I believe in eating produce when it’s in season. If it’s locally grown, that’s all the better! Eating fruits and vegetables grown close to where you live is when they are freshest, they taste best, and they are usually less expensive. Here in the Midwest that means: asparagus and baby greens in the Spring...corn, tomatoes, and watermelon in the summer...and apples, pumpkin, and nuts in the Fall. It’s tough to find fresh, locally grown produce in the winter around here, but a well-stocked freezer full of the summer’s bounty can get you through the cold months. In addition, winter is a good season for tropical fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, etc., and while not locally grown, they are readily available!
Changing up what we eat according to the season has another benefit. It means that we get a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, and that may be more important than you realize! Fiber-rich plant foods feed the healthy bacteria in our gut and make them multiply. Eating more fiber means more healthy bacteria. That’s a good thing, but some scientists wondered if it made a difference where the fiber came from. It turns out that increasing the variety of plants not only resulted in more good bacteria, but also a greater diversity of good bacteria!
So, the next time you are at the grocery store or the farmer’s market, seek out a fruit or vegetable that might not be familiar to you and give it a try! The more different fruits and vegetables you consume, the better...and you may just discover a new favorite!
Fresh, seasonal produce is one of the best things about summer in the Midwest. Here is a recipe that features some of my favorite summer vegetables. Best of all there is no cooking required!
Fresh Corn Salad
4 ears fresh corn on the cob, cleaned
1 (10.5 ounce) package grape tomatoes, halved
1 small zucchini cut into bite sized pieces
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground coarse black pepper
Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl and whisk together. Cut corn off the cob and add to the bowl. Add tomatoes, zucchini, feta, and basil. Toss to combine.