Making the Most of Fresh Summer Produce
While many fruits and vegetables are available year round in the grocery stores, options can be limited during the winter months for those who live in seasonal areas.
During the summer, fruits and vegetables grow in abundance and some items such as cherries, peaches, plums, and corn are only available in the grocery stores for a limited time. Fresh produce is also less expensive this time of year because it can be grown more locally, and therefore costs less to transport to grocery stores.
For these reasons, it’s no surprise that many people take advantage of this through farmers markets and pick-your-own produce locations. Unfortunately, fresh produce spoils quickly which can lead to a loss of food and money. If you find yourself buying bulk or high amounts of fresh summer produce, here are some ways to make the most of it so it doesn’t go to waste.
Enjoy fresh salads. Salads are a great way to get a large amount of nutrients in one meal, and the combinations are endless! While salads are often thought of as a side dish of vegetables, they can be the star of the show and contain both vegetables and fruit. Because there is no wrong way to make a salad, they are a great item for kids to experiment with. Make a salad together as a family and let your child choose which fruits and vegetables to include. Try topping a spinach salad with chicken, blueberries, and strawberries, or throw some diced peaches over kale.
Cook up a stir-fry. Raw isn’t the only way to enjoy summer produce. Many summer vegetables such as kale, bok choy, green beans, squash, and tomatoes make for excellent stir-fry dishes. Like salads, there are no wrong combinations for a stir-fry. Include the whole family to pick which vegetables to put in and get cooking!
Jam out. Pick-your-own fruit can be excellent for jams and jellies. Fresh strawberries, peaches, blueberries, and even watermelon and habanero peppers can all be cooked into jams, which last for months especially when stored in the freezer. Often times, these fresh fruits are so sweet you don’t even have to add sugar, which makes for a heart-healthier recipe.
Freeze it. Many unused produce items can also be stored in the freezer for use during the winter months. Typically, most fruits can retain quality in the freezer, and many vegetables can as well, excluding anything leafy aside from spinach.
Blend it. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also great for smoothies and soups! Try blending fresh fruit and yogurt for a breakfast smoothie, or mix together fruit vegetables for a summer salsa or cool soup such as gazpacho.
Juice it. While fruits and vegetables are healthy in their whole state, they can also be nutritious as juice. Juicing vegetables and fruit is a great way to attain many nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Because it takes a lot of produce to make a glass of juice, it is an excellent way to use bulk summer produce. Make your own fresh orange or grape juice, or even experiment with greens.
Written by Alyssa Simon
Written on May 15, 2015
Last updated on Jun 02, 2015