Summer is the time of year when fruits reach their peak of juiciness and sweetness. As the temperatures rise, they serve as light snacks that fill you up without filling you out. Summer fruits contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that fight disease and free radicals that damage skin. In addition, their juiciness add small amounts of fluids to your daily water intake of 8-10 ounces. The best thing about fruit is that you can eat them at any of your daily meals and mix them with main dishes or eat them alone.
Peaches and Nectarines
Peaches and nectarines have similar characteristics, both containing vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. The primary differences are that peaches have fuzzy skin while nectarines have a smoother surface, and nectarines are often smaller and have a more fragrant aroma. The University of Rhode Island Horticulture Program says that peaches, considered the queen of the fruits, are in second place after apples in popularity. There’s nothing like biting into peach or nectarines on a summer day and letting the juices run down your fingers and hands.
Summer melons include watermelon, casaba melon, cantaloupe, Crenshaw melon and muskmelons. Melons, like peaches and nectarines, contain vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. They also have a high water content compared to many other fruits, serving as a natural way to rehydrate during the summer. Some people like melons with lemon or lime juice, sugar or salt, but they taste good just as good.
Apricots have a deep yellow or orange color, with fuzzy skin similar to a peach. They have a tougher exterior than peaches though. The Utah State University Cooperative Extension “Preserve the Harvest” says apricots provide vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium and fiber. If you like making preserves, apricots make good jam and jelly. You can eat apricots in salads or dried like prunes.
The berry family includes blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and huckleberries. These fruits actually overlap into the spring and summer months. Berries contain antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. The National Cancer Institute says free radicals develop in the cells and cause molecule damage, which increase cancer risks. Free radicals also cause skin damage. Berries are natural anti-aging products.
Cherries come in several colors, including red, white, yellow and black. Like berries, they begin appearing in spring and continue growing during the summer. The CDC Fruit & Veggies More Matters website says cherries contain vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and fiber. You can eat cherries raw, in salads or in smoothies.
Figs contain fiber and varieties include the Calimyrna, mission, Kadota, and brown turkey figs. They grow most of the summer, between July and September. Figs contain a high percentage of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and fiber. You can eat them whole, but the skin is tough. Preserved figs make a good topping for ice cream and biscuits.
Summer fruits provide colorful accents to your plate and offers a low-fat, low-calorie sweet option. You can eat them separately or mixed together in a summer salad. If you like baking, fruit pies add a fragrant aroma to your home. Many of these fruits are available at local orchards and farmers markets. Grocery stores also stock seasonal fruits.