As we celebrate the start of summer, let’s learn about a few of the freshest fruits and veggies that are at their peak this season, and the most delicious ways we can serve them up.
What’s in season this summer? See below for a few of summer’s finest!
Cherries. Sweet cherries are most definitely a summertime favorite for those who love the sweet goodness raw cherries have to offer, but thankfully, we can also enjoy these fruits frozen, canned, and dried year round.
Cherries are not only bursting with flavor, they deliver 3g of fiber, 18% of your daily vitamin C, and 10% daily potassium in just one cup.
They are rich in the antioxidants anthocyanins and cyanidin which have a protective anti-inflammatory effect against chronic diseases and premature aging. Choose firm, red cherries with stems still attached.
Eggplant. Also known as aubergines in different parts of the world, eggplant comes in a variety of colors and sizes. We might be most familiar with eggplants with deep purple skin, but they can also be black, green, or red.
One cup of raw eggplant offers 3g of fiber, 10% of your daily manganese, 5% of your folate, and 5% of your potassium.
Eggplants are also especially rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin. Select eggplant with firm, glossy, unblemished skin.
Honeydew melon. This sweet, refreshing melon is sometimes overlooked in favor of cantaloupe, but honeydew should make a regular appearance on your summer plate due to its many health benefits.
One cup of honeydew provides 1.4g of fiber, 53% of your daily vitamin C, 12% of your potassium, and 8% of your folate.
Honeydew offers a number of antioxidants, like beta carotene and quercetin, and the potassium found in the melon can help regulate blood pressure. A ripe honeydew will have a sweet smell, and will feel slightly soft and springy.
Zucchini. A summer garden is not complete without a bounty of zucchini, and there are great reasons for that. Also known as courgette, this summer squash ranges in color from dark green to deep yellow, and can be enjoyed as a spiralized, low-carb alternative to pasta.
One cup of chopped zucchini provides 1.4g of fiber, 35% of vitamin C, 14% of vitamin B6, and 11% of manganese.
The skin contains carotenoids like lutein and beta carotene, antioxidants known to protect against eye disease. Pick zucchini that is dark green, smooth, free of blemishes, and heavy for its size.
Arugula. This peppery green adds a flair of flavor to any salad or dish, and is actually a member of the cruciferous family which includes Brussels sprouts and kale. Beyond the salad bowl, arugula can also be found as a topping for pizza, nachos, and sandwiches.
One cup of raw arugula offers almost half a gram of fiber, 10% daily vitamin A, 5% daily vitamin C, 27% daily vitamin K, and 5% daily folate.
One cup also offers 50mg of nitrate, which helps to lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance. Packaged arugula is readily available in most grocery stores or sold fresh at farmers markets.
This smoky, creamy eggplant side dish is a must-try if you love to dip your crunchy, raw veggies or pita. Enjoy it as a yummy, healthy alternative to hummus this summer - or anytime.
2 medium eggplant
¼ cup tahini
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
Pita and veggies, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F and wrap the eggplant in aluminum foil, piercing each eggplant a few times with a fork. Roast the eggplant for 50 to 60 minutes, or until it is soft and collapses to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Once cool, peel the skin from the eggplant and remove any big clumps of seeds. Place the flesh in a strainer over a bowl and let stand for 20 minutes to remove excess water.
Place the eggplant flesh, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
Transfer to a serving dish, and serve with pita and veggies.
Cherry Arugula Salad
The combination of sweet cherries with peppery, pungent arugula is a taste not to be forgotten. The two boast benefits in their own right, so serve them up together throughout the summertime months for an extra delicious, nutritious boost.
1 bag 7 oz. fresh baby arugula
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
½ c. roughly chopped unsalted almonds
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
1/4 thinly sliced red onion
½ c. olive oil
½ c. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
- In a large bowl, layer arugula with cherries, almonds, goat cheese, and onion.
- Combine dressing ingredients, shake well, and drizzle on salad as desired.
Simple Grilled Zucchini with Garlic
Put all that extra zucchini on the store shelves - or in your garden - to good use by gently grilling them up and dressing them with garlic, lemon, and herbs. You will come back to this recipe again and again as a nutrient-dense side dish.
1 pound small zucchini, ends trimmed off and sliced into quarters lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Place the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and minced garlic in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the zucchini to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Preheat a grill pan to medium high heat.
- Add the zucchini to the grill in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until tender and browned. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Remove zucchini from the grill, place on a serving plate, and enjoy!