Eat This Now | July 14th, 2016

Blueberries Yellow Nectarines White Peaches and Nectarines Mangos

Best if used by 7/25/16

Subscribe and get our content emailed to you automatically!

Blueberries

Peak Season Best Flavor Value Priced

Great-tasting summer Blueberries are at their best – flavor, availability and price – through mid-July. Get some to snack on, freeze or bake with while this delectable berry is at its peak!

Blueberry growers are already at the pinnacle of their harvests at the time of this post and will be done by late July. I do love a good Jersey Blueberry! Michigan growers are picking nice fruit. New England Blueberries start in mid-July. And some of the best-tasting Blueberries of the year are abundant through early August from the Pacific Northwest – Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

Blueberry Tips

  • Select fresh Blueberries by inspecting the top and bottom of the package to avoid shriveled, smashed-together or wet berries.
  • Look for packs free from light purple or green berries. Those are immature and will taste sour.
  • Seek out Blueberries with the silver, powdery “bloom” on them. Bloom is a naturally occurring wax that forms a protective layer on the fruit while it is growing and is a tell-tale sign of freshness!
  • Store the fruit cold in the fridge, try to use in within a few days of purchase. Wait to wash them until just before using.
  • For recipes 5oz = 1 cup, and a Pint container of Blueberries has about 11-12oz in it, or just over 2 cups.

How to Freeze: Want to capture the best pricing and best tasting fruit for later? Freeze peak season Blueberries right in the package you bought them in. Be sure they’re completely dry, place the pack(s) right into a reseal-able plastic bag and freeze. They keep well in the freezer for up to six months and are a convenient way to have healthy, peak season flavor Blueberries handy for baking or to use in smoothies and shakes later in the year.

Recipe Ideas

 

Recipe: Blueberry Buckle

This is a favorite dessert at my house during blueberry season, perfect served with a glass of milk, dip of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.

Buckle:

  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Shortening
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 & ½ Cups Flour
  • 2 & ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ Cup Milk

Topping:

  • 1 and ½ Pints Fresh Blueberries (about 18oz)
  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter (cubed)

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350
  2. Cream the Sugar & Shortening
  3. Beat in the Egg
  4. In separate bowl combine Flour, Baking Powder & Salt
  5. Alternate adding dry mix and milk to batter
  6. Spread in greased 8×8 pan
  7. Top with Fresh Blueberries
  8. Combine Topping Sugar, Cinnamon and Butter
  9. Sprinkle Topping Mixture over Blueberries and Bake 45-50 minutes

Blueberry growers are already at the pinnacle of their harvests at the time of this post and will be done by late July.

Blueberry Buckle: This is a favorite dessert at my house during blueberry season, perfect served with a glass of milk, dip of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.

Yellow Nectarines

Peak Season    Best Flavor

So other than berries, what fruit have I been snacking on each day this week? Yellow Nectarines from California have been tasting awesome! – creamy flesh that is juicy, sweet and just tangy enough to have an exciting flavor. Mmm.

Most of the Yellow Nectarine varieties in season from California are now “free-stone” types that easily separate from the pit. The flavor is quite nice! Yellow Nectarines are ready to eat when the fruit gives just slightly to a gentle squeeze on the palm of your hand.

Did you know that Nectarines do not gain any sugar content through ripening after they are picked? However, as a Yellow-flesh Nectarine softens and the juices release within the flesh – the fruit tastes sweeter.

Nectarine Tips

  • Select Nectarines that are free from soft spots or wrinkles. The fruit should have deep yellow skin with red blush over must of it.
  • Avoid Nectarines that have green-color where yellow would be – a sign of immaturity.
  • An ideally ripe Nectarine will give just slightly to a squeeze in the palm of your hand. It only takes a day or two at room temperature to soften a Nectarine to juicy-sweet.
  • Prevent “mealy fruit.” Too many days on your counter or, worse too many days in your fridge, will leave you with a mealy, dehydrated Nectarine.
 

An ideally ripe Nectarine will give just slightly to a squeeze in the palm of your hand. It only takes a day or two at room temperature to soften a Nectarine to juicy-sweet.

White Peaches and Nectarines

Peak Season    Best Flavor

What’s the deal with “white-flesh” peaches and nectarines? No waiting necessary. No guessing when the fruit is ripe. Why? You can eat White Peaches and White Nectarines right away.

White-flesh varieties are low in acid so the natural sugar comes through in the flavor from the moment they are picked. Firm and crunchy fruit is still tasty! White Peaches and White Nectarines will stay just as sweet but become chin-drippingly juicy when allowed to soften at room temperature until they give slightly to a squeeze in the palm of your hand.

Soft fruit growers in the San Joaquin Valley of California are now in their peak season for white-flesh fruit.  By August they’ll be harvesting some of their tastiest, biggest, free-stone varieties of White Peaches and Nectarines to ship around the country and the world. East Coast White-flesh varieties are also in season from Pennsylvania and New Jersey during the end of July and throughout August.

White-flesh Peach & Nectarine Tips

  • Use White Peaches and Nectarines in recipes the same way you would Yellow-flesh varieties, just know that there will be more straight-forward sweetness and less acidic balance.
  • Select White Peaches and Nectarines that have no greenish coloring in the white areas of the skin – a sign of under-ripe. Avoid White Peaches soft spots (bruises) or punctures, and avoid ones with wrinkled skin – a sign of over-ripe or dehydration.
  • Store White Peaches at room temperature to protect their texture.
  • Always ready to eat! White-flesh Peaches and Nectarines are low in acid so they taste sweet when firm and crunchy or when ripened to soft and juicy.
 

Soft fruit growers in the San Joaquin Valley of California are now in their peak season for white-flesh fruit.

Mangos

Peak Season Best Flavor Value Priced

Mangos from Mexico are in peak season, abundant and priced at a value – making it a great time here in the US to buy the world’s most popular fruit!  They’re fantastic for snacking, salads and smoothies. One cup of cut Mangos is only 100 calories and for it you’ll get Vitamin C, Vitamin A, dietary fiber plus Folate. Here are two varieties you’ll likely find at stores this July, both of which will likely simply be offered as “Mangos”:

Tommy Atkins

This popular variety has dark red blush over dark green skin. When ripe, Tommy Atkins Mangos have sticky-sweet flesh that is orange in color with juicy flesh.  Tommy Atkins Mangos can feel a bit fibrous or stringy if you eat the flesh right off the pit with your teeth. I recommend cubing this variety or slicing the mango into peeled wedges.

Kent

What are Kent’s like? Featuring a mostly dark green skin with small patches of red blush, Kent Mangos have deep gold to orange flesh that is both sweet and rich, and is less fibrous and stringy than the Tommy Atkins. A Kent is my favorite Mango during the heart of summer – so sweet!

How do I know if this Mango is ripe?

*Remember, red skin does NOT = ripe. Squeeze in your palm to gauge the ripeness. A little give should mean juicy-sweet flesh inside. Most round Mangos, especially the Kent variety, do not give much in the way of visual clues to when they are ripe, so judge by the softness when you squeeze them. Ripen Mangos at room temperature.

Squeeze Gently to Test Ripeness
  • Hard = flesh will be firm and crunchy inside
  • Slight Give = ripe enough for sweet flavor and creamy flesh
  • Almost Soft = fully ripe, juicy-sweet

How do you cut a Mango? Get how-to and recipes here.

Mangos from Mexico are in peak season, abundant and priced at a value – making it a great time here in the US to buy the world’s most popular fruit!

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

Subscribe and get our content emailed to you automatically!