Summer is a great time of year to eat fresh produce. Many different fruits are in season during the warmest months of the year, providing amazing taste and nutrition to keep us cool and refreshed. Here are five delicious seasonal fruits you need to enjoy this summer.
Most berries are harvestable in the spring and fall, but summer is their peak season when they’re ripe and full of juices. Here are the best picking times for each berry:
- Blueberries: April to September
- Strawberries: April to June
- Raspberries: July to October
- Blackberries: June to July
As you can see, June and July are the overlapping months for optimal berry picking. Each berry has a distinct flavor, but their nutritional benefits are largely the same. They contain high amounts of fiber and antioxidants, helping your digestive and immune systems. They’re also loaded with vitamins A, C, K, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals.
These berries are tasty enough to enjoy on their own, but they also pair well with other summer foods. Sprinkle some berries onto a fresh salad or add them to a new popsicle recipe.
Drupes (also known as stone fruits) are fruits with large “stones” that protect their seeds. Raspberries and blackberries are technically drupes, but they belong in the more appropriately named “berry” category. The more well-known drupes are peaches, plums, mangoes, cherries, apricots, and nectarines. They all have overlapping peak seasons:
- Peaches: July to August
- Plums: May to October
- Mangos: May to September
- Apricots: May to July
- Cherries: May to August
- Nectarines: May to August
Drupes have more potent flavors than other fruit categories, making them perfect ingredients for sweet summer dishes like cakes, smoothies, and parfaits. They have similar nutritional benefits as berries, including antioxidants and a wide variety of vitamins, but they also contain many “flavonoids” that can reduce inflammation and stress responses.
Watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit for good reason. Aside from its vibrant colors and indulgent flavor, 92% of a watermelon consists of water, making it the most hydrating fruit in the world. The peak months are July and August – the “dog days” of summer when things get really hot and muggy. It’s the ultimate thirst-quenching food.
Most people enjoy watermelon straight from the rind, but you can also get creative by pickling the rind or lightly grilling watermelon chunks for a sweet and savory snack. Watermelon is also a great food option if you’re on a diet, as it contains fewer calories than most other fruits while having the same digestive and immune benefits.
Grapes peak a little later than other fruits on the list, as their best season goes from August to October. However, you can still pick fresh grapes throughout the summer, especially if you like them green and firm. Grapes are higher in sugars and calories than most other fruits, but that makes them great energy boosters.
Chilled grapes are the easiest snack, but they’re also popular toppings for salads and roasted dishes – especially recipes including chicken. In the summer, people also freeze them to make flavor-packed ice cubes for their alcoholic beverages.
Cantaloupes have a long peak season from June through August. They taste unique and have many different varieties compared to other fruits, but that’s not the only thing that makes them special. Cantaloupes have the highest beta-carotene content of any orange fruit. Beta-carotene is responsible for the orange coloring and gets converted into vitamin A or a strong antioxidant, making cantaloupe the best fruit option for both nutrients.
Cantaloupes are primarily used in summer fruit salads, but some people puree them and add them to soups. The seeds are also tasty snacks when roasted, but we suggest you eat this fruit the old-fashioned way and appreciate the different types on their own.
Stay Healthy And Refreshed This Summer
Most of us are more active in the summer to take advantage of the nice weather, but we also need the right diets to go along with our activities. These five fruits are packed with nutrients and flavors, and their peak season has just begun. Eat them straight up or add them to a recipe of your choice so you can stay healthy and refreshed all summer long!