Nothing says summer quite like the smell of ripe produce.Trust me. Leave some peaches on your counter and in mere moments, the intoxicating perfume will spread through the room. Same goes for strawberries–there are few things as lovely as eating a strawberry, still sun-warmed and fresh.
For me, it isn’t summer until I have gone blackberry picking. There is something so delicious about sun-ripened, still-warm, soft and fragile blackberries. The taste is summer, the smell is summer, and it is delicious.
There are watermelons, nectarines, cantaloupes, cucumbers, plums, raspberries, and a host of other summer time fruits (the fresh vegetables are nice, too! I tend not to sniff them, though, and I cook ’em up on the grill or sauté them), each with a unique scent and taste. Now, these fruits will be coming in to season as the summer progresses, so what to do with them?
Over at katielean, there is a recent post about ways to use up a bumper crop of strawberries (it’s quite a list and most of it applies to other fruits), and all the line items are lovely ideas. However, today I am going to push for eating summer fruits out of hand, or simply raw in some incarnation or another.
Why? Have you ever noticed that in the cooler months, we tend to crave heartier foods? This is because it is cold out and your metabolism has to crank up to keep you warm (calories measure heat, too, not just active energy), so your body is saying, “Yes, potatoes! Stew! That warm cake with the caramel sauce!”
In the summer, it is hot and we don’t have anti-calories to burn (freeze?) to make us cool. Instead, we sweat. We need water to replace that. What is a great source of water? Summer produce! Why else does salad sound like a good idea for dinner on the hottest days of the year when the rest of the time we relegate it to rabbit food status (if you don’t, good for you)? Why else do we crave watermelon or popsicles on the Fourth of July (or on any other summer holiday), other than because these foods are delicious?
Proof? A half cup of cucumber slices (52 grams) has 49 grams of water. One ounce of blackberries (28 grams) has 24 grams of water. If we are talking about salads, one cup of shredded Romaine (47 grams) has about 45 grams of water. What about this month’s ingredient of the month? One ounce of apricots (28 grams) has about 24 grams of water. If you are interested in looking more into this, check out Nutrition Data and scroll to the bottom of the page for each food you look up. You’ll find water under Other.
Summer produce is a great source of hydration, in addition to drinking water throughout the day!