Are you ready for the 2016 fruit season?
It is June, which means that fruit season 2016 is upon us. Whether you grow your own fruit or buy it, you can look forward to a juicy, colourful summer.
Knowing what is ready in the 2016 fruit season
Summer is when most fruits are ready to harvest in the UK and the best way to test for ripeness is to squeeze the fruit gently while it is still on the tree. Most fruits should be left to ripen naturally but others, such as pears, need to be picked before they can ripen on the tree to avoid developing a gritty texture. Gooseberries should also be picked under-ripe if you want to use them in cooking; otherwise, leave them until they are soft.
It is usually obvious when fruits are ripe; for example, green strawberries should be left on the plant. Berries will be soft and richly coloured when ready. If a fruit seems reluctant to be picked, it may need to be left a little longer – ripe fruits usually detach easily.
Nature will usually tell you when bush and cane fruits are ready to pick, as you will notice the birds hanging around your crop. Birds are voracious; therefore, you will need to protect your fruit and pick it quickly if you don’t want to lose the lot!
2016 fruit season schedule
Your fruit will generally ripen at about the same time each year, with a little variation provided by different weather conditions during the growing and harvesting period. The first fruits that will need your attention are gooseberries, redcurrants, rhubarb and strawberries, which should be ready to pick this month. Fruit season 2016 will really take off in July, with white, red and blackcurrants, cherries, gooseberries, loganberries, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries and tayberries all reaching peak ripeness.
By August you could find some early apples, while blackcurrants, cherries, raspberries, strawberries and tayberries soldier on. You should also be able to enjoy blackberries and plums in August. September is when things start to slow down but you will still find blackberries, plums, raspberries and strawberries at their best, with mid-season apples and elderberries coming into their own.
As the evenings draw in and the temperatures drop, you may find some late raspberries and strawberries plus elderberries, pears, plums and apples. When November comes, all that is really left to pick is late apples.
Bear in mind that warmer weather can promote early ripening; therefore, you may find blackberries ready in July, about a month ahead of schedule.