01 of 10
Apricots, Plums & Pluots
No matter what variety of plum, apricot or their hybrid child, pluot I have before me I tend to do one of two things. I either simply eat it plain or I slice it, lay it on some Homemade Pie Crust, sprinkle it with sugar, and bake it into a delicious Summer Orchard Fruit Tart.
If that is a tad too boring for you, you can always make some Spice Plum Chutney, or see all the apricot, plum and pluot recipes for more ideas.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
Blackberries – dark and tart-sweet off the bramble, eaten with purple-stained fingers in the blazing summer sun – are one of the great treats of summer eating. There are many varieties of blackberry, including the famous Marionberries and Loganberries. I like any blackberries I can get my hands on in a simple crisp or mashed and folded with cream in a berry fool.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Nothing compares to the woodsy sweet taste of a wild blueberry foraged from the forest floor unless it's the thrill of finding a un-picked patch of the low-growing fruits growing along the shores of a lake or a path through the woods. If you're not so lucky to live in the blueberry territory, or simply don't find yourself coming across wild blueberry patches that often, cultivated blueberries will give you some sense of what the wild ones are like.
Learn more about blueberries with... this guide to blueberries. Or just start cooking a Blueberry Pie or Blueberry Cobbler, or freezing up some Blueberry Sorbet. I've even been known to throw blueberries in a salad.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Cherry season is short but oh-so-sweet – or sour! Sour cherries have an even shorter season than sweet cherries and are tricky to find on the West Coast. Whatever cherries you're buying, look for plump, shiny cherries with no soft spots or bruising. Cherries are delicate creatures and any damage will hasten their inevitable demise.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Unctuous, sweet, fresh figs are difficult to find if not from a local source – they are so fragile they simply don't ship well. You'll find what you need to know about figs in this All About Figs guide and guide to Fig Varieties. Once you grow them or pick them or get them home, eating them fresh and plain is a delight. Or, take a few minutes and try one of these Quick Fig Recipes.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
How to pick a melon? First, choose one that feels heavy for its size. Second, for all melons except watermelons, smell them. Ripe melons smell like, well, melons!
Once you get that melon home, see How to Peel Melons and How to Slice Melons – both useful skills for making Melon Aqua Fresca or Melon Sorbet, perfect for cooling off in summer's heat. Or check out these 5 Quick Ways to Use Melons.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Peaches & Nectarines
Peaches and nectarines have to share a spot because, frankly, they are just so similar. Either peach is nectarines with fuzz or nectarines or peaches without fuzz, whichever way you see it, they are interchangeable when it comes to eating and cooking and using summer fruits.
Learn more than you ever thought you needed to know about peaches – from how to choose a good one to how to bake it into a pie – in All About Peaches. See How to Peel Peaches, How to Slice Peaches, How to Pit Peaches, and... even How to Grill Peaches before embarking on making your own Peach Pie, Peach Crostada, or Peach Jam.
Any of these tips apply, of course, to nectarines, too.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Raspberries have a hollow core and a slightly dry, seedy texture, both of which differentiate them from their juicier fellow bramble, blackberries, which hold onto their core when picked. That's why, despite their similar appearance, there are "black raspberries" (97% of the world's crop of these delicious wonders are grown in Oregon, so if you're ever there, look for these sweet, seedy delights at farmers markets and farm stands), as well as blackberry varieties like... Loganberries that have a decidedly red hue.
Learn more About Berries of all sorts or simply find an easy raspberry recipe to suit your taste buds.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
It's a toss-up between strawberries and peaches when it comes to everyone's favorite summer fruit. Determining my own favorite would require a grudge match between raspberries and blueberries, but that has nothing to do with strawberries....
Look for deep red, shiny strawberries without any white around the stem and, most importantly, look for berries that smell like strawberries! Strawberries should have a lovely, rich perfume – that smell tells you they are ripe and will taste like... sweet, delicious strawberries, no matter what variety of strawberry is before you.
Learn more About Strawberries, including How to Hull Strawberries, How to Freeze Strawberries, and How to Make Strawberry Jam. Or find delicious ways to use strawberries, including Strawberry Fool, Strawberry Salsa, and Strawberry Ricotta Muffins.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Just when all the sweet, soft fruit of summer starts to seem the norm, along come crisp and refreshing apples. We think of them as belonging to fall, but the early varieties make their appearance well before the September 21 equinox that marks the end of summer.
Thought you knew apples? See All About Apples, as well as this Guide to Apple Varieties to learn more. Then check out this fabulous recipe for Apple Pie (including plenty of variations) and see all Local Foods apple recipes.