Summer is winding down. Social media is being blasted with back-to-school pics. And fall is just around the corner. Before we settle into pumpkin and squash season, don’t forget the flavors of August – with some of the best, healthiest in-season produce all year.
The August harvest has some of my favorites.
- Blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, oh my! (raspberries and cherries, too). My favorite flavors are on their way out the door. August is the “berry’s last stand!” So it’s time to indulge in these nutrient-packed power bites. If you’re lucky enough to live where there are wild berry bushes, go brambling (blackberry picking). Because they don’t last long, freeze fresh berries to eat later. Frozen fruits and vegetables have the same nutrients as fresh. Use them in yogurt smoothies, as a topping for French toast, pancakes, or ice cream. Make a delicious berry spinach (in season, too!) salad. Or just eat them straight off the bushes.
- Peaches and nectarines are at their peak in August. Dating back to 10th century China nectarines and peaches contain powerful antioxidants, fiber http://www.maryjanedetroyer.com/nutritionist-nyc-fiber-information/, and essential vitamins and nutrients. Peaches and nectarines are perfect on their own. But you can also grill them, saying “good bye” to summer, drizzle them with yogurt and honey, add them to salads, and even your favorite summer sangria recipe. Why not?
- Avocados!! With over 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients … this is one of my favorite power foods. Heart healthy and flavor-packed, avocados are green decadence in a skin. And there are unlimited ways to enjoy them: guacamole, avocado and tomato salad drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, spread on whole grain toast, used as bowls for quinoa and bean salad, sliced for sandwiches, omelets … there’s no end to the flavor magic! This is their month.
- Swiss chard. Move over kale … time to make room for some Swiss chard. Going green is a great way to give our bodies a boost. Swiss chard, finely chopped, can be added to any meal (breads, soups, sauces, meatloaf and muffins). Sautee it with garlic and olive oil. Put it on pizza. Add it to your favorite quesadillas. It’s just as versatile as other, more popular greens. And August is its time!
- Melons like cantaloupe, casaba melon, honeydew and watermelon are on their last leg. They’re a favorite of mine for lunchtime. But don’t just relegate them to being cubed or cut in slices. They’re incredible in more elaborate meals: watermelon, mint and feta salad, mixed melon salad, grilled melon, cantaloupe with figs, basil and olives. Melons are a great, refreshing snack that just don’t bring the same joy in winter.
Eating in-season fruits, vegetables, and fish is a great way to be more ecologically conscientious while ensuring your body gets a variety of nutrients. These are some of my favorite August flavors at their peak right now. For a more complete list, check out Fruits & Veggies, More Matters.