Nothing evokes memories of childhood like eating fresh watermelon at the family picnic table. Who doesn’t love the anticipation of the fresh fruits of summer – juicy strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, grapes, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cantaloupe and of course watermelon.
In California, we are fortunate to have many of our favorite summer fruits and vegetables ripening in our back yard. Fruits provide important vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. They also contain phytochemicals or plant nutrients which help boost immunity, have a protective effect against cancer, and help protect against heart diseases and circulatory problems. Stay healthy this summer by simply enjoying all the fresh fruits and vegetables the season has to offer.
All those sweet and savory flavors that bring back memories of picnics on long hot days or sunset barbeques. They are wonderful eaten just as they are, or lightly steamed, but they are so versatile that they’re not just great for a full meal – avocados, bell peppers, corn eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes also go brilliantly with meat and fish to create really light salads and refreshing al fresco “outside dining”.
Watermelon is a great source of hydration — just look at its name. The red-fleshed fruit is composed of about 92 percent water, and also contains the nutrients beta carotene, lycopene and vitamin C.
Finding good affordable produce at the grocery store is easy with a little advance planning. To help the environment and your wallet, identify a farmer’s market in your area. Most times they are cheaper and have better quality of fruits and vegetables.
So, it’s important to at least reduce your risk in selecting bad fruits and vegetables by knowing what to look for. Before purchasing your fruits or vegetables, make sure you do not select any that have bruises or are damaged. Clean them off with running tap water when you are about to use them, not before. Depending on what fruit or vegetables, water can hasten deterioration.
When you do not refrigerate, fruits and vegetables will ripen quicker on the counter and most times taste better. Do not use the same cutting board to cut your fruits or vegetables that you use to cut meats with.
In a nutshell, summertime fruits and vegetables are pure enjoyment. So enjoy this delicious treat while filling up on important nutrients!