The start of summer brings with it bushels of farm-fresh produce. There are so many refreshing, vibrant summer flavors to enjoy and lots of ways to make the most of them during the warmer months while soaking up plenty of Vitamin D.
We’ve picked out our top 12 summer flavors and what makes them so great. Plus, we’re highlighting some great meal ideas and summer snacks for kids, families, and people on the go using summer’s best!
5 Reasons to Love Seasonal Summer Produce
First off, let’s start with a handful of reasons to pick up summer’s freshest fruits and veggies — then we’ll get into the ones you should pop into your reusable tote at the farmers market.
1. Kinder to the Planet
Growing and transporting locally harvested seasonal produce is often gentler on the environment since it involves less chemical ripening agents, preservatives, and fuel.
2. Supports Local Businesses
Purchasing seasonal produce and prepared foods at farmer’s markets is a great way to support local farmers and economies.
3. Hydration Help
High water content means summertime fruits and veggies help you stay hydrated, which is an important consideration, especially during a heatwave.
4. Nutritional Value
Each produce item contains its own unique package of nutrients to keep your body going strong all summer long.
5. Superior Taste
Freshly picked fruits and vegetables almost always taste better, since they’re perfectly ripened and retain more complex and rich flavors.
A Dozen Delicious Summer Flavors You Can’t Miss
Before the sun sets on summertime, fill up your plate with the following fruits and veggies. Try our favorite summer snack ideas and meal recommendations using these seasonal ingredients, and you’re sure to find a few new family favorites!
Maybe the most iconic fruit for summer, a juicy pink-and-green slice of watermelon is high in antioxidants as well as vitamin C and A. Beyond simply slicing up big wedges of watermelon, you can enjoy it tossed with a salad. For a fun, shareable summer snack for kids or guests, use a big round slice as the “crust” for a fruit pizza. Simply spread on some low-fat Greek yogurt and sprinkle some fresh berries and mint leaves with a drizzle of honey, our favorite natural sweetener.
The beachy fruit that yields this tropical flavor is also rich in manganese, copper, and iron, meaning it helps promote bone health, metabolism, and red blood cell production. Coconut is surprisingly versatile. You can mix it into everything from a savory curry to a sweet, refreshing smoothie. And you can enjoy the taste of island life on the go thanks to our piña colada style Perfect Bar, Coconut Peanut Butter.
These cute little heart-shaped fruits are actually great for your heart. They’re loaded with nutrients that help lower cholesterol levels and keep blood pressure stable. And they’re pretty easy on the taste buds, too. For a mid-summer snack, try strawberry ricotta crostini topped with a squeeze of citrus and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Or, if you really need to cool down, whip up this two-ingredient strawberry honey sorbet.
4. Summer Squash
Also known as yellow squash, summer squash is a golden source of nutritional goodness. It offers vitamin C as well as folate and dietary fiber, which helps you feel fuller and works to fight against inflammatory diseases. Summer squash works great on the grill when stacked up kebab-style with peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Or, grab the spiralizer and enjoy summer squash zoodles tossed with garlic, basil, and olive oil.
This fruit usually masquerades as a vegetable, but this will never hide the fact that it’s great for promoting hydration as well as bone health. If you’re trying to stay as cool as a cucumber, fill up a pitcher with cucumber-lime-infused water to stay hydrated. As a summer snack or appetizer, toss chopped pieces of cucumber with tomatoes, olives, and feta with a homemade vinaigrette for a zesty Greek salad.
The variety of vitamins and minerals found in peaches are great for the skin, eyes, gut, and immune system. And if you love their fresh, juicy flavor, you really can’t go wrong! Peaches are a treat tossed into summer smoothies and baked goods, like cobblers and pies. But a few slices also do wonders when it comes to dressing up a grilled chicken salad — add some goat cheese and cranberries for a refreshing kick.
Celery is a fibrous veggie that’s helpful for hydration and reducing inflammation. As peanut butter aficionados, we always love ants-on-a-log as a summer snack for kids of all ages. And it works well remixed with any nut butter and topping combination. But for something a little heartier, you can whip up a batch of creamy celery soup.
8. Bell Pepper
Green, red, orange, yellow — whichever type of bell pepper you prefer, it’s sure to be a refreshingly good-for-you summer pick. Bell peppers are known for boosting immunity and helping keep your skin and hair healthy. You can enjoy raw slices in a salad or dipped in hummus. Or, toss chopped up pieces into an easy stir fry or fish taco bowl and savor the caramelized flavors.
In addition to covering you in cherry-red stains, this flavorful fruit will leave you with a healthy dose of potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. While they’re great eaten on their own, try giving cherries a fancy upgrade by cooking them down into a red wine bruschetta topping. When the temperature spikes, chill out with homemade cherry, yogurt, and honey popsicles. You can also enjoy this sweet summer flavor in our brand new Cherry Pie Perfect Bar!
Honeydew helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels while promoting a beneficial balance of electrolytes in your body. Chop it up into a spicy melon salsa to serve as a side dish, or swap it out for cantaloupe to put a twist on the traditional prosciutto e melone appetizer. After a long day of adulting, why not kick back with a honeydew margarita while you’re at it?
Each little kernel of corn offers folic acid, vitamin B12, and iron. When it comes to sharing grilled corn on the cob at a backyard barbeque with the family, the taste is just as sweet as the memories made. For a quicker summer snack that’s easy to share, whip up a batch of cowboy caviar bean and veggie salad using fresh uncooked corn sliced straight off the cob.
If you’re looking for a petite little berry that fights back against oxidative stress, inflammation, and heart disease, here’s your answer! Blueberries are delicious when tossed into everything from yogurt parfaits and pies to smoothies and salads. We love the flavor so much we created our own Blueberry Cashew Perfect Bar featuring creamy, freshly ground cashew and almond butters with a sweet dollop of organic honey.
Find Perfect Snacks in a store near you to get a fridge-fresh bite of the top summer flavors!