Use Seasonal Fruits in These Teen-Tested Recipes for Summer
School’s out and summertime is here, meaning most teens are spending even more time raiding the kitchen and fending for themselves during the day. Fortunately, summer is also chock-full of seasonal fruits that pack a healthy punch. Check out our favorite summer fruits below with some of the best teen-tested-and-approved recipes, then hit the farmers market to try them at home!
Tomatoes You can find tomatoes in grocery stores all year long, but these traditional fruits (biologically speaking) love the heat, and are in peak form for growing and eating in the warmer summer months. They’re packed with nutrients (seriously…. packed) like the antioxidant lycopene, which gives them their signature red color and is thought to prevent certain types of cancer. Store them on the counter (not in the fridge!) and keep them on the vine if possible until they’re ripe – they’ll feel heavy for their size (a good rule of thumb for all ripe fruits) and soft, but not mushy. Once you find a ripe one, the possibilities are endless. Pair with basil and fresh mozzarella for a classic summertime caprese salad – or upgrade to this roasted version from Ina Garten that plays up the tomatoes’ sweetness and takes a classic dish to the next level.
Avocado There is nothing that cannot be improved by adding avocado. Healthy (monosaturated) fats, vitamins E and B6, carotenoids –mashed avo is even good for your hair and skin (literally – use is as a mask!). They look like a nut, but they’re actually a fruit (a berry, in fact). When picking an avocado for eating, you’ll have to hold it – they should be firm, but not hard, and definitely not mushy. Leave them on the counter when they’re still ripening (or pop them in a paper bag with a tomato or banana to speed up the process), and move them to the fridge to stop the ripening process. A classic (and healthy) summer treat is fresh guacamole – which can sound pretty daunting. Using fresh ingredients is always best, but have your teen try this hack at their next after-camp hangout: mash two avocados and combine with half a jar of salsa – Viola! Guacamole in a snap. And to keep the whole bowl from going brown, add lime or another citrus, or keep the pit in it – the avocados won’t even know they’ve been cut open and will stay green.
Not only are avocados good on their own, but their buttery flavor pairs well with pretty much anything – it can even be used as a replacement for fat in baking. Try these fudgy avocado brownies or any of Greatist’s 39 deliciously unexpected avocado recipes.
Blueberries Blueberries are packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, making them the raining champs of nutritionally-rich superfoods. They’re even said to help prevent cancer and age-related memory loss! Blueberries are the only berry that should look dull when they’re ripe (but they should still be firm and plump), so don’t worry about washing these guys until right before you eat them, or else you risk them rotting prematurely. Frozen blueberries are delicious and nutritious all year round, but these powerhouse berries hit their freshness peak over the summer – so get pickin’! Blueberries are a go-to for any fruity dessert, especially when they’re combined with other in-season fruits, like peaches (try this recipe for peach-blueberry cobbler that is guaranteed to become a summertime tradition!), but if you feel like you’ve had enough of blueberry desserts and pastries, try them fresh by adding them to your favorite salad (like this one!), or just eating them on their own as a healthy and flavorful snack.
Cherries Your teens may be expecting the maraschino cherries they find on top of a sundae, but they’ll be sweetly surprised with how delicious a fresh, in-season cherry can be. And these berries are more than just sweet – they’ve been shown to aid in muscle recovery after a workout (perfect for long summer days outside!) and may help protect against diabetes and heart disease. Fully ripe cherries should be plump, shiny, and have the stems on if you want them to keep for a few days. One of our favorite varieties is the Ranier cherry, known for it’s yellow coloring and super-sweet flavor. Check out this recipe for mini, on-the-go Ranier cherry streusel, straight from the Portland farmer’s market.
Bonus! Weirdly, when fruits are in season together, their flavors pair surprisingly well! Don’t believe us? Try combining some of our fave summer fruits into this tomato, avocado, watermelon, and cucumber salad. Have another combo in mind? Let us know your favorite summer fruits and how you use them in the comments below!