Oh the amazing fruits of summer. Summer is a great time for fresh fruit, but it is often difficult for people to choose the best off the shelf; the best fruit being ripe, full of nutrients, and easy to prepare.  By keeping the following helpful hints in mind, you will be able to easily choose the best fruits of summer and get the most benefit from them. 

Blueberries
•    When buying fresh blueberries, look for firm, dry fruit that is smooth and free of stems and leaves.
•    Berries should be deep purple-blue to blue-black in color.
•    Cover them and store them in the refrigerator.
•    Wash just before using and use within 6 days of purchase.
•    Benefits: antioxidants, fiber, low calorie, vitamin C

Pineapple
•    The most important indicator of a ripe pineapple is scent.  Turn it over and smell the bottom—if it has a mild, sweet aroma of pineapple, you have a ripe fruit.  The less scent, the less ripe the pineapple.  If the scent is overpowering, the fruit may be too ripe and won’t keep long.
•    Dark spots on the bottom of the fruit indicate over-ripeness, signaling that it may go bad.
•    The bigger the pineapple, the better.  That way, you will get more for your money.  Remember that quite a bit of the pineapple goes to waste from peeling.
•    Benefits: manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B

Watermelon
•    Look for firm melons with a dull outer skin.  The bottom should be pale green to pale yellow or even beginning to turn white.
•    If you’re buying sliced watermelon, look for a bright, deeply colored pink to red flesh.
•    Benefits:  low calorie, high water content, vitamin C, vitamin A

Strawberries
•    When purchasing, look for plump, bright red berries.  The top leaves should be attached, green and fresh looking.
•    Remove any bruised or damaged berries as soon as possible—they can cause the good fruit to go bad more quickly. 
•    Store them in cool, ventilated containers, and store at a temperature of 32 to 40 degrees F. 
•    Benefits: antioxidants, vitamin C

Mango
•    Ripe mangoes can range from green or green with red/orange color.  They should not be overly mushy and their skin should be smooth and unblemished.
•    Heavy fruit will be the juiciest.  They continue to ripen after picking, so store at room temperature for 2-5 days to ripen. 
•    Benefits: vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A, tartaric acid

Kiwi Fruit
•    Ripe fruit should not be overly mushy.  Kiwis should be a uniform brown color with fuzzy skin.
•    Heavy kiwis will be the juiciest. 
•    Benefits:  fiber, vitamin E, vitamin C, antioxidants

Hopefully all of these tips will help you get your hands on the best fruits of summer; and keep in mind that when you buy fruit in season, it is cheaper and more nutritious.