There's one time of year that I find myself perusing the produce aisle like it's a candy store—berry season! During this time, berries are not only cheaper, they taste better and are packed with more nutrients. Whether you pick them straight from the patch or grocery store, your berries will taste a lot better if you select them at their peak ripeness. Here’s how to spot the season’s best berries:

Strawberries

  • Ripe strawberries are completely bright red—no red or white spots, which indicate that the berry is under-ripe.
  • The stem should still be attached to the berry. Strawberries without their caps will spoil quickly.
  • Feel the berry in your hand. It should be firm but give slightly when you press on it.
  • Ripe strawberries will smell sweet and emit a very strong strawberry smell.

Raspberries

  • You will know your raspberries are ripe when they are a bright red in color.
  • Look for raspberries that are firm-looking, not partially deflated.
  • Do not select raspberries that have the hulls still attached. This usually means that they were picked too early and will be sour.

Blueberries

  • Ripe blueberries are completely blue in color, from the stem to the bottom of the berry.
  • A frosty look or powdery surface also indicates that it is ripe and fresh.
  • Do not pick blueberries that are reddish or green in color—unlike other fruits, blueberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked.
  • The berry should feel firm to the touch when you press it between your fingers.

Blackberries

  • Select blackberries that are deep black in color—they are under-ripe if they have a reddish tinge.
  • Ripe blackberries will look plump and feel firm to the touch.
  • Hold one of the berries in your hand and squeeze it gently between your fingers. It is ripe if it begins to leak juice or looks like it is going to burst open.