What's in Season? Get the most out of your Fruits and Vegetables

First of all, why should you eat seasonal? In America, we are able to buy any fruit or vegetable we want just about any time of the year.  Let’s look at some reasons why buying foods in season can be beneficial. 1. Budget friendly – When you buy produce out of season from other places, that means longer shipping times, plus the cost for fuel to ship them among many other logistical costs. These costs add up and are passed onto you as the consumer. When you eat seasonally, that means things can be grown locally, and in their natural environment and climate. This means less money spent on what it would take to create an ideal environment for something out of season. Bottom line, in season means less cost for transit, less energy used, and a cheaper price tag for you. 2. More nutritious – As we all know, vegetables and fruit are nutritious. However, as soon as they are harvested, vitamins and minerals begin to breakdown. The vitamins in fruits and veggies are unstable and depleted just after a few days. 3. Tastier – Try it yourself and taste the difference. Strawberries in the middle of summer taste juicer and sweeter than ones you might find in January. Out of season produce spends days in transit, stuffed in crates in a ship or on a truck, getting bruised and discolored. By the time it gets to the market it lacks the vibrant color, texture, and taste it was meant to have. 4. Fun – Picking fruits and vegetables that are in season might mean trying new things. It’s fun to go to the market or farm stand and pick up something you don’t recognize, but it’s there because it’s in season and what the farmer is able to grow. You are also choosing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, which means a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins. So grab something you’ve never tried, cook it up or eat it raw, and reap the benefits from the nutrients and delicious taste.

So what’s in season right now?  Here’s a rundown of some vegetables and fruits to enjoy. Remember, the nutritional benefits of these whole ingredients are significantly greater than any prepackaged/prepared/processed foods you will find in the isles of your grocery store.

Vegetables

  1. Tomatoes – high in vitamin C and A. Slice them up and mix them with cucumbers in this salad for a fast, easy, refreshing summer side dish
  2. Cucumbers - use these in a salad with tomatoes (see above) or slice up and use this homemade mayonnaise recipe for a creamy dip
  3. Summer Squash and Zucchini – great sources of vitamin A and C, both of which are essential for healthy, glowing skin. Slice them up and sauté them in some coconut oil with salt and pepper, or replace that pasta with zucchini noodles and a homemade tomato sauce
  4. Peppers - packed with vitamin C, which is great for skin. Slice them thin and sauté with peppers and ground meat for a fast, easy stir fry.
  5. Carrots - buying these whole and peeling them tastes much better than the baby ones that come in a bag. Shred them and put them on a salad or get creative and make these pancakes

Fruit

  1. Berries – pair great with nuts, mixed in with some full fat Greek yogurt, or a great base for this grain-free cobbler
  2. Figs – rinse these off, pat them dry, and cut off the stem. Drizzle a little bit of sweet balsamic over top, or dip them in a little bit of almond butter for a treat
  3. Peaches – if you can smell it that means it’s ripe.  They are great on top of a salad of arugula with walnuts and balsamic, mixed into a smoothie with almond milk, or as a base for the blueberry cobbler recipe (see above).
  4. Mangos – juicy, aromatic, and filled with vitamin C. Try these popsicles for a yummy summer treat.
  5. Apples – these seem to be available all year around, but they are actually summer-fall produce’s finest. They are great as a snack with almond butter, or sliced on a salad with walnuts and balsamic vinegar.

Herbs: It's worth mentioning these because they are a great compliment to dishes, while still having anti-oxidant components that help your mind and body

  1. Basil - put a few leaves in your smoothie for an added kick, or pair with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for a Caprese salad
  2. Cilantro - Toss this with lime and shrimp for a classic, delicious combination. Serve the shrimp over some greens with a soup and you have a super fast dinner!