How Can I Cook Fresh Summer Produce?

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How Can I Cook Fresh Summer Produce?

July 18, 2012, 12:11PM

fruits vegetablesHome and community gardens, farmer’s markets, and grocery stores are beaming in rich, vibrant colors as summertime fruits and vegetables are at their peak ripeness and flavor. To anyone needing to convert a picky eater to a fruit and veggie lover – now is your chance.

Taste is the number one predictor of whether a food gets eaten. With many fruits and vegetables naturally at their peak flavor this time of year, it doesn’t take much effort in the kitchen to cook up some delicious summertime produce the whole family is sure to love.

Once you’ve loaded up your shopping bag, get those fruit- and veggie-lovers-in-training in the kitchen to help throw together these simple concoctions. You can bake, boil, sauté, stir fry, grill, mix and freeze your way to delicious summertime produce. Any method is sure to help you get the recommended 5 to 9 servings per day of fruits and vegetables. Find more information about your favorites at the go-to website for information on fruits and vegetables, Produce for Better Health Foundation.

Baked peaches sprinkled with a touch of honey, ginger and pecans

Boiled tomatoes in vegetable or chicken broth, topped with fresh chopped herbs and spices

Sautéed green and yellow summer squash with chopped onion and minced garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper, and topped with fresh parmesan cheese

Stir fried eggplant, zucchini, and green bell peppers with chopped onions, in Italian dressing, sesame ginger dressing or other stir fry sauce, completed with cherry tomatoes a few minutes before removing from heat

Grilled corn on the cob with butter or olive oil and fresh herbs

Mixed seasonal fruitsuch as blueberries, kiwiand cantaloupe added to Greek yogurt and topped with granola

Frozen avocado and banana popsicles made of avocados and bananas blended with coconut milk, a squirt of lime juice and a touch of honey.

How to Choose Summer Produce






The best fruit/vegetable is:


firm but yields to gentle pressure


firm with no bruises

Bell pepper

firm skin and no wrinkles


firm, plump, brightly colored


slightly golden with light fragrant smell


green, tight, and fresh-looking husk; ears with tightly packed row of plump kernels


firm, heavy, smooth, uniformly dark purple


firm, plump, well-colored clusters


creamy yellow rounds and pleasant aroma




soft to touch with fragrant smell


firm with thick flesh and glossy skin


plump, yield to slight pressure

Summer squash

firm with bright and glossy skin


plump with smooth skin and no blemishes


Sources: and
University of Tennessee Extension (2002). A
Guide to Buying Fruits and Vegetables at

For more creative ideas for incorporating seasonal produce into your diet, check out these free healthy recipes.

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