Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Summer is just about gone - the first official day of autumn is Wednesday, September 22nd.

I always feel a little sad this time of year as I bid a bittersweet goodbye to the season.  Is it the heat I'll miss?  Well, no, not really.  Especially not this year.  The lazy days at the pool?  Nope - I'm not that big into lazy days or water.  

Summer is my all-time favorite season because of one word: fruit.

I love fresh, summer, seasonal fruits - peaches, berries, apricots, cantaloupe and watermelon, in particular.  I savor their taste and aroma.  You know what I mean if you've ever been stopped dead in your tracks by the heady fragrance of a perfectly ripe peach, or have been led by your nose to buy a sugary-sweet cantaloupe.  There's really nothing quite like it.

And I know you can find all of these fruits pretty much any time of year now, thanks to worldwide distribution.  But I like buying seasonal for the freshest taste - for me, blueberries from Chile in December just don't taste quite the same as Texas-ripe blueberries at the peak of their season in June.
So as summer fades away, allow me to pay tribute to a few of my favorite fruits - which also happen to be nutrient superstars, as you'll see.  And let me know what your favorites are - or what you may be looking forward to in the fall (juicy, ripe pears anyone?).

My kids adore strawberries. And that's great, because one tiny cup contains over 100% of our daily vitamin C needs - essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, as well as healing cuts and scrapes.

Just one cup of raspberries contains as much fiber as three slices of whole wheat bread - meeting 1/3 of your daily fiber needs.  Raspberries are also a good source of vitamin K, essential for bone health.
Their beautiful blue color comes from an antioxidant called anthocyanin - believed to help keep your immune system working in peak form, reducing your risk for several diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Their season is short - just a few weeks in early summer.  But don't miss it.  By eating just three apricots, you'll be getting 75% of your daily requirement for vitamin A, a key nutrient for healthy vision. 

Lucky for us, Texas had a bumper crop this year.  And they were awesomely good.  Not only is a perfectly ripe peach sublime, but it is a good source of fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene - the antioxidant that gives the peach its golden glow and keeps your vision healthy.  Plus, peaches have a high water content, helping with weight control by keeping you feeling fuller, longer.

Yes, a tomato is technically a fruit.  And the rich red color comes from the antioxidant lycopene, which aides in reducing heart disease and cancer risks.  Eat them raw with a little healthy fat like olive oil or cooked up in a sauce to fully take advantage of lycopene's benefits.

On a hot day, watermelon can't be beat.  And these babies are 92% water, so they are super low in calories, yet fill you up.  And just like tomatoes, the red color is the result of lycopene - and lots of it.  One cup of watermelon contains twice the lycopene as a fresh tomato (and only 40 calories to boot).

Kids love super-sweet cantaloupe (or "lopey" as my son calls it).  Eating just a quarter of a melon (about a cup) gives kids all the vitamins A and C they need in a day.  And it provides as much potassium as one banana, a key nutrient for healthy blood pressure.


  1. I agree 100%. Late fall, winter and early spring provide only two choices; apples or pears. I'm not doing the pomegranate (is that a fruit?). I read a good article the other day and thought you might enjoy:

  2. Hi Eddie,
    Thanks for the link; interesting article to fuel the never-ending debate on whether or not organic is more flavorful and/or nutritious than conventional. I personally like to buy organic as much as possible - preferably USA organic. And yes, pomegranate is a fruit. :) Maybe I'll do an entry on my favorite fall veggies - there seems to be more variety than fruit for the season. Thanks for your comment! Susan

  3. I think a fall fruit article is needed. Could there be more that I don't know about?! I am like you, the imports from Chile just aren't the same for some reason.