When searching for your favorite variety of sweet cherry, look for firm, large fruit with stems intact. Cherries should be brightly colored in shades of red, pink or golden yellows. Avoid any small, hard cherries or with brown spots. However, if cherries are too soft, they are overripe and won’t work well for canning.
Like any soft summer fruit, peaches taste delicious at their ripest and juiciest. As a rule of thumb, don’t purchase peaches if they aren’t already ripe enough to eat. Once they ripen, bruises which weren’t visible before, may cause rotten spots! If you don’t intend to eat them for a day or two, purchase peaches that are firm but not hard.
Buying apricots is very similar to peaches; you want a fruit that is firm with good color. Apricots are not juicy fruits so softness should not be equated with juiciness. It may mean the apricot is too ripe. When choosing apricots, looking for plumpness and lots of golden, orange-red color. Avoid apricots that are green or pale yellow, bruised or shriveled. The final test of a good apricot is the smell. An apricot that has flavor also has a sweet fragrance.
The best plums will have a good, deep color- red, golden or purple, depending on the variety. Plums should be fairly firm to slightly soft when ripe. Avoid plums that are too hard or too soft. The fruit should be softer at the top, but watch out for skin that is wrinkled or broken. A fragrant plum is also a good indication of the perfect ripeness and will provide a lovely sweet and tart flavor!