Supermarket Savings: The Art of Buying Fruit in Season

Basket of fruit in season: peaches, strawberries and grapes

Buying fruit in season saves money and provides better quality

Buying fruit in season, even more so than vegetables, allows you to save money based on the increased supply as well as obtain better taste. The selection of fruit in the supermarket has changed over the past few years and in most cases this has lead to a better variety, selection and freshness factor. The fruit is available from places around the world and now 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, and that insures top freshness and lower prices if you take advantage. Here are some hints that can save you money and make your fruit selections top notch.

Buying fruit in season
Fruit Peak Season How to Choose
Apples All year long, but best in fall for some varieties Apples can be for eating, cooking or all-purpose; firm and unbruised
Apricots June through August is peak season Firm, plump and deep orange in color
Bananas All year long Green if not ready to eat immediately, otherwise yellow possibly with brown flecks; no bruises
Blackberries Summer through early fall Firm and plump berries with rich color; no mold or juice in the container; will not ripen after picking
Blueberries June through August 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
Cantaloupe All year long but best June through September Tan with green lines; heavy for its size; slight give when pressed; fragrant where the stem was removed
Cherries Short peak season June through July Firm, shiny skin with a darker tinge and green stems; the northwest produces the best in the US
Coconuts All year long, best in March and April No cracks, heavy for its size; can hear the water inside when shaken
Cranberries October through December Firm to the touch, plump, deep-red berries; again NJ are considered the best in the US
Figs Summer through early fall Slightly soft, but not mushy or hard; avoid bruises and loose stems
Grapefruit Late summer Firm, round, with a tinge of red; heavy for its size; best from Florida and California; certain medications can interact with grapefruit, so check with your doctor
Grapes Most of the year, but late summer through mid fall are the best Plump and unwrinkled with intact stems; green should have 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
Honeydew Late summer through early fall Slight yellow or cream color, firm and waxy skin; delicate veining in the skin; hollow sound when thumped
Kiwi All year long Yields slightly to pressure; smooth, taut, evenly-colored skin; fragrant smell; avoid bruised or wrinkled
Lemons All year long Yields slightly to pressure; heavy for their size; avoid wrinkled, soft or spongy; buy in multiples for savings
Limes All year long Yields slightly to pressure; heavy for their size; avoid wrinkled, soft or spongy; buy in multiples for savings
Mangos Best in spring Yields slightly to pressure; fruity aroma where the stem was removed; color is not an indicator of ripeness
Nectarines May through September but best in summer Yields slightly to pressure; evenly colored skin; avoid bruises and cuts
Oranges All year long but winter and spring are often best Firm and heavy for size; avoid blemished or shriveled; sweet, clean fragrance; Florida and California are top picks
Papaya Best in spring and summer Yields slightly to pressure; look for red and yellow on the green skin; fruity scent where the stem was attached
Peaches Best May through September 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
Pears All year long, best in summer through fall Firm uniform shape; plump; avoid bruises
Pineapples All year long Sweet smelling; fresh looking with green leaves and a firm shell; external color not an indicator of ripeness
Plantains All year long Firm when green; yield slightly to pressure when yellow; slightly soft when ripe (black)
Plums Summer is best Yield slightly to pressure; plump, avoid shriveled
Pomegranates September through December Heavy for their size; red or yellow skin; avoid shredded peel
Raspberries Summer through early fall Firm and plump berries with rich color; no mold or juice in the container; will not ripen after picking
Strawberries Best in spring and summer 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
Tangerines Late September to early spring Firm to semi-soft with deep orange color; heavy for size; avoid soft spots
Watermelon May through September peak season Uniform shape; heavy for its size; look for creamy yellow spot where 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

To buy fruit in season locally in your state (US only), either from your supermarket or a local farmer’s market, check out this Seasonal Ingredient Map from Epicurious.

Let me know which fruits are your favorite, or your favorite way to eat them.

Image courtesy of zdelia at freeimages.com

About Gary Weiner @ Super Saving Tips

Over the last 45 years I've worked in retail (department stores and supermarkets) and financial planning. In addition, I am a shopper, born and bred, who enjoys the challenges of finding the best items for the best prices. When I'm not busy saving money or writing here at Super Saving Tips, I enjoy baseball, music, and classic movies. I am retired and live in New Jersey with my wife.
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