag at room temperature until ripe. Store unbagged until use at room temperature or refrigerate in a plastic bag to keep longer.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
Farm recipes


Pears, Asian

aka apple pear, Chinese pear, sand pear.

There are more than 100 varieties, each with their own distinct appearance, texture and flavor. All varieties are crisp, very juicy and sweet.

Asian pears' texture doesn't change after picking, so they're ready to eat off the tree (or market shelf). They're also great in salads, or sautéed into savory meat dishes.

Look for: Hard pears with a mild pear fragrance. Avoid those that are soft or wrinkled.

Storage: Store at room temperature or refrigerate in a plastic bag to keep longer.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Persimmons

Nowadays the most popular varieties are Asian: the Hachiya and the Fuyu. (American varieties are rarely available.)

Hachiya persimmons are heart-shaped with a creamy, astringent yet sweet flavor, and an apricot texture. Wait until they're super mushy when you can spoon out sweet, succulent morels.

Light orange, tomato-shaped Fuyu persimmons, with a sweet spicy flavor, are more "idiot-proof" and can be eaten when firmer. Some people eat them like an apple.

Both have delicate, smooth, thin skins that bruise easily.

Look for: Persimmons that are smooth, plump and glossy. Avoid those with yellow patches.

Storage: Hachiya are often sold unripe, so let them sit at room temperature until the skin is transluscent and they're VERY soft. Fuyu can be be eaten crunchy, or store them at room temperature to soften the texture. Once either are ripe, they don't store well, so use immediately or refrigerate for a day or so.

What's Cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Escarole salad w/ apples, persimmons, pecans & verjus vinaigrette -- Jean-Pierre Moulle & Kelsi Kerr at Chez Panisse
  • Heirloom spinach salad w/ persimmons, raisins, curry dressing -- Amy Murray at Venus Restaurant
  • Duck confit salad w/ fuyu persimmons, huckleberries & spicy pecans -- Robert Lewis & Traci Des Jardins at Jardiniere
  • Braised Sonoma lamb w/ herbed spaetzle, roasted baby turnips & grilled fuyu persimmons -- Brad Levy at Firefly
  • Persimmon pudding w/ brandy whipped cream -- Michael Wild at BayWolf Restaurant

Plums

more info coming soon

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Tea-smoked Cornish game hen w/ plum & pomegranate -- Harveen Khera at Tallula
  • Warm plum cake w/ soy ice cream -- Renee Schembri at Geranium
  • more local dishes coming soon

Pomegranate

aka Chinese apple.

Can be seeded or juiced to be used in savory dishes, sweet desserts, drinks, or by itself.

TO SEED: Cut off the crown and scoop out the pulp at the top without breaking any seeds. When you look down on the top, you'll see distinct sections. Use a sharp knife to score the skin between the sections, put your thumb in the middle, and carefully pull the sections apart. Remove the thin, white, papery skin and turn the skin inside out. The seeds will easily pop out.

TO JUICE: Cut in half cross-wise and ream like a lemon. Or, push the seeds over a sieve. Or, roll the whole pomegranate until the seeds are crushed inside, and make a slit in the skin to squeeze or suck out the juice with a straw.

Note: Avoid using aluminum and carbon steel knives or pans with pomegranates, as they can bitter the juice.

Look for: Large, firm, brightly colored, shiny pomegranates that are heavy for their size. Avoid those that are bruised, shriveled, dull or overly hard. Cracked skin often indicates they are overripe, but the flavor may still be fine.

Storage: In the refrigerator up to a month, or at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks. They get juicier and more flavorful over time.

What's cooking:
Substitute for citrus in recipes
Farm Recipe
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Pomelo

An ancestor of the grapefruit, aka Chinese grapefruit, shadduck, pumello.

Pomelos can grow to be extremely large, and have a very thick, fibrous peel that's easily removed. Once peeled, cut/pull the flesh away from the pith inside.

Depending on the grower and climate, their flavor can range from tart to sweet, and dry to juicy.

See the grapefruit section for shopping, storage and recipe information. (They can be used in any recipe calling for grapefruit.)


RASPBERRIES
GOLDEN RASPBERRIES

Raspberries

Three main types: red (most common), golden (mild apricot-like flavor), and black (purplish black with small seeds).

Look for: Round, carefully-handled berries. Bottom of container shouldn't be stained. Avoid berries that are flattened, bruised, broken apart, or moldy.

Storage: Very perishable and must be refrigerated. Moisture speeds rotting, so rinse only right before using.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes .

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Strawberries

The most common, local varieties are the Chandler and Seascape. (Both are very popular.)

Eat them straight from the basket, add them to salads (goes great with feta), or cook tasty desserts.

Look for: Plump, bright red berries with fresh, green stems. Avoid those with white or green areas. The darker red color usually indicates a deeper, sweet taste.

Storage: Cover and refrigerate unwashed, lightly wrapped in a plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Chocolate cake w/ black currant-strawberry sauce -- Renee Chambrie at Geranium
  • more local recipes coming soon

Tangelo

A cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit, and known for their mild sweet flavor and juiciness.

See those sections for more information.