All the Juicy and Fresh Produce You Can Eat in July
Blueberries, Zucchini, and More Fresh Produce Picks for July
As we move into the middle of the summer, the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables continues to grow (pun intended). From berries to zucchini to cukes, the array of colors gives you even more opportunities to feed your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Plus, the fresh flavors are so delicious they'll make you realize what the term nature’s candy really means. (And while you're stocking up on these fruits and veggies, pick up Okra, Thyme, and Other Fresh Produce for June.)
Don’t be put off by the licorice-like flavor of this member of the parsley family. The secret to unlocking the goodness of fennel is to compliment it with the right flavors. Pair it with mandarin oranges or pears in a salad or toss with arugula and tomatoes.
These brightly-hued berries contain 84 calories and 4 grams of fiber per cup. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C and K, which are beneficial for bone health. Blueberries also contain antioxidants called anthocyanidins, which may help protect against prostate cancer and glaucoma. To choose the best ones, lightly shake the container to make sure they’re all freely moving and none are stuck to the bottom.
This feathery herb has a sweet aroma and clean flavor. It also has minimal calories, with one cup providing a mere four calories. However, it’s filled with vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc. Dill’s delicate flavor can best be brought out when it’s used in raw dishes, like dressings, or when added toward the end of cooking (which helps preserve its flavor).
Come July, this summer squash is all the rage. Lately, Paleo advocates have been making zucchini pasta by shaving the veggie into long, pasta-like strands. (Check out The Best Spiralizer Recipes to Crush Your Pasta Cravings for delicious zoodle recipes.) Top lightly with pesto or tomato sauce, and you’ve got a healthy, lower calorie meal.
One medium nectarine provides about 60 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and is free of fat and sodium. It’s a good source of vitamin C, and contains smaller amounts of A, E, K, numerous B-vitamins, and potassium. Storage tip: If your nectarines are not quite ripe, place them in a paper bag with a banana or apple to speed things up. The ethylene gas given off by those fruit help the ripening process.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous veggie family (or cabbage family)—and foods in this group have been shown to help stave off cancer. Broccoli also has a boatload of vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and several B-vitamins. Make a killer broccoli salad this summer, but replace half the mayo with non-fat Greek yogurt to cut calories. (Try one of the delicious broccoli salads featured in 10 Slaw Side Dishes That Put Coleslaw to Shame.)
These tiny red gems contain anthocyanins, powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that have been shown to help improve short-term memory. So don’t forget to eat them! Studies have also shown that raspberries may help reduce heart disease and diabetes.
The seeds and skin on this crunchy veggie are edible, though you may not always want to eat them. If your cuke has waxed skin or a bitter flavor, peel before using or eating. As cucumbers mature, the seeds grow larger and become more bitter, which is why you may want to scoop them out.
Sweet and tender pea shoots are too delicate for the supermarket, so you’ll have to venture out to your local farmers market to find them. They have a subtle pea flavor and add a fresh taste to seafood dishes, salads, soups, and pasta dishes. When adding them to hot dishes, stir in right before serving and allow the heat of the dish to wilt them.
One medium plum has only 30 calories and is packed with vitamin C. It also contains the antioxidants neochlorogenic and chologenic acid, which can help get rid of free radicals in your body. Studies have also shown that plums may help lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol and help protect against colon cancer. (Another awesome thing about plums? They're one of the Top 50 Summer Diet Foods for Weight Loss.)