How to Make Your Dollar Stretch at the Farmer’s Market
When the farmer’s market is busy, you’ll need to move through quickly when making your selections. Since you often won’t have enough time to hem and haw over what to choose, learn what characteristics make for the best choices in each fruit and vegetable that’s in season in the summer. Also, find out how best to store those items to make them last longer so you can make the most use of them and get your money’s worth.
What Fruits Are in Season in the Summer?
Peaches are one of the dirty dozen of produce with high pesticide content if you don’t buy them organic. These are in season in the Midwest starting in middle to late July. They should feel firm when you pick them up but not hard. If you buy them hard, they won’t become ripe once you get them home. Don’t buy them if they’re bruised or the skin looks wrinkled or they will go bad before you can eat them. Ripen them for up to two days in a closed paper sack but lay them flat. Don’t set one on top of another or you’ll damage them. After they’re ripe, they’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to seven days.
These are also in season in the Midwest starting in middle to late July. If they’re stacked at the farmer’s market, choose one from the top of the pile as the ones on the bottom may be bruised. To find out whether the cantaloupe was cut prematurely, look at the place where the stem was attached. It should look as though they came off on its arm. If it looks like it was cut then it was probably cut before was ripe. This is important because cantaloupe does not ripen after it’s picked. Buy a cantaloupe that is somewhat soft but not mushy and has a heavy feeling. It will keep in the refrigerator for about five days. After it’s sliced, it will last anywhere from 2 to 4 days.
These are in season in the southern U.S. in June but the farther north you go, they’re not in season until July. Choose blackberries with a darker color in order to get a sweeter flavor. Once you get them home, don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them as the extra moisture will make them go bad faster. They can be frozen for up to three months. Use a vacuum sealer to get the extra air out first.
OurOhio.org- Ohio’s Fruit and Vegetable Harvest Calendar- What’s in Season
OurOhio.org- Farm Fresh Fruit Profiles