Fruit has been my favorite food for as long as I can remember. When I was a young girl, my mom always knew where to find me; sitting under our peach tree reading a good book and enjoying this incredible fruit until I nearly burst. My mother used to tell me I was going to turn into a peach one day – but I never did. Guess that was just a “momism” right? I eat several servings of fruit everyday. I just love everything about fruit – its taste, texture, rainbow of colors, its portability, its accessibility, and now that I am a grown up its awesome nutrition. Really, what’s not to love?
With summer here (unofficially) it is the perfect time to enjoy all the mouth-watering, fresh, delicious, nutritious, in-season fruit available at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Why buy in-season? Well, in-season means flavor and nutrition are at their peak. Moreover, when you buy in-season and local you are also supporting local producers, minimizing the carbon footprint of your purchases, and reducing your food costs. There is a lot to be said for picking your own food or speaking directly with the grower. Its a great experience.
What’s In Season?
Let’s start with stone fruits.
Peaches, cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines are delicious and nutritious, very portable, and add awesome taste, color and texture to fruit salads and non-dairy yogurts. Stone fruits are good sources of Vitamins A & C and calcium and are excellent sources of potassium and fiber. BONUS BENEFIT of choosing stone fruits – they are low in calories and their natural sweetness will satisfy your need for something sweet without the guilt.
Who doesn’t love berries?
I’m going to confess that I could easily eat berries everyday, all day. I love how they taste and how juicy they are and their rich colors. I remember spending a lot of time as a child picking wild blueberries on the hill behind my grandmother’s home. As an adult, I still seek out opportunities to pick my own berries – it is such a great way to spend a morning and the payoff – a basket full of beautiful, delicious berries – is well worth the dirt on my knees and stains on my fingers. Berries are the quintessential finger food. You can take them to work, enjoy them while watching a movie, snack on them while reading a good book….really they are great anytime, anywhere. AND – NO GUILT! Berries are also low calorie foods.
Berries in general are an excellent source of Vitamin C, are a good source of fiber, and are an exceptional antioxidant-rich food. Strawberries are a good source of folate, potassium and manganese too. Raspberries are also high in potassium, and a good source of iron, Vitamin B6 and calcium. Blueberries (I particularly love the flavor of wild blueberries) offer great support to our brain function: in fact, several studies show blueberries can improve memory. Delicious, juicy blackberries are plentiful – growing often uncontrollably along the slopes of many roadsides and walking paths.
Melons are awesome!
This is the perfect time of year to enjoy sweet, juicy cantaloupe and watermelon. I love these two fruits just by themselves; but there are so many other ways you can incorporate them into your diet. They are awesome in a fruit salad or stirred into non-dairy yogurt. You can add them to your fruit smoothie or just juice them on their own. Some people like to grill watermelon too.
Did you know watermelon is one of the best fruits for hydration? Watermelon is 92% water – this is why it is so popular on hot days. Watermelon is a very good source of Vitamin C, like other fruit, but it is also a heart-healthy food. Watermelon contains lycopene, an important carotenoid that fights free radicals. Lycopene gives watermelon flesh its red color – the redder this fruit’s flesh, the higher the lycopene (a very good thing).
Cantaloupe is an incredible source of Vitamins A & C. In fact, a small melon can provide over 375% of your daily requirements of these two vitamins. Pretty awesome, right? Cantaloupe is also a good source of Vitamin B6, iron and calcium too.
Both these melons are low-calorie foods too. Don’t you love that????
There you have it – 12 fabulous, fresh, in-season fruits you can find in your local farmers’ market or produce section at your grocer. Want to know more about what’s in season? Check out this handy chart from CUESA http://www.cuesa.org/eat-seasonally/charts/fruit