by Kristen Troy and Sasha Reddy
There are more than 7,500 known varieties of apples, 2,500 of these are grown in the United States. Apples are a popular snack and it can be a fun afternoon activity to go apple picking. Enjoy eating apple raw off the core, sliced, diced, in a pie, in cobbler, in a salad, and in many other ways!
The bell pepper, a favored member of the Capsicum genus, doesn’t even produce capsaicin! This results in a far more mild flavor compared to its other pepper relatives. While bell peppers can be eaten at pretty much any stage in their growth, many tend to enjoy them when they are red and at their ripest. Red bell peppers aren’t just tastier, either; they actually contain the most vitamin C and carotenoids when they are left to redden.
These round “mini cabbages” grow on stalks and can be harvested off the stalks to be eaten. Brussels Sprouts are low in calories but high in vitamins K and C, as well as fiber. Enjoy these raw in a salad, grilled, roasted, or steamed.
Carrots are a root vegetable that have a satisfying crunch when eaten raw and a sweet flavor when they are cooked. Carrots are typically orange but can also be white, yellow, and purple. Combine multiple colors of carrots for a visually appealing plate of food.
Summer not hot enough for you? Add some chili peppers to your summer recipes to add some heat and vitamin C. In 3.5 oz of raw red hot chili peppers there is 173% of the daily value of vitamin C and 39% of the daily value of vitamin B6. These spicy fruits can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, and ground into powders for a versatile addition to many recipes.
Eggplant is typically referred to as a vegetable, but is botanically defined as a berry because they are a fleshy fruit produced from a single flower. The texture of the eggplant, along with its low levels of macronutrients and micronutrients, is what makes it popular in various cuisines. The spongey texture allows it to take on the oils and flavors used while cooking.
A relative to the onion, shallot, leek, and chive, garlic is a bulbous plant made up of individual cloves. Garlic is used to add flavor to many dishes. Raw garlic is known for its pungency, but roasting or sauteing garlic will give it a more subtle flavor.
These berries range from green, white, yellow, red, pink, purple, and almost black coloring. Growing from shrubs, these berries have American and European varieties. The American varieties are smaller and grow to a perfectly round half-inch berry. The European varieties can grow to be the size of a small plum but typically are one-inch long. Gooseberries can be eaten by themselves or can be cooked into desserts and jams.
There are 45 different species of lavender in the world and 450 varieties. Lavender can be seen in gardens, used in cooking, baking, teas, bath products, perfumes, and made into essential oils. Lavender has been said to be antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, restlessness, help digestive issues, relieve some pain, and could prevent hair loss.
Looking for a good source of dietary fiber? Cooked lima beans have 7 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of fat, and about 8 grams of protein in 3.5 oz! Make sure to adequately cook these beans before consuming them. Raw beans are made toxic by their anti-nutrients that inhibit nutrient absorption and can damage organs. Cooking the beans reduces the anti-nutrients so it is safe to eat.
Nectarines are actually just mutated peaches, but there are a few distinctions between the two fruits. Unlike peaches, nectarines don’t have any fuzz, and they taste sweeter as well. Since nectarines and peaches are frequently grown from the same trees, many growers will take nectarine-producing branches and graft them onto peach trees to ensure a crop full of fuzzless fruits.
They’re good for a lot more than making you cry. Onions are of the oldest veggies to be eaten by humans, with records of their use going back 7000 years. There are a few different types of onions: white, yellow, red, and sweet. These underground-growing bulbs were worshipped by Ancient Egyptians for their perfect concentric circular layers and have even been buried in the tombs of pharaohs with the hope that they will bring prosperity to the deceased in the afterlife.
One raspberry is actually made up of hundreds of tiny sac-like fruits called druplets, each containing a single seed. While commonly seen as red, these delicious fruits can come in a variety of colors (of which gold is the sweetest). Raspberries are also jam-packed with antioxidants, which not only slow the aging process but help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and others.
Although these cousins to onions likely originated from south-east Asia, they are now a staple of French cuisine. They are extremely beneficial for reducing inflammation, making them a great addition to the diets of allergy-sufferers. Most interestingly, several studies have shown that the ethyl acetate extracts found in shallots may counteract the build-up of lipids in the body, thus potentially preventing obesity.
These veggies are more commonly known as Jerusalem artichokes, though they are actually a type of tuber that grows underground. Far more comparable to potatoes in terms of size and texture, sunchokes were grown and used by Native Americans for centuries before colonists arrived in North America. If you’re thinking of introducing sunchokes to your diet, take it slow, as eating too many at once can cause serious bloating.
Did you know that July is National Watermelon Month? As the name implies, these melons are more than 90 percent water, making them an ideal summer treat. But even with all that water, they harbor some helpful nutrients, too. They are a great source of vitamin c and a phenomenal source of the amino acid citrulline, which can alleviate muscle soreness among other things.
Despite being thought of and cooked as a vegetable, zucchini is actually a fruit! Nearly every part of zucchini is edible, including the flowers, and it can be easily added into just about any recipe you can think to make. Zucchini contains absolutely no cholesterol or unhealthy fat and offers a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and more.
Still in Season
Learn about these from, In Season This Month: June
- Black-eyed Peas
- Green Beans
- Summer Squash
Learn about these from, In Season This Month: May
- Green Onions
Learn about these from, In Season This Month: April
- Collard Greens