As we move deeper into the thick of summer, chances are we’re craving fresh, revitalizing meals to keep us cool and nourished after a long day in the sun. In addition to staying hydrated regularly, eating seasonally and opting for farm-fresh ingredients at the center of your meal can be a great way to spend the summer months and get creative in the kitchen when the days feel longer and possibilities seem limitless.
What’s in season now?
Various climates across the country may change seasonal produce from locale to locale, but we’re here to offer up some more seasonal eating options to take you through the month of July. Here’s a list of some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season this month and some culinary inspiration to switch things up in the kitchen.
For fans of apricots, you’ll be able to find these fruits in season from early May through July. These sweet and tart stone fruits are chock full of flavonoids, potassium, and vitamins, making them the perfect addition to your produce collection. Flavonoids help strengthen your blood vessels and reduce inflammation, while potassium is beneficial for nerve and muscle function and moving nutrients throughout the body and our overall heart health. Regarding the vitamins in apricots, vitamins A, E, and C are on the list. Vitamin A helps promote eye health, while vitamins C and E contain skin-boosting properties that improve elasticity and help protect our skin from UV radiation.
Are you looking for more inspiration? You’ll often see apricots used in desserts, like grilled maple-butter apricots or a delicious jam, but these fruits stretch far beyond a sweet treat. Give them the savory twist by serving them on a platter chopped into slivers and drizzling with honey and a salty nut like pistachios for some sweet and savory apricot bites or by transforming them into a delectable sauce for an entree like a seared chicken with apricot sauce.
From July through October, eggplant remains in season, making it a staple for summer and early fall meals. This nightshade provides individuals with fiber and potassium to aid in healthy digestion and lower their blood pressure respectively. Eggplant also contains antioxidants and vitamins B-6 and C, all of which support our heart health in addition to potassium.
Are you looking for more inspiration? If you’re having an Italian-themed dinner night, swap out the chicken and try a vegan eggplant parmesan for a hearty night. For your next barbecue, don’t be afraid to cut up an eggplant into slices and pop those onto the grill alongside your favorite charred veggies for another side at the cookout, or give them a Mediterranean twist and pair it with a tahini dressing.
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Who could resist a bowl of fresh, crisp blueberries on a hot summer day? Blueberries are in season between early June and early August, making July a prime time to get this antioxidant-rich fruit. Blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits for us. Their antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress, in addition to vitamins C and K, to help boost our immune system and allow our blood to clot. This fruit also contains dietary fibers and manganese, which help aid in our blood clotting properly, aiding in bone and muscle strength.
Are you looking for inspiration? For a couple of easy options to serve as a healthy, balanced breakfast, try these vegan-friendly blueberry muffins or these blueberry pancakes, which contain flax seed for some healthy fats. Blueberries are a delicious addition to any smoothie, including this super skin smoothie recipe. If you’re looking for a delicious, refreshing beverage, you can also try a blueberry-lemon mocktail, perfect for any time of day.
Bell peppers are often the underrated vehicle for dips – whether on a veggie platter with a delicious dill dip or a hummus planner alongside carrots and pita. These veggies, which come in an array of bright colors, are high in nutrients while low in calories, making them a perfect versatile veggie to have on hand in your produce drawer. You’ll find vitamin C in bell peppers, which can help our bodies absorb iron, heal wounds, and prevent various health issues, including heart disease.
Are you looking for inspiration? Beyond chopping up these peppers for your next veggie tray or sautéing them for a fajita night, bell peppers act as a colorful crunch to add to an allergy-friendly pasta salad, perfect for any barbecue. You can also take stuffed peppers to the next level with this plant-based stuffed peppers recipe.