A P R I C O T S :
Apricots are fresh and in season from late spring through early July. Sweet and fragrant, these fruits are high in beta carotene, lycopene vitamin C and fiber. For the best flavor, seek out local fruit and look for those that are deep orange, plump and soft (but not mushy) to ensure they are ripe and ready to eat. Try out this roasted Apricot breakfast recipe from one of my favorite blogs, here.
A R U G U L A :
I especially love using arugula in salads, with its artistically-shaped leaves and peppery flavor, the leafy green packs quite a flavor punch into each bite. Arugula is low calorie and a great source of vitamins C and A, but an even better source of Vitamin K, which is important for healthy blood and bone health. Arugula is a warming herb and can be helpful in clearing lung and sinus congestion. It is quite alkaline in nature and helps to balance an over-acidic diet. When buying arugula, look for vibrantly colored leaves free of wilting or rot. Try to use leaves as soon as possible. * Sprout Tip- To keep lettuce and other leafy greens lasting longer in your fridge, line a Tupperware container with a sheet of dry paper towel before placing the leaves in for storage. It absorbs all the moisture and keeps your greens fresh and wilt free!
A S P A R A G U S :
Asparagus is loaded with health benefits. It is a great detox vegetable, has anti-anging properties, and is said to be an aphrodisiac (ooh la-la!). The vegetable is rich in potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and folate. Asparagus is at its peak from February through June. Choose bunches with tightly closed tips and no flowering. Stalks should be bright green and firm. Try roasting asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Roast at 450 oF for 10- 15 minutes. Optional: Top with freshly shaved pecorino Romano cheese.
B L A C K B E R R I E S :
Blackberries are ripe and ready for picking in late July through fall. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a cup of raw blackberries has 62 calories, 2 g of protein and many essential vitamins and minerals. They also score high on the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC, scale, which is used to measure total antioxidant levels in food. Enjoy fresh raw blackberries to get the most health-related benefits.
C H E R R I E S :
Sweet cherries are available from May to August and are a nutritional powerhouse. Like other dark red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables, cherries contain anthocyanins that some experts believe may help reduce inflammation and have antioxidant properties. Sweet cherries also contain vitamins C, E, beta carotene, and melatonin, an antioxidant that fights insomnia and jet lag. Cherries make a great snack or dessert.
C O R N :
Nothing says summer quite like corn on the cob. Corn is in season from May through September but peaks in late summer. Corn has many nutritious benefits- it provides large amounts of fiber, aiding in digestion, and contains folate, thiamin, phosphorus, vitamin C, and magnesium. Look for ears that are fully encased in bright green husks. Pull back just enough of the husks to make sure all kernels are in tight rows. Since corn is already sweet enough during summer, I love to replace butter with a squeeze of lime.
P E A C H E S :
Peaches are ready as early as May and available through September. However, July is peak time for peaches. I love packing them along as a healthy snack for a beach day. To select the sweetest peaches, examine the peach’s base color. The peach’s lightest color should be a warm hue and the best peaches will have no green undertones.
R A D I S H :
Crunchy and crisp, red radishes are great colorful additions to any salad. The benefits of munching on a radish include significant doses of vitamin c, potassium, Vitamin B6, and folic acid. They are also low in calories- one cup of sliced radishes yield a mere 20 calories. When buying radishes, look for plump firm bulbs with bright green leaves. Recipe : White Bean and Radish Salad
R H U B A R B :
Often called the “pie plant”, Rhubarb is a tart vegetable making it ideal in sweet dishes like crisps, compotes, and pie. It can be found from late winter to early spring. Look for thin, red, crisp stalks. Recipe : Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies
S T R A W B E R R I E S :
Fresh strawberries are available year round in many regions but the peak season is from April- June. However, nothing beats freshly picked berries available at the farmers market. Look for strawberries that are bright red with no white or green around the stem, fragrant, plump, with no soft spots.
W A T E R M E L O N :
Make room in your fridge during the summer for this fruit! This thirst quenching fruit provides a hefty dose of Vitamins C, A, potassium, and lycopene. My favorite summertime recipe is a watermelon salad with fresh mint, olive oil and feta cheese. Yumm!