Best of the season: Summertime fruits and veggies
Many in recent years have touted the benefits of eating seasonally. It’s not that an apple that’s purchased during the summer has more nutritional value that one purchased during the winter, but eating seasonally will always ensure you have the best tasting, freshest fruits and veggies all year round. Plus, eating seasonally is easier on the pocketbook. Here are some of the best fruits and vegetables summer has to offer.
This delicious superfood is harvested all year long, but you'll spend upwards of $2 for a single avocado in the winter. Especially prominent on the west coast, this fruit is packed with "good fats," or monosaturated fat. Some studies suggest that high avocado consumption can lead to lower blood cholesterol levels. Though the avocado might pack a heavy calorie punch at about 250 for a medium fruit, the California-harvested produce has many health benefits that outweigh its calorie impact.
The tiny, sweet blueberry might look little, but it's a big player in the realm of antioxidants. These small berries contain anthocynins, phytochemicals and antioxidant pigments that are believed to reduce the risk of some diseases — even cancer! Blend them into your favorite recipes, top a salad with them or eat them on their own. Blueberries will never let you — or your heart — down.
Basil is a main ingredient in Italian cooking, and throughout the summer, it can be grown in your home too! As a potted plant, give the basil plant partial sunlight. Use it to make Margherita pizzas, pesto and more. Plus, it can be used in more exotic recipes, like Thai cooking. The taste of fresh basil is unrivaled by any other leafy green.
A little slice of Americana — apples can be turned into anything from apple pie to hard apple cider. Visit your nearby apple orchard, or just pick up a few fruits from the store. The sweet, classic taste of apples is a huge hit with kids and adults alike. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, summer is the healthiest seasons of all!
Bell peppers are a sweet, crisp and refreshing vegetable (without the heat from traditional peppers) that can be be used in salads, sandwiches, side dishes and more. It's a versatile produce that can add crispness to your pasta salad or sweetness to your summertime fajita recipe. Marinate peppers in olive oil for a bold sandwich topping or simply add them to a salad. There's no wrong way to use a bell pepper.