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5 Organic Fruits and Vegetables to Buy this Summer
Summer is finally here—that means warm weather, sunny days and colorful produce hitting your local market. Nothing beats the beauty or taste of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables and summer has plenty to offer. Whether you’re browsing a farmer’s market or shopping in your usual store, be on the lookout for these five organic summer favorites.
If you’ve ever sunk your teeth into a thick slice of summer tomato, you’ve tasted the difference the season can make in terms of texture and taste. Juicy, sweet and bursting with flavor, summer tomatoes require very little preparation and can transform any simple dish into a summery masterpiece. Organic tomatoes are packed with antioxidant compounds and contain vitamins A, C and K. Fresh organic tomatoes, whether they’re red, green, yellow or orange, can elevate any salad or sandwich and pair beautifully with fresh pasta or fish. Choose tomatoes that give when squeezed but are still slightly firm. For an elegant yet easy summer appetizer, try a Caprese Salad. Simply arrange slices of organic tomato and fresh mozzarella on a plate, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh basil.
- Sweet Corn
Who doesn’t love eating corn on the cob? For most, this summertime favorite evokes nostalgic feelings of long days on the beach, trips to the lake or summer evenings spent with family and friends. Sweet corn can be yellow or white and is different from the field corn used to make corn syrup and other processed goods. Choose ears with tight husks, moist silk and plump kernels and if you stick with the organic version you’ll be steering clear of GMOs. Corn can be shucked and tossed into salads or pasta dishes, but most prefer to eat it straight from the cob. After husking, boil it the traditional way or try throwing it on the grill. A dab of butter and dash of salt is the standard preparation, or try your own flavor combination such as olive oil and herbs or lemon juice and spices.
Zucchini is possibly the most versatile vegetable in the garden. From breakfast breads and omelets, to appetizers and snacks, to main dishes and sides, to cakes and desserts, the possibilities are endless for ways to use zucchini. Low in calories and mild in taste, organic zucchini can take on nearly any flavor you ask of it and gives dishes added volume, fiber and a little vitamin C and folate. Zucchini noodles are one of the hottest tricks in health-conscience cooking: Using a spiralizer, transform organic zucchini into low-carb “noodles” and pair with your favorite pasta sauce or pesto. Zucchini boats are another trending favorite: Slice organic zucchini in half lengthwise; hollow out the middle; stuff with ground meat or veggies, sauce and cheese; and bake until it is all cooked through.
Nothing says summer like a juicy nectarine. Organic nectarines can be found in most markets and stores; peak season in the U.S. happens in July and August. An average nectarine has just 60 calories, over 2 grams of fiber and a little potassium and vitamin C. They’re similar to peaches but with smooth skin and their inner flesh can be yellow or white. Nectarines are delicious paired with nuts as a wholesome snack, slices over yogurt for a nutritious breakfast, or used in pies and tarts for a fruity dessert. For something more creative, try making nectarine salsa and spooning over grilled chicken or fish.
Strawberries and blueberries tend to steal the berry show, but it’s time to let the blackberry shine. These sweet little nuggets pack a whopping 7 grams of fiber per cup, plus half the daily value for vitamin C and a healthy amount of vitamin K, folate, manganese and copper. Organic blackberries are available in most farmer’s markets and conventional stores. Get your daily blackberry fix by sprinkling them over cereal, oatmeal or yogurt or try a grown up PB&J by spreading mashed blackberries and natural peanut butter on your favorite whole wheat bread.