Summer is well underway and that means lots of fresh and nutritious produce is plentifully available.
Seasonal eating (buying fruits and veggies at the same time as harvest) has become trendy in the last few years, and for good reason.
“It is good to eat seasonal foods because being consumed fresh means they will taste best and be highest in their nutrient content,” says Katherine Carithers, MHA, RD, LDN, a clinical nutrition manager at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “It can also be something fun to look forward to each year as many summer dishes are built around seasonal foods.”
Buying seasonally can often mean supporting local growers at the community farmers’ markets, another popular summertime phenomenon in recent years.
If you’re wondering what’s good for summer, Katherine has compiled a list of seasonal produce that’s ripe and ready. They are also packed with nutrients.
Seasonal from July through October, there are thousands of varieties available. Their satisfying crunch makes consuming the fiber and vitamin C very enjoyable.
In the northeast, peak season is June and July. They’re high in anthocyanins, which gives these delectable drupes get their red color. Cherries are often touted for their anti-inflammatory properties.
These berries come from prickly bushes, such as the blackberry or raspberry. They are great low-sugar additions to salads, topped on yogurt or oatmeal, and make a healthful, satisfying snack on their own. Plus they’re both high in antioxidants.
Also a drupe, this fruit becomes seasonal in late July through September. This stone fruit is a source of vitamins A, C, and E. They contain other polyphenols, which may have disease-fighting effects.
In season throughout the summer. They are higher in vitamin C than oranges and also contain folate, potassium, fiber, and manganese.
A popular salad base that’s high in beta-carotene and flavonoids. Arugula is seasonal in the summer and early fall. It has a peppery flavor that makes a great salad, but it’s also tasty topped on pizza or mixed into omelets and pasta dishes.
7. Zucchini and Summer Squash
These veggies are low in calories and rich in B-vitamins and fiber. They’re mild in flavor so kids may enjoy them. These vegetables pair well with most other foods and are versatile enough to be baked, grilled, roasted, or transformed into noodles topped with your favorite sauce.
Roots that come into season in the summer and stay with us through the fall. Carrots are well-known for being high in beta carotene, but they’re also a good source of potassium and vitamins K and E. They make quick and easy snacks in their raw form, but when cooked, the beta carotene is actually more bio-available.
Another leaf vegetable that comes into season in the summer and remains seasonable through the fall. Kale has gained popularity recently because of its high levels of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamin and mineral content for a low calorie food. When preparing kale, remove the middle rib before washing. If enjoying raw, it is recommended to massage the pieces to tenderize. Kale can be enjoyed in salads, soups, smoothies, and stir-fried with garlic.
Use your fresh produce in this great recipe for a kale summer salad.
2 pounds curly kale, stemmed and leaves thinly sliced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and julienned
Massage kale with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt to taste. Let stand for a few minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice, soy sauce, your sweetener and remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in carrot and apple. Enjoy!