Few things are as satisfying as juicy, fresh fruit on a hot summer day. Summer fruits are best in season and well worth the yearlong wait. We love their versatility: from smoothies to salads, or grilled kabobs to sweet desserts, the fruits of summer have endless possibilities. Three of the most popular sunny season favorites:
Watermelon is the fruit of summer. During the summer watermelon is consumed in mass quantities–in fact, it is the most consumed melon in the US (followed by cantaloupe and honeydew). The fruit is among one of the highest sources of lycopene, which is a carotenoid phytonutrient that’s especially important for our cardiovascular health and bone health. Today upwards of 300 watermelon varieties are grown in the US and Mexico. Watermelon is related to cucumbers, pumpkin, and squash. The rind is entirely edible, which makes it both a vegetable and part fruit. Watermelon, like most summer fruits, is perfect on its own, in sweet or savory salad, cocktails, and even cooked or grilled.
Colorado Palisade peaches have earned themselves a sweet reputation thanks to the region’s cold snowmelt water, rich soil, warm days and cool nights, which leaves the peaches extra juicy and sweet. Colorado has over 520,000 peach trees and even though Colorado is not one of the highest producers of peaches, (California, South Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey are the leaders) Colorado’s Palisade Peaches are some of the most sought after. There are two basic types of peaches: clingstone and freestone. With clingstone peaches, the flesh “clings” to the stone of the peach, making it difficult to separate. This type is more suitable for processing. The pit of freestone peaches “freely” separates from the flesh, making it ideal for fresh consumption–most Colorado peaches are the freestone variety. Peaches (and strawberries) are members of the rose family, which could explain their slightly floral flavor found in early season peaches. A few of our favorite ways to enjoy peaches are in a fresh salad with mint; prepared grilled they are a great side for white meats and seafood, and of course their addition to any dessert instantly makes it peachy-keen!
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all make appearances on menus and dinning tables everywhere in summer months, and with good reason. The sweet and tart berries are in their prime June through September. Blueberries tend to have the reputation as the “best” berry with their antioxidant properties, but it turns out that all berries pack an antioxidant punch. Berries also are high in vitamin C and in phytonutrients.
Fun Fact: Technically strawberries are not true berries as the official definition of a berry is “a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary.” Strawberries are considered an accessory fruit, meaning the fruit forms from a flower that has many ovaries–the ovary being the part of the flower that develops and ripens into a fruit. Once the ovaries are pollinated, they swell and eventually form the strawberry we think of.
What is your favorite summer fruit recipe? We’d love to hear from you! Please post below, or on our Facebook page.