Fleshy Fruits and More - In Season This Summer
Isn’t it wonderful that some of the best summer produce is juicy and perfect for keeping us refreshed and hydrated? It is nature’s way of giving us what we need. As we all enjoy some succulent peaches, watermelon and flavorful tomatoes this summer we can be thankful for the fact that they are loaded with phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant chemicals (phyto means plant in Greek). Research is showing that phytochemicals not only give these fruits flavor, odor and color but also give us plenty of reasons to devour them to promote health. For example, watermelon and tomatoes both are great sources of lycopene, a red-colored phytonutrient that is a powerful antioxidant. Peaches provide lutein, vitamin C and potassium.
All these fruits and vegetables are a great source of dietary fiber that keeps our digestive system happy. Personally, I am in complete agreement with Hippocrates’ wisdom: “All disease begins in the gut” and strive towards a somewhat lofty goal of eating six to nine servings of in-season produce every day.
Summer fruits definitely make this goal more attainable! Nothing like finding a variety of heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market and biting into one like an apple.
We almost always eat the skin of summer produce like tomatoes and peaches, but what about watermelon? Did you know that, according to a study, watermelon rind may provide as many nutrients as the watermelon itself? So why are we constantly tossing away food that can nourish us? This summer make a pledge to reduce waste and consume the rind. Try watermelon rind three ways: Add it to your juicing or smoothie regime, try it as a cooked vegetable or even as a vegan jerky!
SEASONAL HIGHLIGHTS THIS SUMMER
> HOT PEPPERS, SALAD GREENS SUMMER SQUASH, SWEET CORN, TOMATOES
> CULINARY HERBS: BASIL, CILANTRO, CHIVES, MEXICAN MARIGOLD, MINT
> BLACKBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, FIGS, PEACHES, WATERMELON
> IN THE HEAT OF SUMMER: EGGPLANT, OKRA
FROM THE WATER
> BLACK DRUM, CATFISH, SHEEPSHEAD, VERMILION SNAPPER
> SHRIMP SEASON OPENS MID JULY
Find seasonal produce at your local farmers market—visit ediblehouston.com for a list of local farmers markets in the greater Houston area.