10 Summer Favorites: Fresh Produce and Recipes

Find these fruits and vegetables at your local produce market and taste the flavors of the season. Plus, check out our recipes for each ingredient!

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- Posted on Jun 26, 2014

Peaches

One of the best things about summer is the fresh fruits and veggies that sprout up at the grocery stores and farmer's markets (click here to see Rebecca Katz shop an outdoor market).

There's nothing like biting into a juicy strawberry or tossing big, chunky tomatoes into a salad. And what about that succulent corn, ready to be grilled and salted—a perfect complement to a sizzling burger.

We couldn't resist rounding up 10 of summer's tastiest ingredients and accompanying recipes. So go on and fill up your grocery bag full of the season's best picks. Your taste buds will thank you.

Tomatoes
Though we often combine tomatoes with vegetables, this plump, juicy market favorite is actually a fruit. They are packed with vitamins C and A, potassium, iron and most importantly, lycopene, which acts as an antioxidant.

Whether you chop them up into a salad, stack them with mozzarella, slice them on a homemade pizza or simmer them down into sauce, tomatoes taste the most delicious during summer.

Try using them in this Garden Tomato Tart.

Blueberries
Blueberries are another summer favorite at the farmer's market. In fact, July has been declared National Blueberry Month.

Not only do they provide you with vitamins C and E, but they have more antioxidant activity than most fruits and vegetables.

Toss them in a fruit salad, mix them into your cereal or savor them one by one on their own, blueberries are always a smart snack choice, bursting with flavor in the heat of the summer.

Blend some up in a Blueberry Smoothie.

Strawberries
When you find a perfectly ripe handful of strawberries, it's as if the essence of summer is right there in your palm.

A great source of vitamin C, these bright, tempting berries are tasty enough to eat on their own, but there are plenty of ways to use them too.

Bubbling inside of pies, sliced on top of ice cream, blended into smoothies, strawberries are one of the naturally sweetest parts of the season.

Try this unique Strawberry Soup from Robin Miller.

Zucchini
Summer squash is a perfect addition to any summer meal. A very good source of magnesium, vitamins C and A, fiber, potassium and folate, zucchini's nutrients may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as lower high blood pressure.

And in the height of the season (tasting the best between May and July), this veggie will satisfy your taste buds no matter how you prepare it.

Try folding it into this Fusilli with Zucchini Ribbons pasta dish.

Peaches
Peaches are full of potassium and aid in digestion, but they're not just good for you, they're delicious too! Best eaten warm right from the tree, most of us don't have that option, so you're best bet is to eat them soon after you buy them.

Peaches don't keep for too long, which is why they are often made into jam. Or if you're looking for a jazzed-up snack, try topping each slice with cottage cheese, or for more of a dessert, whipped cream.

Toss them up in this Summer Green Bean and Grilled Peach Salad.

Raspberries
Fragrant, sweet and tart, raspberries melt in your mouth with their soft texture. With tons of vitamin C and higher antioxidant activity than strawberries and tomatoes, these unforgettable little berries pack a healthy punch.

Sprinkle them on top of yogurt or granola and they kick an ordinary snack up a notch.

Make some Bumbleberry Jam to spread on toast or scones, too!

Basil
Basil is known as a culinary herb, condiment or spice. It's a source of essential oil and the green aromatic leaves are used in salads and can be used fresh or dried in stews, meat, pesto and pasta dishes.

Many people like to grow basil in their own garden. It requires full sun and well-drained soil to grow healthy and vigorously.

This herb has also been known to treat headaches, coughs and stomach aches, so it can't hurt to add a little to your plate!

You'll enjoy its taste in this Summer Vegetable Succotash with Basil.

Avocado
Most people eat avocados in guacamole, but have you ever tasted a slice all by itself? Sprinkle a little salt on top and you've got a tasty snack.

Avocados have nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that contribute to your diet and may help improve eye health, reduce the risk of heart disease and help maintain a healthy weight with their good fats and abundance of nutrients.

Try using this fruit in Robin Miller's Chipotle Pork Soft Tacos!

Corn
What vegetable is more in sync with summer than freshly picked corn on the cob? Although corn is available year-round, the locally grown varieties that you can find during the summer taste the best and usually cost the least.

It's a great source of vitamin B1, folate and dietary fiber, making it a heart-healthy veggie.

Grilled and lightly buttered and salted is the tastiest way to eat corn on the cob, but mixing the kernels into salads or salsas are other options.

Try Bobby Flay's Perfectly Grilled Corn.

Watermelon
Watermelon is the lycopene leader among fruits and vegetables—it even surpasses the amount of lycopene in tomatoes. It's also a heart-healthy option because it's low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol.

Mostly made of water, it's a light and easy option. Watermelon spells out summer the minute you slice it open. Drink in its flavor with this Watermelon Punch recipe.

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