the ultimate guide to this summer’s best seasonal veggies
posted: July 24, 2014
Just as each season brings new weather (hope to see you never again, Polar Vortex!) and a new wardrobe, it also treats our taste buds to fresh, delicious, new produce. Eating seasonally has historically been seen as an important part of overall physical and mental health, since it allows us to expand our pallets, consume the most nutrient-dense foods available, and stay connected to our surroundings. By purchasing locally grown produce, we benefit the environment, the local economy, and our wallets.
Now that summer’s in full swing, we can’t get enough mouthwatering, juicy fruits and crisp, flavorful vegetables. To make your menus more delicious than ever, fill your reusable shopping bags—and your plate—with the choices below.
Love it: This dark, leafy green packs plenty of good-for-you-nutrients—vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and iron. It’s also known as a better-sex food. So, you know, #winning.
Store it: Wrap the stems in a moist paper towel, place it all in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to three days. When it comes to packaged arugula, store it in its container in the fridge.
Eat it: Arugula works wonderfully as the base of a fresh salad, in pastas, or as a pizza topping.
Love it: Mmm, there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh basil. Not only does it contain vitamins A, C, and K, but it also has manganese, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Fun fact: It may also have anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its oil, eugenol.
Store it: Wrap the stems in a slightly moist paper towel, place them in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to four days.
Eat it: It’s a staple in Italian cuisine, so it’s perfect for pizzas, pastas, sauces, pestos, and salads. One of our favorites: a Caprese salad.
Love ‘em: Colorful and crunchy, bell peppers contain vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate, free-radical-fighting lycopene (in sweet red peppers), and potassium.
Store ‘em: Place your peppers in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to five days.
Eat ‘em: Slice them up and eat them with hummus, fold them into omelets, or add them to salads, stir fries, and pasta dishes.
Love it: This leafy green contains three carotenoids—beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (what a name, right?)—that help boost eye health. It also has vitamins C and E, which can boost immunity and protect against inflammation, respectively.
Store it: Wrap chard in slightly moist paper towels, place it in a plastic bag (make a few perforations in it), and refrigerate for up to three days.
Eat it: Sauté and pair it with grilled steak, chicken, or tofu.
Love it: It’s sweet and starchy (and it’s certainly not low-carb), but corn also packs plenty of digestion-friendly fiber and vision-protecting carotenoids.
Store it: Place corn (with husks on) in the fridge for up to two days.
Eat it: Grilled, with a squirt or two of lime and a tiny bit of salt. For a heartier meal, try it in chowder.
Love ‘em: A seriously low-cal veggie, cucumbers have a high water content, and have been linked to anti-cancer benefits, thanks to their phytonutrients and vitamin C content.
Store ‘em: Stow in a plastic bag in the fridge in for up to one week.
Eat ‘em: Enjoy cucumbers in all different kinds of salads, or pickle them!
Love ‘em: These little soybeans provide a complete protein—i.e. all the amino acids your body needs. Plus, they’re high in vitamins C and K as well as fiber, iron, and magnesium.
Store ‘em: It’s best to cook the pods ASAP, but they can be refrigerated for up to two days before cooking.
Eat ‘em: For a tasty snack, boil them (in their pods) and enjoy them with a touch of salt. Or add them to stir fries and salads.
Love it: A low-cal and high-fiber choice, eggplant is rich in phytochemicals that boost heart health and may protect against cancer.
Store it: Refrigerate in the crisper for up to seven days.
Eat it: Enjoy eggplant grilled, baked into lasagnas or casseroles, or in a stir fry.
Love ‘em: With over 20 body-boosting nutrients—including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and even some omega-3s—green beans are one of summer’s superstars.
Store ‘em: Place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate them (in your crisper drawer) for up to one week.
Eat ‘em: Add green beans to salads, stir-fries, and casseroles, or steam them and enjoy them as a side dish.
Love it: Summer squash—which includes super-popular zucchini as well as yellow squash, cocozelle, and scallopini—is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
Store it: Place summer squash in a plastic bag and refrigerate (in the vegetable drawer) for up to five days.
Eat it: Grill, bake, sauté, steam… the options are almost endless. You can even incorporate them into tacos or gnocchi!
Note: This list comprises fruits and vegetables that are generally in season during the summer across the U.S./Canada. Still, availability will depend on specific locations. Talk to the farmers at your local market or use this handy, state-by-state guide to learn exactly which produce to expect in your area!
Head over to Greatist to see the full post and get the scoop on the tastiest ways to enjoy seasonal summer fruit too!
*Some sources refer to bell peppers and cucumbers as a vegetable; some refer to them as a fruit.
This post came from our friends at Greatist, who have plenty of fab tips when it comes to your healthy, active lifestyle. Check them out!