Have you gotten into the spirit of eating fresh produce this summer? I hope so! In almost every neighborhood you will likely find a farmer’s market, community garden, or private urban vegetable patch. The produce stars this month are easy to find and use. They are usually the staples found in most homes to carry hungry folks through the fall and beyond.
Beside each vegetable, I’ve noted what strong nutrients each contain that are especially good for your body. Please look for organic as much as possible, especially when it comes potatoes as they can be a heavily sprayed crop:
- Beets both root and especially the tops, assist with red cell formation, and tissue repair.
- Carrots hold great amounts of vitamins, and antioxidant properties good for eyes, and heart.
- Onions contain heaps of anti-bacterial, heart support, and anti-cancer properties.
- Zucchini and their flowers offer good minerals and vitamins in this water-dense summer squash.
- Potatoes provide energy-giving minerals, Vitamin C, and fiber in this crowd-pleasing vegetable.
How to use?
You are probably very familiar with how to use the traditional garden carrot, potato, (red, yellow, or white) onion, and beets. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m beginning to build a soup right in front of your eyes with these ingredients! In my household, and as a nod to my Ukrainian heritage, I traditionally prepare red beet borscht as a family favorite summer soup. Beets are also great to roast, use in salads, and baking, and enjoy as a juice.
I’m sure you have many recipes that call for potatoes and carrots in anything from casseroles, baked goods, to pancakes. Carrots are also great in smoothies, and freshly juiced. I simply must have these vegetables on hand at all times. When it comes to onions, there was one day recently when I completely ran out and seriously, I felt like I couldn’t cook. Thank goodness I had my garden chives to use! Onions are my go-to for flavor in soups, and salads. We enjoy them caramelized in sandwiches, or as a topping on hormone-free, organic beef burgers. They can also be used in a dip. Yikes, I’m getting hungry!
Now what about zucchini? Have you ever had someone beg you to take a bag of zucchini from them? In late summer, do you see these abandoned vegetables in the lunch room at work, trying to get your attention for you to take them home? Ah yes, the love / hate relationship with this squash.
Personally I can’t get enough! I’ve prepared myself over the years with lots of recipes that include relishes, baked goods, stir-fries, and pancakes. They are tasty, eaten raw with a dip. Lately, our most favorite way of eating them, are as a replacement for noodles. I normally don’t buy too many kitchen gadgets, but I purchased a spiralizer for $39. Great investment! I specifically bought it for zucchini but its other blades can slice, and make other shapes with produce like apples, carrots, and beets.
We especially love the zucchini noodles with a dairy-free, and nut-free pesto recipe I created. The pesto can also be enjoyed in a sandwich, or as a dip. You’ll see the recipe here on the blog.
Now is the time to get these vegetables while in season. While you can locate most of the Five Favorites in cans or a frozen bag, garden-fresh flavor and nutrition can’t be beat. So go find the freshest vegetables to put on your fork. Your taste buds and body will thank you!