Every season offers its own selection of delicious fruits and veggies. For example, fall brings apples and carrots, winter brings squash and potatoes, spring brings rhubarb and peas, but summertime brings one of our favorites: fresh berries.
When harvested in their prime season, produce is at it’s fresher and tastiest — but those aren’t the only benefits. Here are some common health benefits of eating seasonally:
- Taste: In-season produce usually tastes better because it’s fresher. Think about it: During warmer months, produce like berries can grow close to home and don’t have to travel long and far to get to your plate. That box of blueberries you buy in the middle of the winter, however, most likely traveled days — even weeks — between the time they were harvested and when you eat them.
- Nutrition: Freshness doesn’t just contribute to taste, it also has a lot to do with nutritional value. Again, think about those December blueberries that had to travel from a far away warmer climate. The more time between harvest and consumption, the fewer nutrients. Some antioxidants such as vitamin C, folate and carotenes rapidly decline when stored for longer periods of time — another great reason to opt for local produce and to eat seasonally.
- Cost: When farmers are harvesting a large abundance of in-season fruits or veggies, the produce becomes more affordable. This is especially true if it’s locally sourced because travel expenses and storage are not required.
- Contamination: When dealing with imported produce, you can’t be sure of their regulations for pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Many countries across the globe have much more relaxed laws about chemicals.
- Remedy: In winter, nature provides us with citrus — lemons, limes, oranges — which has the vitamin C we need to fight colds. Summer foods, such as stone fruits, provide us with extra beta-carotene and other carotenoids that help protect against sun damage.
- Environment: Eating seasonally supports local farming in your area, therefore requiring less transportation, less refrigeration, fewer greenhouses and less irradiation of produce.
Let’s talk seasonal summer fruit: Berries
With summer well underway, enjoys those sunny days and warmer temperatures with some bright, summer berries. From the sweet and juicy blackberry to the tart raspberry, berries aren’t just delicious, they’re incredibly versatile. They can be eaten raw or cooked, used in sweet or savory dishes, and are packed with nutritional, healing powers.
Whether strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries are your personal favorite, we’ve rounded up some summer berry recipes fit for all. Each recipe requires minimal ingredients (less than 6!) for a stress-free time in the kitchen. Find each one in the 8fit recipe book.
8 Easy summer berry recipes
Basil strawberries with ricotta
It’s difficult to resist a perfectly ripe strawberry. That’s why this recipe showcases the fruit itself by keeping the ingredients to a minimum. Just a couple of complementary elements — balsamic vinegar, almond, ricotta and fresh basil — to highlight the natural sweetness and flavor.
Almond butter and blackberry crackers
Enjoy all the best textures and flavors in one snack. Almond butter is spread on crunchy crackers and topped with juicy blackberries and fresh mint. They don’t just taste yummy, you can really dress this snack up into a fancy treat or even a canapé for a dinner party.
Raspberry grilled cheese sandwich
Give this unusual sandwich filling a go. It’s layers of gooey melted mozzarella sandwiched between buttered (yes, buttered) whole grain bread. Also in between those slices are honey, mint and, the star, fresh raspberries. If you want to enjoy the sandwich at work, just take it cold and heat it in a pan at lunchtime.
Soak in summer with this watermelon fruit pizza. It’s a pizza that helps you reach your health-related goals, is easy to assemble, and makes you feel like a kid again. To create this healthy pizza, slice a big round of watermelon, spread Greek yogurt and scatter the fruit evenly all over. Don’t forget the basil leaves for that grown-up twist.
Peanut butter and berry ice cream
If you’re looking for a perfect in-between seasons ice cream, the answer is peanut butter, berries and milk sprinkled with a dusting of cinnamon. It’s got the just right balance of sweetness, tartness, and creaminess, plus protein from the nut butter. Multiply the portion so it’s easier to blend and use frozen berries for an instant ice cream with no freezing required.
Beet and berry smoothie
You’ll love staring at this smoothie’s beautiful, vibrant color. Packed with banana, beets, coconut, yogurt and banana, this beverage has it all. It’s a super healthy blend of fruit and veggies, with a good dose of protein. Use frozen banana and berries for best results, blending until smooth.
Cottage cheese with berries and walnuts
This recipe is as simple as it gets: just mix cottage cheese with walnuts and berries. We went for fresh blueberries and raspberries in our 8fit recipe, but you can replace them with berries of your choice.
Strawberry peanut butter quesadilla
Few combinations are more satisfying and customizable than peanut butter and jelly. Here’s our version: peanuts, coconut, and fresh strawberries stacked onto tortillas and folded into a crispy quesadilla that’ll warm you right up — perfect for a chilly summer evening.