Summer Produce: Enjoy Nature’s Bounty

Blueberries imported from Chile. Green beans imported from Mexico. Oranges imported from Spain. Modern shipping and storage technology has given us year-round access to any fruit or vegetable we might want at any time of year. However, this produce has often traveled thousands of miles to get to our plates, and as a result, it is not in its “first bloom of Summer Produce: Enjoy Nature’s Bountyyouth.”

Why buy imported when you can buy local? In the summer, nature’s goodness abounds, from local farmer’s markets to USConnect’s Bistro To Go!™ kiosks. Here’s your best guide to summer’s best fruits and vegetables.

Berries

Summer is the best time for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, which usually come into season in that specific order. From the first strawberries in May to the last raspberries of August, berries are full of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.

Pit Fruit

Peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums come into season in June and last throughout the summer. Packed with vitamins A and C, manganese, and potassium, pit fruits can last longer and travel better than local berries.

Tomatoes

Although tomatoes are widely available year-round, the fresh tomatoes of summer bear little resemblance to the pale, mealy winter varieties. Slice them with some fresh basil, grill them, or chop them into a chilled gazpacho; their high level of lycopene will help keep your heart healthy.

Greens

Salads can be a healthy year-round meal, but the greens and lettuces of summer can’t be beat. Experiment beyond iceberg with darker, more flavorful greens like arugula, red leaf, and red Boston lettuce. The darker the leaf, the more nutrients like iron, folate, and vitamin K it will have.

Summer Squash

Summer squash and zucchini can be a little blah if just steamed, but try them on the grill with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or sauté them in olive oil with some sweet onions for a delicious side dish. They are a good source of fiber and vitamin B6

Green Beans

Green beans last a long time in cold storage, which means that by the time you buy them from the grocery store, they could already be a month old. That’s a great reason to buy them in the summer, when they’re fresh. Green beans are high in beta-carotene and omega-3s.

 

 

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