July is here and it’s time for fresh look at eating sustainably by focusing on what is in season and available at your local farmer’s market, fruit stand or U-pick farm.
When you shop local for fruits and vegetables, you eliminate the need for warehousing and shipping that’s required for out of state produce to make it to your grocery store. That means less energy and environmental resources are being used.
What’s in season
In June we reminded you to get your strawberries, rhubarb and salad greens. In July, it starts with cherries and just keeps going.
Depending on where you live you will find cherries, apricots, raspberries and blueberries on the fruit side. For veggies, look for beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, kale, turnips, spring onions, radishes, green onions, scallions and more lettuce.
In the last half of the month, you can watch for beans, carrots, cauliflower, corn, garlic, peppers, squash and peaches.
A bowl of cherries
We started our list with cherries for a reason. Not only are sweet cherries a nutritious treat to eat out of hand, the dessert possibilities for sweet or sour cherries are endless!
Pies are a summer must, and you can always get fancy with some cherries jubilee. But the fruit also can be used in savory creations like salads, stuffing, salsas or sauces.
When you bring cherries home, to make them last longer store them in a ventilated bowl and don’t rinse them until right before you use them. On the counter, they stay tasty two to three days, in the fridge five to 10 days and in the freezer six to eight months. (They make a nice addition to smoothie and shake recipes.)
Montmorency tart cherries have higher levels of antioxidants compared to other fruits, plus beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium. You’ll also get a good dose of phytonutrients! And cherry juice is believed to have multiple benefits.
Small but mighty
Blueberries might be small in size, but they’re big in healthy ways, which has given them a super food label. They are recognized as the fruit with the highest antioxidant activity, which helps your body fight free radicals.
Blueberries are also full of fiber, vitamins C and K and manganese. They are believed to boost your heart health and brain function, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol and delay mental decline. A one-cup serving of this blue fruit has only has 80 calories, no fat and lots of phytonutrients. No wonder they’re a super food!
They are easy and fun to pick on your own, which only adds to the sustainability factor. When picking, look for the ones that practically fall off into your hand. And don’t worry about picking too much. They are easy to freeze for recipes throughout the year.
If your friends or neighbors have gardens, you may never need to buy cucumbers at the farmers market. Cucumbers are so good at growing people have to give them away—one can only eat so many cucumber salads.
If the cucumber overload hits, making pickles in your freezer, refrigerator or the old fashioned way are just a few ways to use the surplus. You can also use them as a base for salads, soups, dips and relishes.
These crunchy vegetables are a good source of vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, and rich in potassium, calcium, zinc, fiber and magnesium.
(Cucumbers don’t have to be just for the table, either. Next time you treat yourself to a face mask, lie back with cucumber slices on your eyes to reduce puffiness while the mask does its work.)
Few calories, no saturated fat and no cholesterol are three great things about green beans. You’ll also get a lot of micronutrients from them, including iron, potassium, vitamins A, C and K and fiber.
Like many fruits and vegetables, beans are full of antioxidants that support your immune system. They are great to eat out of hand or sautéed with lemon and almonds. And don’t forget to freeze some for their starring role in the green bean casserole at Thanksgiving.
Planning ahead with recipes and preserving strategies will help you take advantage of nature’s bounty while helping you get your recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Need some reassurance that you’re getting the nutrients you need? Consider a dietary supplement, like Nutrilite™ Double X™ Vitamin/Mineral/Phytonutrient Supplement or Nutrilite™ Concentrated Fruits and Vegetables.