A couple weeks ago, the Weekly wanted you to celebrate National Eat Your Veggies Day. Well, it turns out that the entire month of June is National Fruits and Vegetables Month, so even though the month is almost over, we thought we’d give a shout-out to summer fruits. Cool, refreshing, low-calorie and chock full of nutrients, fresh fruits even contain electrolytes and fluids that will help you feel energized and hydrated in the sizzling heat of summer. Here are some of our favorite crops:
This sweet, juicy and subtly crunchy summer standby is a great source of B vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamin, potassium, magnesium and the potent antioxidant lycopene. And with a 92-percent water content, watermelon is a tasty way to quench your thirst for only 48 calories per cup. It’s also been found to protect against macular degeneration and help neutralize free radicals. Select a melon that’s heavy for its size, with a smooth rind that has one side distinct in color from the rest of the rind—a yellowish or creamy tone that shows the fruit was resting on the ground and allowed to fully ripen. It’s great in sweet or savory salads, wrapped with prosciutto, or puréed into a soup with ginger, mint and a little lemon juice, sugar and white wine.
These tiny, unassuming blue-purple-black berries pack a real nutritional wallop. With only 81 calories for a full cup, they’re cardio-protective, improve nighttime vision, protect the brain from oxidative stress, promote gastrointestinal health, prevent cancer, and the list goes on and on. They’re a very good source of vitamins C and E, manganese and dietary fiber, and are jam-packed with a laundry list of antioxidants. Choose berries that are firm and have a bright, uniform hue naturally frosted with a whitish protective waxy coat. Swirl them into a bowl of yogurt, whip them into a smoothie, or make a blueberry crisp—AllRecipes.com has great ideas. You could also add raspberries, blackberries, cherries or marionberries to that crisp for extra flavor and even more vitamins.
A delicious, fragrant dessert straight from the vine, these berry delights are an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese and antioxidative phenols, as well as a good source of potassium, folate, riboflavin, B vitamins, vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper. At 53 calories per cup, they’re an extremely diet-friendly heart-protective, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory fruit all in one. Look for berries that are firm, plump, mold-free and have a shiny, deep red color and attached green caps. Store in the refrigerator and use within a few days. Try drizzling them with balsamic vinegar (seriously, it’s good) or mix with a little lemon juice, a sprinkle of sugar and fresh mint. You can also pair them with angel food cake and yogurt whipped with honey for a low-cal shortcake.
Although they’re always available dried and canned, apricots, a fantastic source of beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamin C, are even more awesome when they’re fresh. Smooth, sweet and faintly tart, apricots can protect your eyesight, protect good cholesterol levels, and help prevent constipation. Select fruits with a rich orange color, which are just slightly soft. Add them to cereal, mix into pancake batter, or marinate them in honey and cinnamon and then grill them on the barbeque and top with vanilla frozen yogurt. Also try nectarines and peaches.
This information and more found at WHFoods.org. And keep in mind that the Inland Empire has tons of local farms where you can get your fruit fresh!