We’re officially in a summer state of mind. If you’re looking to get into the spirit, too, we’ve got your seasonal menu on lock. Alfresco barbecues, picnics in the park, and toes-in-the-sand, drink-in-hand beach days await. But what should you be snacking on? We’ve got the perfect produce roundup to pair with the stretch of sunshine ahead.
These stone fruits are just peachy. Fun fact: These fuzzy-to-the-touch treats are members of the rose family, growing on mid-size flowering trees. When ripe, peaches should be palm-sized and super sweet. They’re at their juiciest come June, and the harvesting season spans until late August. Georgia, South Carolina, and California are the top producers of peaches in the U.S.—typically farming yellow, white, and donut varieties.
The bright flavor isn’t the only benefit these fruits boast. Antioxidants like vitamin C can be found in the smooth skin and flesh of peaches, which can help strengthen your immune system. They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber that stabilize blood sugar levels and aid in digestion, respectively. Slice ’em and enjoy, shake up your caprese salad, or pop a few halves on the grill and add a dollop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Eggplants are a crown jewel for plant-based eaters. They’re known for their royal purple skin, teardrop-like bodies, and meaty texture. Vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters alike are big fans of this nightshade fruit (yep—it has seeds!) because of its neutral flavor and steak-like slices. Eggplants are at their prime from July to October and are primarily grown in Florida, California, and New Jersey. They have a decent amount of antioxidants, which can help fight free radicals and reduce risk of heart disease. Fiber can also be found in the flesh, curbing blood sugar spikes and improving digestion. Whether you’re craving eggplant parm, caponata, or creamy Baba Ganoush, the culinary possibilities are endless when it comes to eggplants.
If summer had a flag, it would proudly wave red and green. Watermelon margaritas, feta salads, or slices sprinkled with Tajín are all superior snacks when soaking up the sun. These heavy fruits typically come from Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California, and are harvested in May through September. Quick history lesson incoming! Watermelons actually originated in Africa and have been around for milllennia (think ancient times). They grow on vines on the ground and are made up of about 92% water when they reach full ripeness. Hence, water-melon. They’re known for having super high levels of the antioxidant, lycopene, which has been linked to decreasing the risk of cancer. A full serving also delivers vitamin A and C, which could give your eyesight and immune system a boost.
This summer squash’s growing season is—you guessed it—the summer. You can find these green, seeded fruits in grocery stores year round, but June through August is their time to shine. Zucchinis come from flowering plants and are included in the gourd fam. Have you ever spotted squash blossoms on the appetizer menu? These are the zucchini’s flowers, and taste absolutely fantastic breaded and fried. The zucchini itself can also be whipped up in a zillion creative ways. We love “zoodling” them as a smart carb swap in our Baked Turkey Meatballs & Zoodles. You can also bake stuffed zucchini boats, saute with garlic, or cook up ricotta rollatini. No matter the meal, you’re getting in some key nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin A.
It might be time for a trip to the farmers’ market. Pick up these fruits within the next few weeks for the perfect all-day snack, a summery dinner, or a refreshing poolside cocktail.