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Texas-Grown Fruits

Texas ranks third overall in terms of citrus production in the United States. Texas also grows apples, but the Lone Star state is only 17th overall in the US when it comes to apple production. When it comes to fruit production, there is more to Texas than citrus and apples. Another ubiquitous fruit in Texas is watermelon, which is grown almost everywhere in the state.

In Greg Grant’s 2021 book entitled Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles for Texas Gardens, the author listed the fruits grown in Texas, including the following:

According to the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas, approximately 350,000 bushels of apples were produced from 225,000 trees in Texas in 1948.

Texas-Grown Fruit Trivia

  • In the 1990s, the counties that produced the most apples in Texas were Montague and Gillespie. 
  • By the middle of the 20th century, Texas growers were already harvesting a wide variety of apples like golden delicious, red delicious, King David, Holland, Jonathan, Stayman, and Winesap. At that time, apples available in August usually come from East Texas, while those available in September are usually Cross Timbers crops. Apples harvested from the Plains are the ones usually sold in Texas during the months of October to November. 
  • Speaking of fruits, the state fruit of Texas is ruby red grapefruit.
  • According to the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas, there was a time when peaches were considered the most important Texas fruit crop. It was only during the 1900s that apples became the widely-produced fruit in the state.
  • Fannin, Grayson, Van Zandt, Smith, Cooke, Hopkins, Montague, and Gregg were among the top fruit-producing counties in Texas in the 1900s. 
  • By the 1900s, Texas already had more than a million pear trees. But it will be down to 90,949 trees by 1960, and 57,351 four years later. 
  • Texas produced 236,000 bushels of pears in 1948, $1.90 a bushel, sold locally in the areas of northeast Texas, north-central Texas, and in the Trans-Pecos area. Major pear production in Texas was focused in the Panhandle, North Texas, and the upper Valley in the 1950s.
  • Peach production in Texas in 1910 centered on Parker, Eastland, Comanche, Mills, Gillespie, Cherokee, Morris, Red River, Navarro, and Limestone counties is made possible by the state’s ten million peach trees. But 20 years later, half of these trees are not producing anymore, attributed to plant diseases, droughts, and freezes that damaged trees, and ultimately, the peach production of the state.
  • From 1953 to 1957, Texas was the sixth in terms of producing peaches. Texas was tenth in 1991 when it comes to peach production in the US, and in the following year, the state harvested 10.8 million pounds of peaches, grown in East Texas, the Western Cross Timbers, the Hill Country, in Atascosa, Frio, Webb, Karnes, and Duval counties.
  • Wild Texas grapes were used in creating many hybrid grape varieties.
  • In 1900, a Texas census noted for the first time that figs are a horticultural crop in the state.
  • While Texas is not a major strawberry-producing state, in the 1960s Texas was one of only three states that grew early-spring strawberries.

Texas-Grown Fruit Buying Guide

Where to buy fruits? You can find fruits in fruit and vegetable stores, groceries, supermarkets, and roadside farmstands. You can also buy fruits from roadside peddlers.

When buying Texas-grown fruits, it is important to know the peak season for each fruit. This is important especially if you are using these fruits in your businesses and you are sourcing locally. This way, you can plan your products or recipes depending on which fruits are in season. This is not new, especially in Texas. Different local businesses – restaurants, catering, bakery, ice cream and dessert makers, and makers of jams and jellies, among others, source locally, and the flavors of the products they make often depend on what fruits are in season.  

Apples are in season from July through November. Berries are in season in the months of May, June, and July. Blackberries are harvested as early as April and are often in abundance until June. March and April are peak months for strawberries, while blueberries are in season from May through July.

Cherries and figs are in season in June and July. Grapefruit, oranges, and other citrus are in season from October to April of the following year; specifically, navel oranges season starts in October and ends in January of the following year, followed by the season of Valencia oranges which begins February and lasts until May.

Grapes are in season from August to October. Melons are in season from May to winter since cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon are grown in Texas from May through November.  Peaches, plums, pluots, and nectarines are in season from June through September. The peak season for peaches is April through August. Yellow and red varieties of plums are abundant in the months of June and July. Pears are in season from August through November. Pomegranates are in season in October, November, and December.

Harvest of sweet oriental persimmons starts to come in starting in late September up to December.

When buying Texas-grown fruits, please remember these tips.

Check for any bruising, discoloration, cuts, holes, or anything on the surface that may suggest bad quality. It could mean the fruit is overripe, or it was poorly handled somewhere between harvesting to putting it on display. It may even suggest disease or other serious considerations that make the fruit unsafe for consumption. 

Most fruits are out in the open so you can touch and smell the fruits. A firm fruit is always a good sign. You don’t want a fruit that is soft because it might be overripe already. Also, fresh fruits smell nice. There is a fresh, citrusy, sweet scent when you smell fresh fruits (not all fruits have a noticeable fresh smell). What you want to be on the lookout for is that foul smell from fruits that are overripe. 

When buying fruits, do not buy too much that a lot ends up in the refrigerator or countertop unused, uneaten, and eventually sent to the dumpster. Many fruits in Texas are available all year long, while some fruits are available for several months. If you like a particular fruit, just make sure to buy again come the next grocery day. It is better that way since the fruits you’ll get to buy are fresh.

If you want to buy young fruit trees to plant in your backyard or garden, a nursery is a good place to go.

Texas-Grown Fruit Production & Farming in Texas

The counties of Brazos, Burleson, Montgomery, Brazoria, and Upshur were producing valuable orchard crops as early as the 1850s. Galveston became the premier fruit-producing county in 1860. A decade later, Falls, Grayson, Washington, Harris, Colorado, Navarro, Lamar, and Hopkins became the leading fruit-producing counties in Texas.

Cass, Grayson, Cherokee, Fannin, Rusk, Anderson, Lamar, Smith, Leon, and Nacogdoches were the leading counties in Texas in terms of fruit production during the 1880s.

An 1890 census provided an official record of what fruits were being commercially produced in Texas: apples, peaches, pears, plums and prunes, cherries, and apricots. The list would eventually grow to include figs, Japanese persimmons, blackberries and dewberries, currants, raspberries, and strawberries come the 1900s.

Today, Texas ranks 10th overall in the US when it comes to fruit and vegetable production, according to 2019 USDA statistics, behind New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Oregon, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Washington, and California.

Commercial growers are the primary source of fruits produced in Texas. Small farms, backyard fruit trees, and enthusiasts contribute to the production of fruits, often sold locally in the community. 

Harvested fruits are either sold as fresh fruits in local farmers’ markets, specialty produce stores, groceries, and supermarkets, or sent to food manufacturing companies for food production (like canned fruit salad, jams, jellies, preserves, etc.) For example: in 1962, almost 90% of the harvested blackberries were either canned or frozen, and just 10% were sold as fresh fruits in the market. Even growers make sure to pick which variety to grow depending on where they plan to send their harvest. In the case of figs, for example, the Magnolia fig is commonly for canning while the Texas everbearing variety is sold in the fresh produce section of the market.

In the 1940s, half of the fruits harvested were sold as fresh fruits, but by the 1960s, 60% of harvested fruits were sent for processing (drying, canning, or freezing). Around the same time, Texas was producing grapes in different counties like Montague, Denton, Wise, Grayson, Wichita, San Patricio, El Paso, Reeves, and Wheeler. The grapes harvested here are sold locally, or consumed at home, with a small portion sent to Texas wineries to make wine – in Del Rio, Newcastle, and Fredericksburg. In the next three decades, grape producers will see a rise in demand for grapes to make more wines made in Texas. This is also the reason why vineyards emerged in Texas, including those in the Hill Country and the Panhandle.

Production of fruits in Texas is steady although there are challenges that impact fruit production in the state, then and now. Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas, the fruit production industry in Texas was beset by a variety of problems in the mid-1960s, including rising production costs, labor problems, lack of mechanization, and lack of water. There were also severe freezes that happened during the winters of 1983–84 and 1989, adversely affecting the fruit acreage and production. Fast-forward to 2021: a winter storm has devastated many parts of Texas, damaging fruits and fruit trees and threatening Texas’ fruit production and supply. 

In November, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert Dr. Juan Anciso reported that the citrus trees in Texas affected by the winter storm are recovering and bearing fruits – a beneficial turn of events considering the zero-production anticipated as a result of the winter storm damage. Production is expected to return to normal in 2022. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension horticulturist Larry Stein reported an above-average crop for peaches and blackberries, despite the damage caused by the February winter storm.

There are also other factors that affect the production of fruits in Texas and the ability of fruit trees to grow in some places and not thrive in others. Varying weather (or weather patterns) and growing conditions (soil type, water conditions) are two common reasons why fruit trees grow or not in specific areas in Texas. Whether the fruit is adapted or not adapted to the conditions influences the viability of specific fruits in specific places in Texas. Fruit growers also have to constantly be on the lookout for perennial problems like rainfall, pests, diseases, natural disasters, etc.

Another potential fruit tree problem is cotton root rot affecting fruit trees like apple trees, peach trees, pear trees, citrus trees, and grapevines. The best way to avoid this problem is to avoid planting in old cotton farms. It also helps to acidify the soil and increase the soil’s organic matter content.

After talking about things that deter the growth of fruit trees and fruit production, let us also consider the reasons why certain fruits grow well in Texas. Citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges love sunny days and warm nights – two things common in Texas, making key parts of the Lone Star State ideal locations for growing fruit trees that will yield fruit. 

When we talk about the production of Texas-grown fruit, we should also include other fruits which are not as popular as apples, berries, and peaches. The Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas wanted to highlight other fruits that are native in Texas besides the popular citrus fruits. Fruits indigenous to Texas include:

  • Forty-nine species of red haws (Crataegus), are endemic in the rich bottomlands of Coastal Texas.
  • Two species of persimmon (Diospyros) are native to central, south, and west Texas.
  • One species of blackhaw (Viburnum), which, according to Texas A&M, “grows in woods and thickets in moist or dry soil in East Texas.”
  • One species of pawpaw (Asimina), is native to the deep acidic soils of East Texas.
  • One species of whortleberries (Vaccinium), which, according to Texas A&M, grows “in sandy soils in the pinelands and open mixed forests along wooded streams of Eastern Texas.”

While citrus is, without question, a major fruit product in Texas, the Lone Star state also grows other fruits. According to the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas, there are:

  • Twenty species and five varieties of plums and cherries (Prunus) 
  • Fifteen species and five varieties of grapes (Vitis)
  • Six species of currants and gooseberries (Ribes) 
  • Five species and one variety of crabapples (Pyrus or Malus)
  • Four species of mulberries (Morus)

Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:

Dr. Monte Nesbitt, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulture Personnel, provided a compiled guide that includes the problems of Texas fruit trees and how to manage these problems. It also mentions which Texas government agency can help those with problems growing fruit trees in Texas. Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the Texas AgriLife Extension Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory can provide help and assistance regarding matters involving fruits trees in Texas.

  • AG‐Streptomycin – This fungicide is used to manage fire blight affecting pears and apples. 
  • Agrobacterium radiobacter (Strain K84) – This chemical is used to manage crown gall affecting Texas fruit trees.
  • Azoxystrobin – This fungicide is used to treat pecan scab.
  • Boscalid – This fungicide is used to treat pecan scab and to manage blackberry double blossom disease.
  • Calcium polysulfide – This fungicide is used to manage sweet orange scab/sour scab.
  • Chlorothalonil – This fungicide is used to manage brown rot on plum and peaches.
  • Cyprodinil – This fungicide is used to manage blackberry double blossom disease.
  • Ethylene bisdithiocarbamate – This fungicide is used to manage grape fungal problems. 
  • Esfenvalerate – This insecticide is used to manage pests like the peach tree borer.
  • Fenbuconazole – This fungicide is used to manage brown rot on plum and peaches, and to treat pecan scab and sweet orange scab/sour scab.
  • Fludioxonil – This fungicide is used to manage blackberry double blossom disease.
  • Fungicide with azoxystrobin – This is used to manage blackberry double blossom disease.
  • Imidacloprid – This insecticide is used to manage citrus leafminers and psyllids.
  • Insecticide with chlorpyrifos – This insecticide is used to kill pecan nut casebearers and peach tree borers.
  • Insecticides with methoxyfenozide and spinetoram – This insecticide is used to kill pecan nut casebearers.
  • Insecticide with phosmet – This is used to manage plum curculio.
  • Insecticides with zeta-cypermethrin, bifenthrin, and carbaryl – These insecticides kill pecan nut casebearers, plum curculio, and peach tree borers. This is also used to manage grape fungal problems.
  • Kresoxim‐methyl – This fungicide is used to treat pecan scab.
  • Lime sulfur – This is used to manage grape fungal problems.
  • Malathion – This insecticide is used to kill pecan nut casebearer, leaffooted bugs on citrus trees, citrus leafminers, peach tree borers, and psyllids. This is also used to manage brown rot on plum and peaches.
  • Myclobutanil + Bt – This fungicide is used to manage grape fungal problems. 
  • Permethrin – This insecticide is used to manage problems on apple, peach, pear, and pecan fruit trees like plum curculio, leaffooted bugs on citrus trees, psyllids, and peach tree borers.
  • Pesticides with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) – This insecticide is used to kill pecan nut casebearers.
  • Propiconazole – This fungicide is used to manage pecan powdery mildew and to treat pecan scab.
  • Pyraclostrobin – This fungicide is used to treat pecan scab and blackberry double blossom disease.
  • Spinosad – This insecticide is used to kill pecan nut casebearers, citrus leafminers, and orange dog (Swallowtail Butterfly larvae), and to manage grape fungal problems.
  • Tebuconazole – This fungicide is used to treat pecan scab.
  • Thiophanate methyl – This fungicide is used to treat pecan scab.
  • Trifloxystrobin – This fungicide is used to manage pecan powdery mildew. 

While many farms, orchards, and plantations have resorted to organic farming and growing fruits, the use of pesticides and chemicals remains part of the fruit-growing landscape here in Texas.

Geography   

Texas is a big state and each region has its own characteristics and qualities that influence what fruits are grown there, if any. 

In the North Texas region, an important consideration for growing fruit trees is the region’s mild winters, hot summers, and frequent storms in the spring, while in East Texas, there is the humid, subtropical climate with occasional cold air from the north that can affect whether a fruit tree can thrive or not. Geographically, Central Texas is a hilly grassland with plateaus, large rock formations, and vegetation, whereas, along the Coastal Bend, you can find many streams and rivers that sustain the local flora and fauna. The Rio Grande Valley is known for its citrus and vegetable production (the southwestern portion of Texas is also known for year-round vegetable production), made possible by the warm weather and rich soil here. In the West Texas region of Trans-Pecos, it is important to consider the quality and condition of the soil which varies at different elevations.

According to Texas A&M, the Davis Mountains and the High Plains region near Lubbock are two examples of successfully growing apple trees and harvesting apples on a commercial scale in Texas. 

When it comes to citrus fruits, the best place for that would be the South Texas Plains region (including the Rio Grande Valley – the largest producer of citrus fruits in the United States. Southeast Texas has a lot of plum, peach, and pear trees.

Southcentral and eastern parts of the state, as well as Parker, Grimes, and Harris counties, are known hotspots of watermelon production in Texas, and half of the acreage dedicated to growing watermelon is located in Rio Grande plains and in the sandy lands of East Texas.

If you are in Central Texas, it is highly likely that you will see peach, persimmon, loquat, pomegranate, plum, olives, satsuma, lemon, key lime, and fig trees. If you are looking for figs in Texas during the early part of the 20th century (1900 to 1930), the best places to visit are the south and southwest of Houston, Galveston, and Brazoria. Harris, Matagorda, Jefferson, and Orange can also stake a claim in the production of figs, as well as the Gulf Coast area when it comes to producing figs for commercial sales.

When it comes to Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana) and Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana), the best place to grow it is in Texas Hill Country (Central and South Texas). These two fruits are native to this region of Texas. Other fruits found here include southern dewberry (Rubus trivialis), creek plum (Prunus rivularis), common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), and woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca).

In the Texas Gulf Coast, you will find the cold-hardy opal avocadoes, which can tolerate the light freezes in the Gulf Coast area.

Other fruits grown in the Gulf Coast include the Sam Houston peach tree which was developed by Texas A&M; the Owari Satsuma mandarin orange tree (this tree produces small oranges that mature in November); The Republic of Texas Orange (a thorny, cold-tolerant citrus tree that yields medium-size oranges in December); and the Meyer lemon (a large container plant, ideal for growers living in apartments or small spaces and for folks that has a small yard.

The recommended fig varieties to grow on the Gulf Coast are Malta figs and Celeste figs. But in many parts of Texas where fig trees grow, the best varieties are the Texas Everbearing variety (also known as Brown Turkey), the Alma variety, and the Kodota variety.

In the High Plains and the Texas Panhandle, fruits that are commonly grown include apples and grapes. This allows winemakers in Texas to continue making wines using locally-grown grapes.

The 1979 issue of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weekly Weather & Crop Bulletin made note of “Pecan trees budding southern High Plains.”

Panhandle-Plains are known for the cherry trees here. Cherries are grown in Wheeler, Lipscomb, and Oldham counties on the High Plains. Among the varieties of cherry grown in Texas is the Early Richmond variety.

Cantaloupe was initially produced by Webb, Presidio, Reeves, and Hidalgo counties which grew two hybrids back in 1949, wherein 5,100 acres of land produced 306,000 crates of cantaloupe in that year, from 273,000 crates grown on 5,280 acres from 1937–46. The lands where cantaloupe was grown grew to 13,000 acres by 1990 but two years later, it was limited to just 11,000 acres.

From 1900 to 1930, a period when strawberries are considered as the most important berry crop produced by Texas, the production of strawberries is confined primarily to places like Hidalgo, Galveston, Brazoria, Harris, Atascosa, Smooth, and Wood county in East Texas, and the coastal area below Houston as well as the Winter Garden Region, and in the Poteet area, south of San Antonio by 1990.

During the 20th century, the production of prunes and plums was located in East Texas, including Houston, Smith, Wood, Upshur, Rusk, Van Zandt, and Cherokee.

Packaging

Fresh fruits – Packaging of fresh fruits varies depending on the size of the fruit and whether the fruits are sold in pieces or by weight (like grapes and blueberries, for example). It is common to see fruits like apples, oranges, lemons, and other fruits sold without any packaging. You’d also find stores that sell these fruits wrapped in a plastic wrapper. Strawberries, berries, and grapes are sold in a plastic pack or plastic clamshell container. Another common fruit packaging is a plastic or styrofoam tray.  

Some come in round or rectangular waterproof transparent clamshell boxes with a lid made of PET material that can be used both for storage or display, or a sealable and reclosable transparent vented plastic produce bag made with high-clarity lamination film. You’ll also find green oak leaf lettuce sold in plastic packaging with a Grab and Go handle for convenience.

Another packaging option is the vented stand-up produce pouch. The design of the bag allows it to stand upright, which is ideal for display and storage purposes. Companies that seek to be environmentally friendly opt for packaging made from recycled materials like recycled PET, post-consumer recycled PET, or plant-based plastics (PLA).

Canned – Canned fruits are sold in cans or glass jars.

Dried – Dried fruits are sold in vacuum-sealed plastic packaging.

Enjoying Texas-Grown Fruits

Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet. In Texas, some cultural practices involve eating fruit. For example, eating peaches from a fruit stand or farmers’ market is considered a summer practice in the state.

While fruits are beneficial and Texas is producing fruits sold locally, one of the challenges is making sure Texans eat enough fruits. This prompted studies focused on shedding light on the problem, designing an intervention, and seeing if any past or current efforts are effective and if there are changes resulting from the intervention. Studies like the “2011 Disparities in Fruits Consumption in Houston, Texas”, published by the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health; “The Effect of Distance and Cost on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Rural Texas”, published by the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics; and “Rural versus Urban Texas WIC Participants’ Fruit and Vegetable Consumption”, published by American Journal of Health Behavior, serve as a reminder that fruit consumption should remain part of the health agenda of stakeholders – local government, businesses, schools, communities, and families.

In 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only 1 in 10 adults eat enough fruits.

Organizations working on the nutrition and health of Texans like the Central Texas Food Bank are also aware of the problem of not having enough fruit. That is why Central Texas Food Bank, for example, has programs and strategies focused on getting kids to eat more fruits.

Where do we get the fruit we eat every day?

Fresh – The fruits we consume when we eat come in different forms. The most common is the fresh fruit. Wash it, peel it, eat it. Some fresh fruits do not require peeling, like apples. Some fruits do not require peeling but you need to make sure to remove the stem or pit, like strawberries and cherries.

Canned – Many fruits are seasonal, and one way to make sure these fruits are still available even if they are out of season is by canning. Canned fruits are usually ready to eat.

Dried fruits – Like canned fruits, dried fruits give us another option to consume the fruits we like even if these fruits are out of season. The downside is dried fruits are somewhat different in form and texture compared to fresh fruits. Fresh ripe mangoes, for example, are soft and juicy, while dried mangoes are dry and tender. You can use fresh or canned fruits to make a fruit shake or smoothie or fruit salad, something that you cannot do using dried fruits. The upside? Dried fruits are less messy and easier to pack, carry, and eat compared to fresh fruits. 

How do we consume fruit?

We eat whole fruits. You don’t need to add anything else to fruit to be able to eat it. And you don’t need to cook or prepare fruit so that it becomes palatable. Just wash it (and in some cases, peel the skin or cut it into smaller pieces) and eat it! We eat fruits as a snack, as dessert, or as part of our breakfast meal. We also eat fruit when we eat food that has fruits in it, as an ingredient to savory and sweet dishes, pastries and baked goods, etc. Fresh fruits, dried fruits, and canned fruits are used as ingredients in making sweet and savory dishes like fresh salad, stews, soups, pies, and many more. Whole or cut fruits are also used in making desserts, from cakes to ice creams to popsicles.

We “drink” our fruits – Another way to consume fruits is by making fruit smoothies, shakes, and fruit juices. Many people enjoy consuming fruits this way because it is convenient, refreshing, and delicious. 

We spread fruit on bread. Fruits are used in making fruit jellies, fruit preserves, fruit jams, and fruit butter. We use these to spread fruit on bread. We can also be a little creative and use fruit jellies, preserves, and jams to add a fruity flavor to our oatmeals and pancakes or use it as topping for our ice cream or yogurt.  

As a state that produces a variety of fruits, it is not surprising to find local businesses sourcing locally-produced fruits to produce their products, from seasonal ice cream flavors to small-batch fruit preserves to freshly-made artisanal baked goods that incorporate fruits in season.

Storage

Apples. Store apples in the refrigerator crisper drawer in a plastic bag with holes, or wrap apples with a damp paper towel. To keep cut apples from turning brown during storage, put these first in saltwater. Wash before eating to remove the salty taste. Apples emit ethylene gas, causing other fruits and vegetables to go bad faster.

Avocados. Store ripe avocados whole and uncut inside the fridge, where they will keep for up to three days. Leave unripe avocados on the counter until they ripen. Putting unripe avocados in the refrigerator means the avocados will take longer to ripen.

Blackberries. Keep blackberries refrigerated. They will keep for three or four days. Before freezing blackberries, make sure the fruits are clean. Frozen blackberries will last longer.

Blueberries. Make sure every blueberry you are storing in the refrigerator is in good condition because one bad blueberry will turn every blueberry bad. In the refrigerator, blueberries will keep for a week. Wash blueberries only before eating them.

Cantaloupes. Put cantaloupes in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. Cut cantaloupe should be placed in a container with a lid. You can store these in the refrigerator for three days.

Cherries. Put cherries in a sealed plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. Here, these will keep for two weeks. Do not wash cherries before storing them. Wash them before you eat them, and wash only those you will eat. Unless you plan to freeze your cherries, which requires thorough washing and removal of the cherry pits.

Figs. Put figs in the coldest part of the refrigerator. It will keep for two days. Frozen figs will keep for one year.

Grapefruits. Grapefruits can be stored at room temperature for up to a week. In the refrigerator, grapefruits will keep for a month. Just make sure to remove the skin and pith before freezing them.

Grapes. Grapes will stay in good condition for as long as two weeks if you refrigerate them. Don’t wash your grapes before storing them and only wash them before consumption. Keep away from food with a strong odor. Grapes will absorb it and you will end up with grapes that smell bad. If you are freezing your grapes, wash them carefully and use a freezer-safe bag. Once you thaw your frozen grapes, you cannot freeze them again or return them back to the refrigerator.

Lemons. Lemons on the counter at room temperature will stay in good condition for one to two weeks. In the refrigerator, lemons can last for one month. For Meyer lemons, it is better to keep them outside the fridge because refrigerating Meyer lemons will cause the lemon to desiccate and dry out faster because of Meyer lemon’s thinner skin.  

Muscadines. After buying muscadine grapes from the market or grocery store, make sure to refrigerate them. Use the plastic clamshell container it came with, or transfer it to a food container with a lid. Keep it closed because if the container is open and the muscadine grapes are exposed, the result is dehydrated muscadine grapes. Make sure to eat these in 5 to 7 days. You can also freeze fresh muscadine grapes. This is how you can store them to last for several months.

Oranges. Store oranges on the countertop at room temperature. If you want oranges to last longer than a week, store them in the refrigerator, where oranges will keep for as long as one month. Do not wash oranges before refrigerating because this may cause mold growth. If you want to freeze oranges, make sure to peel the oranges first. Use a freezer-safe bag or container.

Pears. Store pears on the countertop at room temperature if you expect to eat the pears in one to two weeks. If you need the pears to keep longer, refrigerating pears means these fruits can last for up to three months. Freezing pears is not a good idea.

Peaches. Unripe peaches should be stored at room temperature. Refrigerating unripe peaches might keep the fruit from fully ripening. Ripe peaches can be stored in the refrigerator, where these will stay fresh for five days. In the freezer, the peaches will keep for a month.

Persimmon. Persimmon can stay in good condition inside the refrigerator for months. Wrap each persimmon in individual wrapping before storing it in the freezer to avoid freezer burn.

Plums. In the refrigerator, plums can stay fresh for a month. You can freeze plums where they will keep for a year, but first, make sure you remove the pit first before putting plums in the freezer.

Raspberries. It is not advisable to store raspberries after buying these in the market because raspberries are very perishable fruits. You can try storing it in the fridge but make sure to eat your raspberries in three days. It would be better to freeze them. Wash the raspberries and pat them dry with a paper towel before putting these in the freezer.

Strawberries. Strawberries will keep in the refrigerator for seven days. Strawberries treated with vinegar and water will last in the refrigerator for two weeks. If you want to freeze strawberries, make sure to remove the stems first. 

Watermelons. Watermelons can stay on the countertop for up to two weeks without going bad. Sliced watermelons can be stored inside the refrigerator for a few days. Do not store uncut watermelons inside the fridge, as this can lead to it spoiling ahead of its time. Watermelons do not freeze well. Avoid storing sliced watermelon in the freezer.

Cooking 

Fruits are a major ingredient in cooking savory or sweet dishes. Apple pie is popular but you can also use apples and/or strawberries in your chicken salad, cucumber salad, or fresh garden salad.

Use berries to make a glaze for roasted or pan-fried salmon or balsamic for roasted chicken. Use different berries and citrus fruits to make a spinach salad, or add these to roasted Brussel sprouts and bacon. While pineapple gets a lot of disapproving groans from people who believe it should not be used as a pizza topping, you can actually use fruits like berries as toppings for your custom pizza, pairing it with savory ingredients like prosciutto.

Skewer watermelons and shrimps to make kabobs, or use watermelons to make salad or gazpacho, or salsa for your steak. Cut it into cubes and top with cucumber, onions, and herbs for a great savory appetizer.  

Make a spicy oven-roasted plum side dish if you are roasting or frying pork or chicken. Plums are also great paired with duck breast. Or make plum salsa or chicken plum pie.

Use fig to bake fig and rosemary focaccia. If you have arugula, you can combine it with fig to make a delicious salad. Use this as topping for your pizza or as bread stuffing. Use fig to flavor your pork roast, or combine fig, salami, and ricotta – the savory flavor profile of this food is amazing.

For peaches, there are different kinds of salads that you can make, like arugula salad, Caprese salad, summer salad, chicken salad, macaroni salad, and bacon salad, to name a few. Peaches are also a great ingredient for making different kinds of salsa, like peach-avocado salsa or peach-cucumber, which are perfect for grilled, roasted, or pan-fried meats. Combine peaches, beets, and tarragon to make a delicious soup, or use peach to make basting sauce and add a sweet, citrusy flavor to roasted or slow-cooked ribs. Peaches and tomatoes together make a great gazpacho or pizza toppings. You can skewer this along with your meats if you are planning a barbecue. Don’t forget to make peach bruschetta or peach jalapeno guacamole.

You can use pears to make blue cheese cheesecake, tarts, and other pastries. Pears taste great with different kinds of meat and meat dishes. Combine with prosciutto and you have your toppings for pizza. Alongside ham, you can make a great pear and ham panini. If you have bacon and blue cheese, you can make a delicious sandwich. You can also use pears along with sausages to stuff baked squash. Caramelized pears and grilled pork chops go well together. Or combine pear and mango to make salsa. If you want to make a salad, use pears, caramelized pecans, blue cheese, and greens, to make pear salad.

A great idea for dessert is to make persimmon pudding or persimmon custard. Persimmon is a great ingredient to use when making different kinds of salads; you can combine it with beets or with bitter greens and walnuts. Another must-try recipe is persimmon, pork, and greens.

Nutritional Benefits

The popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” suggests that the apple is the best fruit to have in terms of health benefits. The truth is more complicated than that. Ranking fruits to see which one is the most nutritious of all could be challenging because the best fruit to eat depends on what you need at the moment to achieve optimal health – it could be vitamin C or fiber or a specific vitamin or mineral. If you need fiber, go for raspberries (which some people believe is the best of all fruits in terms of nutritional value). Protein? Eat passion fruit. Eat dates for calcium and magnesium and persimmons for iron. Guava is the best option for potassium, folate, and vitamin C, and blackberries are the best source of zinc. Need choline? Eat clementine.

Having said that, the bottom line regarding fruits is that fruits – low in fat, sodium, and calories plus zero cholesterol – are good for you. Period. Fruits are nutrient-dense. Many fruits have a high-quality macronutrient profile.  Many fruits are high in protein and low in calories. They are packed with phytochemicals that the body needs.  Fruits provide us with the nutrients we need like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, and many others. Fruits help us manage uncomfortable situations and help the body get better. Fruits are very useful in many ways, from managing inflammation to losing weight to boosting brain and heart health.

A healthy diet includes eating fruit every day. If you eat fruits – and there are many choices of fruit in Texas – you can minimize the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Nutrition

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