Eating local in-season fruits and vegetables means that the food you are eating is not only tastier but also more nutritious. Produce that is out of season has to be picked earlier so that it does not ripen until it makes its way to you. When fruits and vegetables ripen fully on the plant they are able to develop more nutrients, not to mention flavor. Luckily, summer offers an abundance of delicious produce. Whether you’re growing them yourself, grabbing them at the farmer’s market or simply picking them up during your regular grocery run, here are the best fruits and vegetables in season this summer.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries all come into season during the months of June, July and August. They offer a wealth of health benefits including disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. Look for berries that are firm with a pleasant scent. Those that are pale or hard have likely been picked before ripening and will be sour.
Tomatoes are most known nutritionally for the antioxidant lycopene which fights antioxidants and helps prevent certain kinds of cancers. Ripe tomatoes should be firm but not overly hard with an intact skin. Choose from a huge variety including cherry or grape tomatoes, Big Boy or a wide selection of heirloom tomatoes. Tomatoes are great eaten fresh with mozzarella and basil, popped into a salad or slow cooked into delicious sauce.
There is nothing quite like a juicy, delicious peach in the middle of summer. Stone fruit like peaches, plums, and nectarines have been shown to protect against obesity-related diseases like diabetes. They also contain an impressive amount of fiber and vitamin C. Stay away from peaches that are too hard or too soft; the best ones will yield just slightly to a firm push of the finger. Fresh peaches are perfect for a snack as is, or you can slice one over your bowl of oatmeal or yogurt.
Cucumbers are easily overlooked, but they contain vitamin K and potassium and can help keep you hydrated during the hot summer days. Some cucumber varieties are bumpy, but any ripe cucumber should be firm with unwrinkled skin. Add cucumbers to summer salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta salads or veggie platters.