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Make the most of Summer's fruit sensations

Delicious, healthy and in season – Summer’s bounty of fruit is something we always look forward to.

From juicy stone fruit to heart-shaped strawberries, discover how you can make the most of the sweetest time of the year with Countdown.

Choosing the perfect fruit

  • Choosing stone fruit can be a tricky business. A handy trick for telling if they’re ready to eat is that they should smell how they taste – light, fruity and sweet. Make sure there are no wrinkly patches.

  • Cherries should be plump, shiny and most varieties are dark in colour (others are more red). Cherries with stems have a longer shelf life.

  • Strawberries should be fragrant, shiny and red (not yellow or green). Check the tops are green and fresh.

  • Ripe pineapples should have a sweet scent, while unripe ones have no scent and old ones smell vinegary. The fruit should feel heavy (this means it’s nice and juicy).

  • Blueberries should be firm and dry - check the bottom of the punnet to make sure no berries are crushed or spoiled. A white sheen is natural.

Berries are perfect for adding wow-factor to your next [cake](http://www.foodtolove.co.nz/recipes/easy-blueberry-shortcake-28709|target="_blank").
Berries are perfect for adding wow-factor to your next cake.

How to store fruit

If your stone fruits aren’t quite ripe, keep them in your fruit bowl at room temperature, stem-end down. Make sure there is enough space between them to allow proper air circulation. Once ripe, simply place them in the refrigerator.

Just make sure not to wash the fruit until you’re just about to eat it!

5 ways with Summer fruit

  • Summer stone fruit is great for transforming into jams, chutneys and relishes while it's so affordable. Try this beautiful peach chutney with your next cheese platter or spread this flavourful plum and vanilla jam on freshly baked scones.

Give this simple [curried chicken and peach salad](http://www.foodtolove.co.nz/recipes/curried-chicken-and-peach-salad-13195|target="_blank") a go.
Give this simple curried chicken and peach salad a go.

  • Add fruit to savoury dishes for a sweet, tender burst of flavour. Try in stir-fries, add to salads or pair with seafood. This easy curried chicken and peach salad is a great dish to try.

  • Freeze fresh berries and add to cocktails or wine for an instantly cooling hit that won’t dilute the flavour of your drink (plus they make a pretty delicious snack once your vessel is empty).

  • Grill peaches, nectarines or apricots on the barbecue and pair with cream, mascarpone or crème fraîche for a summery dessert with a twist. We love these beautiful caramelised peaches with spiced yoghurt.

How to prepare strawberries

Make sure you're prepping your strawberries to retain maximum flavour with our easy how-to video.

Pro tip

If you end up with crimson hands from handling cherries or berries, simply rub them with white vinegar or a freshly peeled potato.

Did you know?

You can use a chopstick to remove cherry pits - no cherry pitter necessary! Simply push the chopstick through the stem end of the cherry and wait for the pit to shoot out the other side.

This article was created in collaboration with Countdown.

Feature image : Rob Shaw/bauersyndication.com.au

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