May is the gateway to summer--it is a month that can start off raining, but always seems to end with sunshine. The days are continuing to get warmer and longer, and we are enjoying a wider selection of fresh produce. May is also National Barbeque Month, so if you have not already been outside grilling, there is no excuse to delay any longer.
An apple a day provides respectable amounts of both insoluble and soluble fiber (including pectin), some vitamin C, and potassium. Apples are also a good source of quercetin, a flavonoid that may help protect against heart disease. Apples are widely available and they store well if refrigerated; keeping them chilled preserves their crispness and conserves their nutrients.
These fragile peach-like fruits, with their perfumed aroma and ultra-sweet flavor, contain impressive amounts of beta-carotene. They are also a fair source of potassium, and supply a good amount of fiber.
To keep asparagus fresh, cut 1/2 inch off of the base of the stalk and stand the asparagus upright in an inch of warm water (do not let the tips soak in water!). This will also revive asparagus that looks wilted and limp. or an elegant appetizer or spring salad, steam asparagus, sprinkle with red wine or Balsamic vinegar and refrigerate. When ready to serve, top with chopped toasted almonds.
Avocados are commonly thought of as vegetables, but they are actually fruits. These delicious creamy fruits are known to be high in fat, however, keep in mind that it is a healthful fat.
Broccoli is one of the most healthful foods you can eat--a real nutritional powerhouse. Along with a rich supply of vitamins and minerals--notably vitamin C, folate (folic acid), and potassium--it contains the phytochemical sulforaphane, which helps reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, broccoli contains a good amount of beta-carotene.
These sweet, golden-fleshed melons make refreshing a snack, and are delicious in fruit salad. A cantaloupe is ready to eat when the blossom end is slightly soft, and the melon is mildly fragrant.
May is the beginning of a relatively short season for these delicious cherries. These large, round, extra-sweet cherries have purple-red flesh and a deep red skin that verges on black when fully ripe. Delicious in cherry pie, if you bake it before you eat them all from the bowl!
Fresh corn should be sweet, crisp, and juicy. It is best eaten as fresh as possible, as it starts to lose its sugar content immediately after harvesting. The most common way to prepare fresh corn on the cob is to boil it, but roasting is also an excellent way to prepare it. To roast corn in the husk, first pull back the husks so that you can remove the silk, then replace the husks and tie them with kitchen string. Soak the corn in cold water for five minutes. Place corn on the grill and cook, turning occasionally.
Just in time for warm weather, cucumbers are not only crisp, but also cool and moist--attributes due to their exceptionally high water content. These are a delicious snack, and a refreshing addition to salads, sandwiches and cold soups such as gazpacho.
Super nutritious, with a clean flavor that is tart, yet sweet, pink grapefruits make a great snack. They are also excellent paired with many varieties of fish, and are great for added zing in salads.The three major types of grapefruit include white, pink/red and Star Ruby/Rio Red. Each variety has it's own unique flavor nuances, but they all have a clean refreshing, sweet-tart flavor. Grapefruits are traditionally halved, then eaten with a spoon, but they can also be peeled or sliced and eaten like an orange. Grapefruits are excellent paired with many varieties of fish, and are great for added zing in salads.
Fresh green beans, a delicious warm weather favorite, are an excellent source of a variety of nutrients, most notably vitamin K (important for maintaining strong bones), with a whopping 122% of the daily value in one cup.
Slightly sweet, tangy lime juice and lime zest makes a delicious and refreshing addition to a variety of foods and beverages. Limes will keep up to six weeks when refrigerated, so there is no reason you should not always have a few limes on hand this summer.
The Packham is best eaten out of hand but it can also be baked or sauteed. Packhams do not change color when ripe. Your pear will be perfect to eat when it smells fragrant and yields to gentle pressure at the stem end.
Despite its tough bristly appearance, fresh pineapple is very easy to prepare, (and well worth the work!). It is a similar process to cutting a melon into chunks or slices. Simply cut the lengthwise into quarters, then cut the quarters into slices. To prepare for fruit salad, cut skin off of the slices, then cut the fruit into smaller chunks.
Radishes are root vegetables with a distinctive flavor that range from the juicy crispness of the familiar red globe radish to the sharp bite of the turnip-shaped black radish. Radishes are usually eaten raw; however, they can be added to cooked dishes such as soups, or pickled, or heated and served as a whole vegetable. As with many other root vegetables, their green tops are edible and lend a peppery taste to salads.
Although it will not produce the magical effects that Popeye enjoyed, spinach is most definitely good for you. It is exceptionally rich in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lutein, and also contains quercetin, a phytochemical with antioxidant properties. Spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly folate (folic acid), vitamin K, magnesium, and manganese; it also contains more protein than most vegetables.
Watermelon is a sweet treat you can feel great about indulging in. It's fat free, low in calories and contains key vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C, and cancer-fighting lycopene. On a warm spring afternoon there is nothing like sweet refreshing watermelon, so grab a slice or two (or three, or four...) and enjoy.