Who doesn’t love summertime? The warm weather, the long days of sunlight, and of course the local farmer’s markets! These are the last few weeks that you will find a rich bounty of summer vegetables available before we say goodbye to these warm weather superfoods.
Some favorites include summer squashes, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green beans. Other late summer vegetables you will find in rich supply right now include sweet corn, radishes, and eggplant. These nutritional powerhouses are good sources of fiber, vitamins B and C, calcium, and iron among others. They also contain hidden gems like the phytonutrients lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and resveratrol. According to research done by the University of California, vegetables can lose between 5-55% of their vitamin C within a week of harvest. In other words, that zucchini you bought at the grocery store last January probably wasn’t quite as nutritious (or inexpensive) as it is now.
Now is the time to take advantage of the late summer harvest, and experiment with new ways to increase your vegetable intake! How about using a spiralizer to make zoodles out of your squash in place of noodles? Or, serve your fish over a nice bed of sauteed green and yellow zucchini instead of rice. When grilling your meats, throw some thick slices of eggplant and yellow squash on too for a tasty side dish. For a popular kid-friendly option, grill or roast kabobs made with grape tomatoes, squash, colorful peppers, and your meat of choice. For those cooler days, try making a vegetable lasagna with slices of zucchini and yellow squash in place of noodles. My personal favorite is to take whatever vegetables I have in my fridge and make a nice soothing soup, adding in some beans or meat for a protein punch.
While summer can’t last forever, you can still buy these vegetables in the cooler months. Try the freezer section, where you’ll find your favorite summer vegetables flash frozen at their peak of nutrition. Enjoy!