As the season changes, it’s time to rotate your plate too.
There are few things more rewarding (and healthier) than growing your own produce. Summer, and the weather it brings, provide a great opportunity to work in some seasonal flavors. Operating a large, organic garden for those in need, Jason Freskos serves up nine homegrown foods that need to be on your plate this summer.
These tart summer staples are packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Better yet, the fruit is equally versatile on your plate as well. Toss some blackberries into a salad to give it a kick. Or, blend them into a smoothie or mix with some yogurt. Blackberries are at their peak in July and August.
These berries get their rich, blue color from high concentrations of antioxidants. They also boost anti-inflammatory properties to protect cells. Also a prime source of vitamin C, blueberries are great for topping yogurt or oatmeal. For a refreshing treat on a hot day, Jason Freskos recommends trying to freeze some fresh berries.
While their season begins in May, peaches are best later in the summer. The stone fruit is worth adding to your diet. They have been linked to reducing allergies, preventing some forms of cancer, and aiding digestion.
The U.S. produces the second-most cherries in the world, behind only Turkey. In the U.S., these fruits are harvested mostly in the Northwest starting in mid-June. Although both sweet and tart varieties are healthy, tart cherries are one of only a handful of foods that contain melatonin, which promotes healthy sleep.
Any dark, leafy greens need to be featured prominently on any plate. These include a long list of nutrients, including calcium, fiber, iron, and vitamin A. Spinach, along with kale and Swiss chard, make great bases for salads. But they can also be added to wraps or quesadillas.
Best enjoyed in the summer, eggplant supports weight loss. It has also been linked to stress reduction and cancer prevention. Try throwing some eggplant on the grill as a meat substitute.
In a variety of colors and sizes, peppers can keep any dish fresh and healthy. In fact, a bell pepper has more vitamin C than an orange. Peppers are grown best during July and August.
Summer squash is another multi-use vegetable that can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, or dinner. With four distinct types, squash is best starting in May.
What better way to use multiple veggies from your garden than to make your own salsa. Salsa is perfect for outdoor get-togethers, relaxing on a patio. Tomato-based salsas have the best nutritional value. Follow a recipe online or experiment with your own. Simply chop up other homegrown produce plucked from your garden. Mango and peach can add a little sweetness.