Summer fruit and veggies offer benefits galore. From the fresh-picked taste you just can't get with the frozen or processed versions to the nutrients packed in each bite, cooking with seasonal selections is a healthy, delicious choice.
Before you run to the local farm stand, grocery store, or your backyard garden, check out these must-taste summertime picks. Plus, learn how to use these seasonal vegetables and fruits in what may just become your family's favorite new recipes.
Summer Fruits in Season
Come beach season, you'll find a bevy of beautiful summertime fruits coming straight from the farm to your table, including:
- Tomatoes (yes, tomatoes are technically fruits, not veggies)
Unsure of what's in season in your area? Use the Seasonal Food Guide, which uses data from state departments of agriculture, university extension programs, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to help you find locally in-season fruits any time of the year!
Summer Vegetables in Season
Pair your warm-weather fruits with some savory summer vegetables, such as:
- Bell peppers
Like with fruit, you can't count on each veggie showing up at a local farm stand or growing in your garden all summer long. Again, let the Seasonal Food Guide serve as your digital guru for finding summer veggies in your area.
Grilled Peach Perfection
Peaches provide 15 percent of an adult's daily vitamin C needs and 6 percent of their daily vitamin A—along with folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and niacin, according to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers.
While eating a fresh peach packs a taste punch, grilling them can be even tastier. Cut some peaches in half (pitting them before grilling) or slice and skewer them. Lightly brush the fleshy part with olive oil or, for a real treat, use balsamic vinegar. At medium heat, grill the peaches for four to five minutes on each side.
Serve this peachy treat for dessert topped with vegan vanilla ice cream and a fresh sprig of mint. Or, you can toss them in a seasonal salad or on a summertime homemade pizza, with fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes.
Summery Arugula Salad
Arugula—along with radishes, kale, and several other greens—is a cruciferous vegetable. That means it's rich in vitamins, inflammation-fighting phytonutrients, and fiber, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
A summer salad with an arugula base has a nutritious flavor profile, especially when you add freshly sliced radishes, hydrating cucumbers, vitamin-rich tomatoes, and grilled beets. Like peaches, you can slice and grill the beets, adding a backyard barbecue char.
Add a squeeze of fresh lemon, a classic vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or one of these homemade dressings to top your salad off.
Stuffed Summer Veggies
Scoop out the insides of a grilled bell pepper or the long half of zucchini and fill it with a combo of your favorite shredded vegan cheese, salsa, corn, and anything else you want. Pop the stuffed veggie in the oven until the cheese melts and the vegetables brown.
Trading wild winter weather for some plant-nourishing sunshine and warmth means its time to dig in to all your favorite summer fruits and vegetables. Whether you pick your produce from the local grocer or grow it at home, you're doing yourself and the environment a solid!
What's your favorite summer recipe? Share your pick with us on Twitter!
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Why It's Good
Start the summer off on a fresh foot with seasonal fruit and veggie picks. Taking these healthy foods from the farm to your dinner table makes for a nutritious meal that the entire family can enjoy.