Summer is the time to dive into healthful eating filled with seasonal produce, such as summer fruit and vegetables. These top 3 ways to celebrate summer produce in season will provide you with a variety of summer vegetable recipes to inspire a delicious healthful season.
Ahh, summer is in full swing, and with it, comes a bounty of summer produce! During the summer, a greater variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables—berries, peaches, leafy greens, tomatoes, corn—are typically grown closer to home and naturally ripened on the plant, vine, bush, or tree in your own community. This means that fruits and vegetables are more mature, nutritious, ripe, and flavorful: think sweeter peaches and cherries, and crunchier corn and grapes!
Along with amazing taste and nutrition, seasonal produce is often easier on the wallet, as local foods require less transportation. So, you may find bargain flats of berries and bags of fresh corn at your roadside stand or farmers market. In addition, buying produce seasonally has benefits for the environment. Local produce reduces transportation distances, thus carbon emissions. Plus, buying seasonal produce from local farms puts money back into the local economy, so it’s a win-win. Learn more about the benefits of local foods here.
Need more reasons to eat seasonally? Seasonal fruits and vegetables not only provide essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, they are also packed with a bounty of antioxidant compounds. Research suggests that these antioxidant compounds found in fruits and vegetables may help protect our cells from oxidative stress and support immune health. Certain antioxidants can also help protect against free radical damage and UV exposure to our DNA. This means a lower chance of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Plants develop these antioxidants to protect themselves against damaging sun exposure. By eating these colorful plants, antioxidants can help protect our cells, too. These compounds are what give plants their deep colors, so reach for dark purple eggplant, bright green cucumbers, and rich red strawberries when you shop during the season.
Top 3 Ways to Eat More Produce in Season for Summer
Dive into summer with all your heart! Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it. Start with these three tips for making the most of summer produce, and try these summer vegetarian recipes to get inspired.
1. Shop Smart for Summer Produce in the Supermarket Aisle
Save money on summer produce by checking grocery store ads and displays for sales on produce. The grocery store is full of a variety of fruits and vegetables year round, so look for what is in season. Many grocery stores even feature local farmers.
2. Visit a local Farmers Market or Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
Support the best in local seasonal produce by checking out your local farmers market. This will ensure you get locally grown, in-season produce often harvested hours before it arrives to market. Farmer’s markets often allow you to taste test produce too—do don’t be afraid to ask for samples and cooking tips for new-to-you fruits and vegetables, such as kohlrabi and loquats. CSA programs similarly offer a wide variety of seasonal produce that can be boxed for pick-up or delivered to your door. Learn more about farmers markets here, and CSAs here.
3. Grow Some of Your Own Food
Want to know exactly how your produce is grown and cared for? Do it yourself! Herbs, leafy greens, and tomatoes are summer favorites that can grow in even the most limited spaces. Cucumbers, squash, peppers, and melons can thrive in garden boxes, while passion fruit vines, bean stalks, and stone fruit trees are great choices for open spaces. Assess your space and get growing! Grab my free home vegetable gardening guide here.
For more summer vegan and vegetarian recipes, try some of my favorites:
Grilled Nectarine Salad with Citrus Ginger Dressing
Peach Crisp with Rosemary and Olive Oil
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Vegan Feta and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Hawaiian Tempeh Barbeque Skewers
Creamy Peach Yogurt Parfait
Strawberry Banana Chia Smoothie Bowl
Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
Berry Bowl with Walnuts and Quinoa
Image: Fig Salad from The Plant-Powered Plan to Beat Diabetes