Did you know some of our staple summer produce holds some of the most nutritious vitamins? Here they are right in front of us, in bulk, at our grocery stores and farm stands! They are as fresh as can be and less expensive compared to the colder months. Now that we have all of these fresh and nutritious options at our finger tips lets gobble them in before it’s too late! Some things to keep in mind when buying produce is to consider organic. We can understand that buying 100% organic can be expensive. The “Dirty Dozen List” is a list of fruits and vegetables that are at the top 12 pesticide infested fruits and vegetables, and therefore should be priority when choosing which foods to purchase organic. Going organic for these 12 are definitely worth your pretty penny!
The Dirty Dozen
|Sweet bell peppers||Nectarines||Cucumbers||Potatoes||Cherry tomatoes||
If there is produce available that is organic and locally grown, that’s a double whammy! Buying local doesn’t only benefit you, but the people around you. Your produce will taste better if it is locally grown because it doesn’t have to go through being picked before being ripe and shipping. Local food also promotes energy conservation by decreasing our carbon foot print by traveling miles to grocery stores. Buying local helps local farmers and builds the community as a whole.
One of my favorite summer fruits are BLUEBERRIES. I could go through a carton all by myself, no shame. Blueberries are low in fat with only 80 calories per serving. They are also full of dietary fiber, which helps keep your body regular during digestion, keeps our heart healthy and keeps our cholesterol in check. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help with cardiovascular disease, cancer and other age related diseases. These small little blueberries carry a lot of Vitamin C on their shoulders; Vitamin C helps with collagen formation, maintains healthy gums and capillaries and boosts that immune system. Manganese can also be found in blueberries which aids with bone development and with converting proteins, carbs and fats into energy. Who would have thought blueberries came with such a punch?!
Nothing says summer like a juicy peach. Taking the first bite of a perfectly ripened peach is a force to be reckoned with. You are bound to get peach juice all over your cheeks and then it starts to drip down your hand and then it somehow ends up on your lap, but…it’s all worth it. When there is nothing but the pit left you could go in for another peach. Not only are they delicious this time of year, they benefit our bodies. Peaches contribute to our eye health because they have beta carotene in them which improves eye vision by increasing circulation of blood. Peaches can make our skin glow! They are packed with Vitamin C, which can help with dark circles and wrinkles. Hallelujah. Peaches are a rich source of antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants help with the immune system and fiber keeping our digestion regular.
A slice of watermelon is always a special treat during the summer because we all know winter watermelon and summer watermelon don’t even compare. Watermelon helps with cardiovascular and bone health because it improves blood flow and it’s also rich in potassium which holds onto calcium in the body, therefore promotes healthy strong bones. Watermelon is known to reduce body fat with its partner citrulline that reduces the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Along with the other fruits, watermelon contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support.
These are just a few of summer’s special treats to us. Whenever you feel a sweet tooth craving come in, give in with fresh fruit! Looking for something a little more complex on your tastebuds? Check out some simple healthy recipes using our favorite summer treasures!
Blueberry Peach Cobbler
- 5 lb peaches, pitted and sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar, divided
- 3/8 tsp salt, divided
- 6 3/4 oz plus 2 tbsp 100% whole wheat flour, divided (or brown rice flour for GF + 1/4 tsp xantham gum)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup organic butter or EarthBalance soy-free vegan butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk (or dairy free with 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 375.
- In a large bowl, toss peaches with lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and 2 tbsp flour. Arrange peaches in a 9×13-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Place the butter and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar.
- Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.
Watermelon Blueberry- Mint Popsicle
- 6 heaping cups diced seedless watermelon (or remove the seeds)
- 3 tablespoons agave or honey
- ½ tablespoon lime juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- In a blender, puree watermelon along with sugar, lime juice, and salt until smooth.
- Add mint and blend briefly to finely mince the mint and get it mixed in.
- Pour puree into popsicle molds. (You should be able to make at least 10, but it will depend on the size of your molds.)
- Freeze until hard.