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Nicholas Rush, RDN, CDN

July 6, 2021

Summer Produce Guide!

Summer is a great time to try new fruits and veggies or revisit some of your long lost favorites. Summer means fresh cold slices of watermelon and juicy ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and an abundance of others! Check out some of my favorites!

Fruit

Stone Fruit (plums, peaches and nectarines)

Most stone fruits are picked before they’re fully ripe to prevent bruising in transport. Look for fruit that is firm to the touch without brown spots or wrinkling. Get your nose in there and take a sniff. They should smell as delicious as you’d expect them to taste!

Store your stone fruits out at room temperature until their slightly tender to the touch. This is when they are ripe enough to enjoy. If you’re not quite ready to enjoy them store stone fruits in the crisper drawer of the fridge uncovered and unwashed for up to five days.

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Watermelon

Did you know the every part of the watermelon is edible? The rind can be pickled, the seeds roasted and of course the sweet flesh is best eaten raw and cold! Water melons have a long season from May to September but at their best in mid-June to late August.

Look for watermelons that are smooth and symmetrical, with no flat sides, bruises, cuts, or dents. You’ll know they are ripe when you hear a hollow sound when you thump or tap them. Remember to wash the outside of the watermelon before slicing into it to avoid translocating bacteria from the outside to the inside. Store whole or cut watermelon in the fridge to keep it nice and cold, and saran wrap tightly to keep it juicy!

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Cherries

Cherries come in two main varieties, sweet or sour, and can be cooked in desserts, sauces or preserves.

Chose fresh cherries that are bright, plump, and shiny. If you don’t plan on using your cherries in the next few days buy them with the stems attached, as these last longer. You should store cherries unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. The perforated plastic bag allows gasses to escape the bag, slowing the ripening process.

Pit your cherries first to avoid a trip to the dentist. Cherries can stain your clothes and hands so be sure to wear gloves and an apron.

Vegetables

Green Beans (AKA string beans)

While there are a wide variety of green beans, all of them are similar in taste and preparation. They are an extremely versatile vegetable that can go with all sorts of summer dishes. Green beans can be boiled and chilled to use them in salads or sautéed in a frying pan for a more crispy texture.

Look for brightly colored crisp beans that snap easily. Fresh greens beans can store in the refrigerator for up to a week in a paper bag. Make sure to wash the beans in cold water and pat dry. Snap off the stem end and on some varieties you should pull off the “strings” running down one side.

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Summer Squash

Yellow squash and zucchini are grown between June and early fall. If you are looking to reduce your carbs and increase your vegetable intake you can make squash and zucchini into noodle forms! But you feel free to slice, dice and sauté them for a side vegetable or add to a pasta dish.

Choose ones that are no longer than 6 to 8 inches, firm and free of nicks and cuts. Very fresh zucchini will have bristles of tiny hairs. Store zucchini tightly with saran wrap in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Tomatillos

Tomatillos love summer heat and taste best mid summer. They are sweeter and tangier than traditional tomatoes and make for a great salsa verde!

Pick out ones with a husk that completely covers it, although it’s okay if the bottom of sticks out a little. The fruit inside the husk should be firm, but not rock-hard.

Store tomatillos in a paper bag for up to 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen but you’ll need to first peal the husk, rinse and dry them.

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