The Beginner's Guide to Summer's Most Delicious ProduceSunny weather, refreshing cocktails, cookouts with friends and family... Summer has a lot going for it, but colorful and delicious produce is usually on the top of this list. Eating seasonally has always been an excellent way to not just treat your taste buds to new, fresh flavors but to also do your mental and physical health a world of good - thanks to all the nutrients. Plus, you may even reduce your carbon footprint(1) in the process and give the environment, local economy and personal budget a boost. How great is that?
Now that summer's in full swing, you have every excuse in the world to gorge on the summer's most delicious produce, from nutrient-dense fruits to downright delicious vegetables. Just fill your shopping cart with the following options and make your summer meals more appetizing than ever.
Summer's Most Delicious Produce
Looking for a versatile and nutritious addition to your summer cooking? Then, apricots(2) are a no-brainer. But, don't let its colorful, fluffy exterior and sweet taste fool you. This orange-hued summer fruit packs a serious nutritional punch. From loads of slow-digesting fiber(3) and vitamin C(4) to high amounts of mood-boosting potassium(5), apricots make for a phenomenal summer produce.
Eat 'em: Add freeze dried apricots by Mother Earth Products to your summer salads, smoothies, cereal, pancakes and yogurt for a refreshing summer treat.
What's better than drinking water on those hot summer days? Eating your water, of course! Containing more than 90% water(6), cantaloupe is the most delicious way to stay hydrated when the heat wave strikes. This summer produce also contains a hefty dose of beta-carotene(7) which protects your skin against the sun's harmful UV rays. Could it get any better?
Eat 'em: Enjoy cantaloupe raw as part of a fruit salad, smoothie or yogurt parfait.
They work well in everything from fruit salads and desserts to refreshing drinks. Cherries are -without a doubt- one of the summer's best produce. And here's a fun fact: These bite-sized sweet treats don't just taste great, but they also contain massive amounts of anthocyanins(8) (a.k.a. antioxidants) and melatonin(9). That means that they are perfect for reducing inflammation(10) and improving the quality of your sleep(11), especially on those hot summer nights when everything feels uncomfortable. So, ready to put that cherry on top?
Eat 'em: Throw freeze dried cherries by Mother Earth products in a smoothie, fruit salad or granola, or enjoy them as part of a summer dessert.
A safe bet to sweeten any hot summer day, grapes are packed with all the right nutrients. Between high concentrations of phenolics, antioxidants(12), vitamins, and resveratrol(13), grapes are known to prevent several conditions such as skin aging(14), heart diseases(15), even cancer(16). So, why not add this grape (pun intended!) fruit into your summer menus?
Eat 'em: Toss freeze dried red whole grapes or red grape halves by Mother Earth Products into a chicken salad for a fruity twist or make them part of your smoothie or morning cereal. You can also top your favorite ice cream with a spoonful for some extra crunchiness.
In all their fuzzy glory, peaches(17) serve as a tasty, low-calorie summer treat while nourishing your body with hefty doses of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. What's more, they are rich in antioxidants(18) which not only reduce inflammation but also prevent skin cell damage. That's particularly useful as the damaging UV rays take a toll on your skin all summer long.
Eat 'em: Sneak freeze dried peach slices by Mother Earth products into various desserts, such as ice cream, pancakes, etc. or grill them along with other fruit for a decadent summer BBQ treat.
Newsflash: Strawberries and summer go hand in hand. And the best part? Even though you can eat them as-is, these bite-sized treats work well into various meals due to their tangy-sweet flavor and nutrient-dense profile. In fact, just one cup of this summer produce packs enough vitamin C, fiber and manganese to lower cholesterol(19) and shield your skin(20) against the sun's harmful rays.
Eat 'em: Top your favorite ice cream, pancakes, etc. or sneak them into your summer salads.
7. Bell Peppers
Crunchy and super delicious, bell peppers are every cook's secret super ingredient. This colorful bunch contains lots of vitamins (A, C and K) as well as potassium and heart-friendly lycopene(21) (especially in the red variety). So, how about you add some color and a healthy crunch to your summer dishes?
Eat 'em: Fold dehydrated bell peppers by Mother Earth Products into your omelet, top your pizza, or sneak them into salads and pasta dishes.
Corn screams summer. From BBQ side dishes to everyday salads, this delicious summer produce is always there to add some color and flavor to your meals. But, besides tasting and looking awesome, corn packs several good-for-you nutrients such as protein, magnesium, and iron. It's also rich in carotenoids(22) which enhances vision(23).
Eat 'em: Add dehydrated or freeze dried super sweet corn by Mother Earth Products into your salads, stir fries, etc. or enjoy as a side dish with a squirt of lime and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper and salt.
Want to make your meals “cooler”? Then, cucumber is the way to go. This summer produce consists of more than 95% water(24), adding some serious freshness in your dishes. Plus, cucumber is packed with phytonutrients(25) which not only lower cholesterol but also prevent diseases such as diabetes.
Eat 'em: Add freeze dried cucumber by Mother Earth products in practically every salad.
Serving as an excellent source of fiber, eggplant is a dream come true for those of you want to cut back on meat but are not willing to discount on flavor. This nutrient-dense summer produce also contains lots of antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytochemicals which not only boost your heart health(26) but also prevent cancer(27).
Eat 'em: Sneak them into lasagnas and stir fries or use them as a low-carb alternative instead of bready crust on pizza evenings.
10 Foods You Didn't Know Were FruitsDoctors keep pushing us to eat more fruits and vegetables. But we can’t blame them; after all, fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients for our bodies. Furthermore, fruits are often sweet and refreshing. Although we tend to shy away from vegetables or greens, it’s surprising that some foods that we believed were vegetables are fruits.
According to Mayo Clinic botanists, a fruit is the part of a plant that develops from a flower.1 It may also be described as the part of the plant that contains the seeds. On the other hand, the stem, leaves, and roots are considered to be vegetables.2 Hence, if we choose to follow this description, you’ll be surprised that there are various foods you thought were vegetables, but they are fruits. Before you participate in another argument about whether or not eggplant or tomatoes are fruits or vegetables, please read on to update your knowledge of these foods you didn't know were fruits.
10 Foods You Didn't Know Were Fruits
Because of its large pitted center that houses a seed, an avocado is categorized as a fruit. That may not shock you, because it’s versatile and is used in both sweet and savory dishes.1 Aside from being fleshy and soft, it is also produced from a single ovary, making them qualify in the fruit category.2
You’re probably surprised by now. You may be thinking, “Aren’t pea pods legumes?” Well, whether they are snap peas or garden peas, they are considered fruits, because they are a flower based plant. The pods house the seeds. 2
Are you surprised that cucumber is actually a fruit? Yes, it is because of the nature of its growth and its composition of seeds.1 A cucumber is grown from a flowery ovary. It is also fleshy and has many seeds. Therefore, it is entirely a fruit.
I bet you also love this fruit like many people do. I do, too! And yes, it’s not a vegetable, either, but a fruit. It has a fleshy texture and has lots of seeds, and that makes it a fruit.2 Well, now you know.
Whether it is the summer squash or winter squash, they are considered fruits because of their many seeds. Squash is a fruit and not a vegetable because of its composition and the nature of growth.1
You probably cook with red, green, or yellow peppers every day. Although they don’t have a fleshy inside, unlike other fruits, their core contains many seeds. They definitely belong to the fruits category.3
Although corn is classified as a grain, corn kernels are a fruit. They have a pericarp, the fruit wall, that is fused with the seed coat.2
Olives are a favorite garnish for drinks and salads because of their aroma and flavor. They are also one-seeded fruit, just like the peach. They are grown from a flowery plant.
In case you’re wondering if a pumpkin is also a fruit, yes it is. Just like squash, pumpkins are indeed are fruit. They have a fleshy inside and lots of seeds. The fruit originates from the ovary of the flowering plant.2
There has been a lot of debate about whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. What classifies it as a fruit is that it has a ton of seeds and a fleshy inside. From now on, you’ll know a tomato is not a vegetable, but a fruit.
You probably thought that fruits are supposed to be sweet and fleshy. Now you know that even squash and pepper are fruits. Fruits are classified as foods that have seeds and are from the ovary of a flowering plant. Vegetables, on the other hand, are the roots, stem or leaves of the plants. So, there’s no way pumpkin or cucumbers are vegetables. So, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, forget about bananas or apples. You can take cucumbers and eggplants instead and count those fruits.