By Katya Baxter, Nutritionist, MenuMax.com
Summer is here which means a great variety of fruits and vegetables to cook with!
The beautiful thing about fresh fruits and veggies is that they offer a wide variety of colors which is important in conveying the flavors and freshness of the dish. Just think of berries, summer squash, cucumbers, beans, corn, tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, melons, figs, and the list goes on!
So if you’ve been wondering about more ways to incorporate fruits and veggies into your menu, here are some suggestions:
- Use them as an alternative for meat-based sauces. Less meat equals lower costs and fewer calories. You can explore unique flavor combinations by using fruits and vegetables in the form of chutneys, compotes, relishes, purees, coulis, etc.
- Take advantage of juices. Fruit and vegetable juices can be used in soups, dressings, hot sauces, or as cooking liquids. When you reduce them, you get a more intense flavor.
- Get creative with your knives. Use different knife cuts to make fruits and veggies even more interesting. (No question kids will love it!)
- Don’t forget that dried fruits also count. These can be used in salads, toppings for cereals, desserts, stuffings, sauces, etc.
And I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention the amazing nutritional value fruits and veggies have to offer. However, it is important to use them within 3-4 days after harvesting and use proper storing techniques. Otherwise, they lose most of their nutritional value.
So make sure to take advantage of the seasonal produce. Aside from the obvious nutritional benefits, it is easier on your wallet, it doesn’t require as careful portion budgeting as animal proteins, and it offers a great variety of colors and flavors.
So if you are wondering about the perfect time to explore more healthful cooking, wonder no more: the time is now.