This Is the Best Way to Prepare Summer Fruit
Fresh fruit is one of the best parts of summer, with many types of berries, stone fruits, and melons taking center stage. In this new episode of The Best Way, our associate food editor, Kelsey Youngman, breaks down how to select, cut, and store some of these fruits, so you can enjoy them all season long. Her advice includes how to prevent strawberries from spoiling too quickly, identify ripe stone fruit (hint: use your nose), and easily remove the skin from mango pieces—check out more of Kelsey’s key tips below.
Fruits like nectarines, peaches, plums, and apricots all have a pit, or stone, which you have to cut around. There are two types of stone fruit, cling stone and free stone (the former's pit is harder to get out). When you’re selecting them, go by scent—the more aromatic they are, Kelsey explains, the riper they are.
Kelsey demonstrates peeling a peach, making an “x” on the bottom of the fruit and then dropping it in boiling water for 30-45 seconds. After that, a quick dunk in an ice bath helps the skin come off easily. As for cutting them, she cuts all the way around the diameter, twists to separate it into halves, and then cuts the fruit into wedges away from the center.
We're at the tail-end of strawberry season, but you can likely still find them at your farmers' market. You want to buy strawberries with the stems on. Kelsey says they spoil quickly, but there are two things you can do to extend their shelf-life—a vinegar rinse made with distilled white vinegar and water (which will work for raspberries and blueberries, too), or a hot water bath. Whichever you choose, make sure to dry the berries carefully and well.
Once you’re ready to eat the strawberries, pull the stems off and cut away the hulls. You can eat as-is or slice—if you do slice, you should eat them that day.
With any melon, Kelsey says to look at the two ends (stem and flowering) and give them a sniff—they should smell lightly sweet and fruity. You want them to have a little bit of give, too. For honeydews in particular, which she uses in this video, they should be more yellow than green.
Honeydews work well in frozen drinks, so Kelsey demonstrates how to peel one, cut it, and freeze it. The chunks can be popped into an airtight container in the freezer and then used for recipes like these frozen honeydew-basil margaritas.
When you’re picking mangoes, you want them to be soft and have a little give. To prepare them, cut pieces along the edge, and “let the knife tell you where the pit is,” Kelsey says. The thin skin tends to cling to the flesh, but you can easily separate it by running the mango piece along the edge of a glass. From there, cut into slices or dice.