When living in South Korea it is important to purchase your fruits during their peak seasons as some fruits can get super expensive. Buying in-season fruits in Korea always tastes better. However, this is not the only benefit. When you buy fruits at peak season you will get more natural nutrients. This is because seasonal fruits don’t have long transit times. The faster it goes from the farm and into your mouth the better. Lastly, you will save a lot of money. When fruits in Korea are in season, farmers will have an abundance of them which means lower prices. A big tip would be to try to locate fruit trucks as they offer not only the best price but also the freshest fruits.
Below is a complete list of the Best Fruits to buy in South Korea for each month.
January – Mandarins
These mandarins come from the island of Jeju. Jeju produces the best mandarins in the world. Therefore, if you buy mandarins in Korea make sure to not only buy them in December but also make sure they are from Jeju. These mandarins are renowned for their excellent taste. In addition, they are grown in rich volcanic ash coils and in a temperate climate. Moreover, since Jeju Island has a warm temperate zone and tropical oceanic climate, it is able to produce sweet, juicy, and low-acidic mandarins. These mandarins will stay fresh for around 2 weeks under proper refrigeration.
February – Pomegranate
Pomegranates are the few fruits in Korea where the vast majority are imported from abroad. Therefore, most of the pomegranates are imported into South Korea from the United States. South Korea choose the United States as its main supplier because the pomegranates produced there are more uniform and consistent in color, shape, and size. Koreans love pomegranates because of their many health benefits. A soju brand in Korea even made a pomegranate soju! If you go to Korean department stores there will usually be an area where they sell fresh fruit juices, this is the best place to buy fresh pomegranate juice.
March – Strawberries
Korea has many strawberry farms where you can go do some strawberry picking. The best part is that you can take home 500g to 1kg of the strawberries you have picked. The peak strawberry season in Korea is in March and we would recommend you visit strawberry farms in Yangsu which is about 30 minutes outside of Seoul. There you will be able to get the freshest strawberries in Korea. If you don’t want to travel then try to find local farmers that set up shops along the streets of Seoul selling only strawberries. These will most likely be the freshest batch from local farms.
April – Tomatoes
Tomatoes in Korea can come in many colors from red to orange to even green. The size is similar to typical tomatoes but the taste is less tart and has a more grainy texture. Most Koreans use these tomatoes to make tomato juice. Now for westerners, this might sound a big gross but tomato juice in Korea is actually pretty good. They blend the tomatoes with water and a little sugar or honey. So it is nothing like a V8.
May – Watermelon
Before summer officially kicks off in Korea, watermelons can be found in almost any market. Make sure to buy them right before summer since they are at their lowest prices. You can find a 6kg watermelon for 10,000 won. Try to find watermelon trucks in your area for the best deals. Koreans like to make juices out of them or eat them in slices. Moreover, you can easily buy fresh watermelon juice around Seoul from juice stores from late April to early August.
June – Korean Melons
Korean melons are called Chamoe and are a popular fruit during the hot summertime in Korea. Most come from the North Gyeongsang Province. Korean melons are not as sweet as melons. However, they have that nice crunch to them which is great for snacking. The best way to have them is chilled without the skin and the seeds. It is a must-try when you visit Korea.
July – Campbell Early Grapes
Grape harvesting in Korea starts in July and lasts until September. Campbell Early grapes are the most popular in Korea (60%) and the most delicious. These are larger grapes with a few seeds inside. The seeds can be swallowed or spit out. It is rich in vitamins and sugar which make it an effective solution for skincare and fatigue recovery. Furthermore, it is also loaded with potassium which promotes sodium excretion and helps control blood pressure.
August – Peach
Korea offers some of the softest and juiciest peaches in the world. You will be able to find fruit trucks in Korea during August that sell these delicious Korean peaches. Korean peaches are mainly produced in Gyeonggi-do and Chungcheong-do. The most popular peach brand in Korea is Hatsarae which has a 7-day shelf-life at room temperature. In Korea, it is highly recommended to eat them at room temperature for the best flavors.
September – Apples
Koreans love to eat apples in the fall and their top choice are the Fuji apples. In addition, there is even an apple festival in Cheongsong for those interested in picking apples in Korea. Some older generations use the peeled skin as moisturizers for their skin!
October – Korean Pear
Those that love apples will love Korean pears. They are round and much bigger and juicier than typical peers. They are very sweet and have a white interior that is hard and crisp when ripe. Therefore, these pears are sometimes referred to as apple pears. The skin is very thin and Koreans move to put these pears in salads. Furthermore, Korean pear juices are a great Korean hangover drink. It is regarded as one of the more popular fruits to buy in South Korea.
November – Persimmon
There are two types of persimmons sold in South Korea. One type has a deep orange color and is shaped like an acorn. It is very soft and sweet with a lot of pulp. The other type is the more common type and it has a light-colored orange flesh. It is more rounded with a flat bottom almost like a miniature pumpkin. Moreover, you can eat these with or without the skin.
December – Shine Muscat
A new grape variety called Shine Muscat is one of the most popular fruits to buy in Korea in December. Koreans love it for its unique taste which has a musky flavor. It is not as sour as other types of grapes. However, Shine muscats are very expensive as most of the grapes come from farms that are located in the North Gyeongsang Province. Shine Muscats are the most Instagrammed fruit in Korea with over 15,000 posts a year with the hashtag #Shinemuscat.