Ten Healthy Summer Foods That Won’t Break the Bank
Brie Cadman | Divine Caroline
6. Squash Summer squash, including zucchini, crookneck, and patty pan (roundish ones) are high in manganese and vitamin C, and a good source of many other nutrients, including vitamin A and B. They’re low in calories and since most squash plants produce more bounty than one person can handle, they can be easy to come by in garden-friendly neighborhoods. At my local farmer’s market, I was able to pick up four small squash for one dollar—not bad! Perfect in zucchini lasagna.
7. Basil Basil’s heady fragrance lends itself to numerous dishes and goes well with another summertime favorite, tomato. In addition to adding a flavorful punch, it’s also a good source of vitamin K, A, and calcium. Studies have also found that fresh basil has anti-microbial properties. Usually a buck or two per bunch, basil is easily incorporated into dishes, as in this fresh corn salad or homemade basil-infused oil.
8. Figs Though some are averse to their texture, for those that love figs, they are a heavenly delicacy. Available from June into fall, figs are a favorite of Mediterranean climates like California. They range in color from the blackish-purple Mission to the greenish-yellow Calimyrna. High in potassium, fiber, and antioxidants, figs go well in sweet and savory dishes and are a nice accompaniment to goat cheese.
9. Plums Never lacking in the variety of color, textures, and tastes, plums season lasts from about May to October, and during this time you’ll find a huge assortment in the markets. Plums, like apricots, peaches, and nectarines, are considered drupes, or fruits that have a hard stone pit. High in vitamin C, A, and fiber, they are also rich in antioxidants. The dried form is best known for its laxative properties. Plums are plentifully and most people with trees don’t know what to do with the excess, so obtaining them for free is easy, if they grow in your area. With all the leftovers, they can be eaten straight, sliced in a fruit tart, or made into plum jam.
10. Green Beans Green or string beans are usually found year-round at large grocery stores but the summer and early fall is when you’ll find them at their best—crunchy and extra sweet. Rich vitamin K, C, manganese, and a good source of beta-carotene make them an excellent addition to a summer’s meal. An easy side dish is this green beans with roasted almonds.
Truthfully, it’s hard to limit this list to just ten. Almost all of the fresh produce you’ll find in the summer is healthful, and it’s just a matter of what’s available—cherries rather than berries, nectarines instead of peaches, or parsley instead of basil. If it’s colorful, fresh, and in season, you really can’t go wrong.