Know your season

Berries are usually available on the second week of June; that’s when they are full of antioxidants and several more beneficial compounds. Grapes are at their peak on the third week of July; tomatoes and sweet peppers are best when harvested in June and September, while melons are sweeter in March and November.
Mangoes, one of my favorite fruits, are available around the second week of July. Papayas can be harvested all year long, and should be purchased from backyard gardeners, not a store. The commercial papaya is genetically modified and picked green. Papaya is one of the very few fruits that will not taste right if it’s not ripe when harvested. That’s why the chemically ripened papayas sold in stores taste the way they do.
Bananas are also a favorite, available all year long. The good ones are very easy to detect by sight. The clusters of fingers should remain on the plant until the fruits are full. I repeat: the fruits must be full; one corner lengthwise may be square, but the rest of the peel has to be round around the edges. Besides a lousy taste, a skinny banana will have a thick skin and less “flesh” inside. It is a sign that it was picked too early, and the sugar content is not there. Bananas should be juicy when ripe, not dry.
If limes or lemons will be used for juicing, select round fruits with the shiny and smooth skin; the wrinkles are a sign they were picked too early. Other citruses like oranges and tangerines are juicier and more flavorful when harvested in January and February.
Soursop is the number one cancer fighting fruit in the world. It is harvested when the soft spikes fade and there is a hint of yellow on the rounded, shiny skin. The absolute best time for harvest is when the fruit starts to give a little when a slight pressure is applied.
Apples were always ready to eat during hunting season in Maine. I still remember the aroma and taste of the many apples I ate while looking for deer and moose.

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