Add some color to your meals to celebrate fresh fruit and vegetable month. Skip the canned or frozen aisle and check out the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables making their way into the grocery store, farmers markets or your garden during the month of June.
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy eating plan because they are typically high in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in calories and saturated fats. Most fruits and vegetables also have little to no sodium. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and developing type 2 diabetes. They provide nutrients that many of us do not get enough of, such as calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
So Many Benefits
The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are important in helping our bodies fight cancer, ease inflammation and regulate our blood sugar. Just one example is vitamin A, also known as retinol, promotes good vision, and one form of vitamin A, called beta-carotene, protects cells from free-radical damage that can lead to cancers. Orange and yellow fruits and most vegetables are good sources of vitamin A. Just one cup of spinach provides more than your daily requirements of vitamin A. Try this salad recipe that includes spinach and strawberries for a yummy way to meet your vitamin A requirement for the day.
What Fruits and Vegetables Are In Season?
In our area, you can expect to find lots of yummy choices at the grocery store or farmers market this month.
- Green Beans
How to Store Your Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- Pantry: Store these fruits and vegetables in a cool, dark place like your pantry or basement.
- Onions, garlic and shallots
- Sweet potatoes, potatoes and yams
- Hard squash (acorn, butternut, spaghetti)
- Countertop: Store these fruits and vegetables loosely and away from light and moisture.
- Stone fruits (Ripen avocados, apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums in a paper bag, then move to the fridge where they’ll last a few more days.)
- Citrus (Store lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit loose or in a mesh bag. Refrigerate for longer storage.)
- Refrigerator: Store in plastic bags with holes in your produce drawer, unless noted.
- Apples & pears
- Berries, cherries and grapes (Keep dry in covered containers of plastic bags.)
- Broccoli & cauliflower
- Corn (Store inside their husks)
- Cucumbers, eggplant & peppers (Store on the upper shelf, which is the warmer part of the fridge)
- Green beans
- Lettuce & leafy greens (Wash, spin or pat dry, wrap loosely in a dish towel or paper towels and place in a plastic bag in vegetable drawer. Keep stems moist.)
- Mushrooms (Keep dry and unwashed in store container or paper bag.)
- Zucchini & summer squash
Keep Them Apart
- Fruits like apples, bananas and pears give off ethylene gas, which can make other produce ripen and rot faster.
- Store vegetables and fruits separately.
- Keep apples, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, pears, potatoes and watermelon away from other produce.
For additional information and tips, check out the American Heart Association’s Guide to adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your eating plan. For more recipes using fresh fruits and vegetables, check out our blog. Enjoy celebrating fresh fruit and vegetable month all throughout the month of June!