The weather is warming up. Mother nature is looking beautifully lush and green. Farmer’s markets are starting up outdoors. Summer is almost here and it is the perfect time to start eating more fruit. During the summer months, local fruit is at its peak. It is ripe, less expensive, and bursting with flavor. In New England, we can grow and enjoy berries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and melons, just to name a few.
Fruit is the most nutritious way to enjoy a sweet treat and satisfy those post-dinner cravings for sweets. One strategy is to keep a prepared fruit salad in the refrigerator so that it can be ready to enjoy when its time for dessert. For a tasty topping, try a bit of low fat plain yogurt. For a special treat, try coconut whipped cream. The fruit salad featured below contains both melon and berries. Here is the latest and greatest on the benefits these fabulous fruits.
In general, berries are fiber-rich, nutrient-dense and full on antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to prevent cancer by counteracting, reducing, and repairing damage to cells in the body. Raspberries are high in vitamin C, manganese and vitamin K. They are full of fiber and have twice the amount of fiber as blueberries or strawberries. Fiber promotes bowel health, prevents constipation and reduces the risk of Diverticular Disease. Research has also shown that fiber from fruit can help lower blood cholesterol levels.
This classic melon is an excellent source of vitamins C and A, and a very good source of potassium. In addition, cantaloupe is a good source of folate, copper, vitamins B3, B6 and B1, fiber, magnesium and vitamin K. So how can you tell if a melon is ripe? The trick is to feel the weight. A fuller, heavier feeling cantaloupe may be a ripe one. You can also tap the melon and listen to the sound it makes. A high, hollow sound may be a not-so-ripe melon while a dull, deep sound usually indicates a ripe melon.
Berry Cantaloupe Salad
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp lime zest
2 tsp chopped mint leaves
1) Scoop the melon or chop into 1/2 inch cubes.
2) Zest and juice the lime.
3) In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix gently to combine.
4) Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Coconut Whipped Cream
1 14 oz can coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk
1/4-3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) Chill the can overnight. Do not shake or tip.
2) Chill a large mixing bowl for at least 10 minutes.
3) Scrape out the solidified cream from the can into the chilled bowl. Leave the liquid behind.
4) Beat for 30 seconds, then add vanilla and sugar and mix until creamy and smooth, about a minute.
5) Serve immediately or refrigerate.