Just as each season brings new weather (hope to see you never again, Polar Vortex!) and a new wardrobe, it also treats our taste buds to fresh, delicious, new produce. Eating seasonally has historically been seen as an important part of overall physical and mental health, since it allows us to expand our palates, consume the most nutrient-dense foods available, and stay connected to our surroundings. By purchasing locally grown produce, we benefit the environment, the local economy, and our wallets.
Now that summer’s in full swing, we can’t get enough mouthwatering, juicy fruits and crisp,flavorful vegetables. To make your menus more delicious than ever, fill your reusable shopping bags—and your plate—with the choices below.
Love ‘em: They’re soft, sweet, and jam-packed with fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, and copper.
Store ‘em: Keep your ‘cots at room temperature—and out of the sun—until they’re ripe, then stow them in the fridge for up to five days.
Eat ‘em: Add them as toppers to cereal, pancakes, and summer salads. They’re also delicious in chicken or veggie stews. Baked apricots make for a phenomenal dessert.
Love ‘em: Consider these berries little clusters of goodness. Thanks to free-radical-fighting antioxidants, they may help prevent heart disease, strokes, and cancer. They also contain plenty of heart-healthy fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, and manganese.
Store ‘em: Spread them out on a plate (so that they form a single layer) and stow them in the fridge for up to three days.
Eat ‘em: Eat them as-is, add them to your morning yogurt, or whip up tasty baked sweet treats.
Love ‘em: With 14 percent of suggested daily fiber, loads of vitamin C, and good-for-you antioxidants, blueberries are small but mighty.
Store ‘em: Refrigerate blueberries in their container for up to a week.
Eat ‘em: As with blackberries, they’re best eaten fresh and raw, as a topper to breakfast cereals and yogurt, or in baked goods.
Love ‘em: They may not win at popularity contests, but boysenberries have plenty of health benefits: They contain fiber, folate, vitamins E and C, and potassium.
Store ‘em: Refrigerate them in a shallow, covered container for several days.
Eat ‘em: Whip them into a smoothie, bake them into breads and muffins, or add them to yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes.
Love ‘em: This orange superfood packs enough vitamin A and C to satisfy daily recommended values, as much potassium as a medium-sized banana, and are 89 percent water (See you never, summertime dehydration!).
Store ‘em: Refrigerate a ripe cantaloupe immediately for up to four days.
Eat ‘em: Throw cantaloupe into a fruit salad, add it to a smoothie, or use it as a relish.
Love ‘em: Put a cherry on top! This superfood will give you a healthy dose of fiber, and vitamins A and C. Plus, they may help with muscle recovery and prevent against diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Store ‘em: Refrigerate them (unwashed) in their original containers for up to five days.
Eat ‘em: Enjoy them raw, throw them into a smoothie or granola, or even use them as a garnish for grilled chicken and salads.
Love ‘em: These little guys are a good source of fiber, potassium, and calcium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure and keep bones and teeth strong.
Store ‘em: Store figs on a plate or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
Eat ‘em: Eat them raw (Hint: Pair them with wine and cheese), throw them in a spinach salad, or add them to a stew.
Love ‘em: Not only do they cut back on hunger pangs and help boost metabolism, but grapefruits are also brimming with vitamins A, C, and fiber.
Store ‘em: Keep them at room temperature for up to a week. They’ll last two to three weeks if refrigerated.
Eat ‘em: Enjoy them on their own, drizzled with honey, or added to a salad for a tangy twist.
Love ‘em: The phytonutrient resveratrol, which is found in the skin of grapes, is a superstar that’s been linked to the prevention of cancer and heart disease. They also contain vitamins C and K and beta-carotene, all of which help fight free radicals.
Store ‘em: Refrigerate unwashed grapes for up to a week.
Eat ‘em: Enjoy them raw in a fruit salad, or add them to a chicken salad for juicy flavor.
Love ‘em: These little guys pack some serious flavor—and a health punch. They’re great sources of vitamin C and also contain folate, potassium, and vitamin B6.
Store ‘em: Stow these away in your fridge’s crisper for up to 10 days.
Eat ‘em: Key lime pie, of course! Also, squeeze some of their juice onto freshly cut fruit, or use it as a seasoning for dishes, like fish tacos.
Love ‘em: This sweet, exotic fruit is loaded with vitamin C and also contains folate, potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus—just to name some of its nutrients.
Store ‘em: Wrap them in paper towels, slip them into a perforated plastic bag, and store in the fridge for about a week.
Eat ‘em: Enjoy raw, frozen, in frozen yogurt, or in bubble tea.
Love ‘em: A fuzz-free variety of a peach, nectarines contain vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and beta-carotene.
Store ‘em: Refrigerate for up to five days.
Eat ‘em: Bite into them raw, use them to top cereal, pancakes, and yogurt, or bake, grill, or poach them.
Love ‘em: When it comes to nutrition, the squishy tropical fruit has got it going on. If eaten with the seeds, it has tons of fiber and a decent amount of protein. It’s also rich in vitamins A and C, carotenoids, folate, and iron.
Store ‘em: Keep ripe passion fruit in the fridge for up to a week.
Eat ‘em: Sip on it—it’s often juiced! Also try pairing it with yogurt, or even in fish and pork dishes.
Love ‘em: The fuzzy fruit (and summertime staple) packs plenty of good-for-you-nutrients, including vitamins A and C and potassium.
Store ‘em: Store ripe peaches at room temperature for up to two days.
Eat ‘em: Eat them as-is, in a smoothie, as a topping for ice cream, cereal, or pancakes, or baked into desserts. They’re also delicious when grilled.
Love ‘em: This small, low-cal stone fruit is rich in vitamin C (Be gone, summertime colds!) and vitamin K.
Store ‘em: Keep them at room temperature (and wrapped in a paper bag) if they’re not yet ripe; if they’re ripe, refrigerate for up to a few days.
Eat ‘em: Enjoy them baked, poached, or eaten raw.
Love ‘em: These slightly tart treats may help prevent cancer, thanks to their ellagic acid content. They also contain vitamin C, fiber, and manganese.
Store ‘em: Spread them out on a plate (so that they form a single layer) and stow them in the fridge for up to three days.
Eat ‘em: Eat them as-is, add them to yogurt, or bake them into muffins and breads.
Love ‘em: Thanks to their stellar nutritional content (we’re talking vitamin C, manganese, and fiber), strawberries have been linked to tons of health benefits, from boosting immunity to regulating cholesterol.
Store ‘em: Refrigerate unwashed strawberries for up to three days.
Eat ‘em: Strawberry shortcake, anyone? Or serve them as a breakfast topping, a dessert, or in summer salads.
Love ‘em: Packed with vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, tomatoes can help improve gum, skin, and blood health as well as prevent some types of cancer.
Store ‘em: Keep them at room temperature for up to a week. Make sure they’re out of direct sunlight!
Eat ‘em: They’re so versatile, tomatoes can be eaten during basically every meal! A few of our favorite ways to enjoy them: in omelets, salads, on sandwiches, or in a DIY salsa.
Love ‘em: Is anything more refreshing than biting into a juicy watermelon on a hot summer day? Didn’t think so! Not only is it more than 90 percent water, but watermelon also packs some excellent nutrients (think vitamins A and C, potassium, and lycopene). Studies suggest the fruit helps soothe sore muscles, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and even helps protect the skin from sun damage.
Store ‘em: Keep whole watermelon at room temperature; refrigerate cut watermelon in an airtight container for up to five days.
Eat ‘em: Whip up a watermelon gazpacho, pair a watermelon salsa with fish, or blend it into a delicious drink.
Love it: This dark, leafy green packs plenty of good-for-you-nutrients—vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and iron. It’s also known as a better-sex food. So, you know, #winning.
Store it: Wrap the stems in a moist paper towel, place it all in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to three days. When it comes to packaged arugula, store it in its container in the fridge.
Eat it: Arugula works wonderfully as the base of a fresh salad, in pastas, or as a pizza topping.
Love it: Mmm, there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh basil. Not only does it contain vitamins A, C, and K, but it also has manganese, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Fun fact: It may also have anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its oil, eugenol.
Store it: Wrap the stems in a slightly moist paper towel, place them in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to four days.
Eat it: It’s a staple in Italian cuisine, so it’s perfect for pizzas, pastas, sauces, pestos, and salads. One of our favorites: a Caprese salad.
Love ’em: Colorful and crunchy, bell peppers contain vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate, free-radical-fighting lycopene (in sweet red peppers), and potassium.
Store ‘em: Place your peppers in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to five days.
Eat ‘em: Slice them up and eat them with hummus, fold them into omelets, or add them to salads, stir fries, and pasta dishes.
Love it: This leafy green contains three carotenoids—beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (what a name, right?)—that help boost eye health. It also has vitamins C and E, which can boost immunity and protect against inflammation, respectively.
Store it: Wrap chard in slightly moist paper towels, place it in a plastic bag (make a few perforations in it), and refrigerate for up to three days.
Eat it: Sauté and pair it with grilled steak, chicken, or tofu.
Love it: It’s sweet and starchy (and it’s certainly not low-carb), but corn also packs plenty of digestion-friendly fiber and vision-protecting carotenoids.
Store it: Place corn (with husks on) in the fridge for up to two days.
Eat it: Grilled, with a squirt or two of lime and a tiny bit of salt. For a heartier meal, try it in chowder.
Love ‘em: A seriously low-cal veggie, cucumbers have a high water content, and have been linked to anti-cancer benefits, thanks to their phytonutrients and vitamin C content.
Store ‘em: Stow in a plastic bag in the fridge in for up to one week.
Eat ‘em: Enjoy cucumbers in all different kinds of salads, or pickle them!
Love ‘em: These little soybeans provide a complete protein—i.e. all the amino acids your body needs. Plus, they’re high in vitamins C and K as well as fiber, iron, and magnesium.
Store ‘em: It’s best to cook the pods ASAP, but they can be refrigerated for up to two days before cooking.
Eat ‘em: For a tasty snack, boil them (in their pods) and enjoy them with a touch of salt. Or add them to stir fries and salads.
Love it: A low-cal and high-fiber choice, eggplant is rich in phytochemicals that boost heart health and may protect against cancer.
Store it: Refrigerate in the crisper for up to seven days.
Eat it: Enjoy eggplant grilled, baked into lasagnas or casseroles, or in a stir fry.
Love ‘em: With over 20 body-boosting nutrients—including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and even some omega-3s—green beans are one of summer’s superstars.
Store ‘em: Place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate them (in your crisper drawer) for up to one week.
Eat ‘em: Add green beans to salads, stir-fries, and casseroles, or steam them and enjoy them as a side dish.
Love it: Summer squash—which includes super-popular zucchini as well as yellow squash, cocozelle, and scallopini—is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
Store it: Place summer squash in a plastic bag and refrigerate (in the vegetable drawer) for up to five days.
Eat it: Grill, bake, sauté, steam… the options are almost endless. You can even incorporate them into tacos or gnocchi!
Note: This list comprises fruits and vegetables that are generally in season during the summer across the U.S. Still, availability will depend on specific locations. Talk to the farmers at your local market or use this handy, state-by-state guide to learn exactly which produce to expect in your area!