As the weather heats up and we transition from spring to summer, more farmers markets and stands are opening up, meaning there are more plentiful produce options than ever. Here are some of the freshest picks of the season that you won’t want to miss this June.
When was the last time you had a fresh apricot? Never? OK, now is the time to look for these gems at your local market. Apricots are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of fiber. With four small apricots in each 70-calorie serving, these little fruits make the perfect snack — especially if you’re working to cut mindless eating. You can also add fresh apricots to spring and summer salads for a burst of sweet, bright flavor.
With a unique sweet-tart flavor, fresh blueberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. At only 85 calories a cup, blueberries are full of phytochemicals like anthocyanins, resveratrol and alpha-tocopherol, which may provide heart health and cancer-fighting benefits. Because they are high in water, fresh blueberries are also good for whittling the waistline. Now through the summer blueberries taste the best and cost the least. Look for blueberries with smooth, tight skin and a deep blue-purple color. Eat them soon after buying for optimal flavor or freeze them to enjoy later.
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3. FAVA BEANS
Also known as broad beans, fava beans are an excellent source of plant protein. Unless you live in a Mediterranean climate, where they’re available earlier, June is prime time to enjoy the earthy flavor of fresh fava beans, which is totally different from the dried version available the rest of the year. Fava beans are an excellent source of fiber, folate and manganese and a good source of minerals including potassium, iron and magnesium. And if you need another reason to pick up some up next time you hit the market, fava beans deliver an impressive 10 grams of satiating plant protein in just 1/4 cup.
4. PEAS & PEA SHOOTS
Sweet (or English) peas may be one of the most common vegetables around. Often purchased frozen, this versatile vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked. Sweet peas are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, folate and fiber. In the spring, you can also enjoy the tender vines and greens of the pea plant. Pea shoots (or pea greens) are a special farmers market find that can be added to salad or pasta for a burst of fresh spring flavor or sautéed with garlic and olive oil for a simple side or an egg or toast topper.
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5. ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS
These edible flowers that bloom just before zucchini start to grow are as flavorful as they are beautiful. Unless they are growing in your backyard, zucchini blossoms can be a bit difficult to find. Look for them at a local farmers market and buy the flowers on the day you plan to eat them. Though you’ll often find zucchini blossoms stuffed and fried on restaurant menus, there are healthier ways to enjoy them. Try them stuffed and baked with sweet or savory cheese, (ricotta and honey or goat cheese and fresh herbs are popular), thinly sliced and added to pasta or salad or swirled into soup.