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It’s the time of the year we are all waiting for: summer! Hello, warmer weather and summer get-togethers! Summertime also brings delicious and nutritious summer fruits! Here are few seasonal favorites to enjoy as sweet treats, as well as how to eat them and fit them into your daily summertime habits!
If you like peaches and plums, you’ll love apricots! Rich in beta-carotene and fiber, these sweet stone fruits are best enjoyed fresh.
Choose apricots that yield to gentle pressure and have smooth, velvety skin. You can speed up the ripening process by placing not-quite-ripe apricots in a paper bag and leaving it at room temperature. Store ripe apricots in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
Apricots are best when eaten as a snack at room temperature. You can grill them to use on burgers or grilled chicken. You can also dice them and add to salads or grain dishes.
Did you know that if you’re allergic to aspirin, you should avoid eating apricots?
These sweet and tart treats boast a long list of health benefits, from minimizing post-workout muscle pain to improving heart health. They come in a variety of colors and flavor profiles, but the main three are Bing cherries (dark red) Lambert cherries (bright red), and Queen Anne cherries (yellow and light red).
Always look for plump, firm cherries. Keep them cool, not at room temperature. Choose larger cherries that are firm, brightly colored, and at least an inch in diameter. They should have stems attached. Cherries will last in the refrigerator for up to one week as long as you don't wash them first. If you find any cherries with mold, remove them promptly because it quickly spreads to the others.
Cherries are a perfect mid-day snack just by themselves. You can also remove the pits and add to salads or stir-fries. Freeze a handful and add them to smoothies! And, of course, they can be made into pies or preserves.
No summer fruit salad or fruit platter is complete without melons! Summer is the best time to enjoy watermelons, cantaloupes, and all the summer melons in between because they’re extra sweet, extra juicy, and extra nutritious!
Do not shake melons to see if they’re ripe. Choose melons that are symmetrically shaped and free of any cracks or soft spots on the surface. Honeydew melons should be a pale creamy yellow, with tiny freckles on the skin. Watermelons should be moderately shiny and the bottom should be yellow, not green-white.
Watermelons should have a bit of stem, but other melons should not. Avoid buying a cut watermelon that has white seeds, which is a sign of immaturity. Uncut melons can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 4 days to ripen, and then in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Serve watermelon sliced, in cubes or balls as an anytime snack. Add to ice water with mint to flavor your beverage. Enjoy cantaloupe with cottage cheese and sliced almonds for a refreshing breakfast. Add honeydew to any smoothie to add sweetness and nutrition. Serve a large melon salad with a combination of all three melons and top with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a festive summer dessert.
With these bright and delicious summer fruits, the possibilities are endless! They add extra sweetness, hydration, and nutrition to your day throughout the warmer months, so enjoy them while they’re still in season!
Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.
Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/Active.com Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.
She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.
Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!