Fresh Fruit: Summer’s Delicious Delights


By JeanAnn Taylor


Welcome to summertime when fruits and vegetables are fresh and plentiful. After a long, cold winter, sweet strawberries and luscious cherries

are a welcome treat.

However, before you enjoy these summer pleasures, here are a few things to remember for the safety of you and your loved ones.


Fruits and vegetables are often available unpackaged so that you can pick and choose as you please. This is great, but it also means that the product you purchase should be cleaned thoroughly before eating. There are many ways plant food can become contaminated before it reaches your table. Animals can taint produce while it’s still on the ground, chemicals can seep into products, and poor hygiene of workers can spread germs. Every time food is touched, there is opportunity for contamination.


To combat the spread of bacteria and simply not to be gross, there are a few simple steps to take before consuming those delicious summer fruits and vegetables. First, choose food that is not damaged. Bruises or cuts can allow bacteria to go inside the flesh of the food. Wash your hands before handling food, and then wash the bounty before slicing or peeling.


Bacteria and dirt on the surface can be pushed inside the food when it is cut. This means that even cantaloupes, watermelons, potatoes, and other throw-away skins should be washed before cutting. If I’m going to eat the skin, such as with zucchini, apples, and tomatoes, I like to give them a little baking soda or salt scrub. The abrasiveness ensures that chemicals and dirt are washed down the drain.


A vegetable brush is another way to get them squeaky-clean. For delicate fruits such as strawberries and blueberries, I recommend placing your fruit in a strainer and running water over them for several minutes.


Now that your yummies are clean and ready to eat, here are a few interesting facts about our favorite summertime fruits.


Strawberries

First fruit of spring

High in Vitamin C

Member of the rose family

Only fruit with the seeds on the outside


Blueberries

Considered to be the healthiest fruit

The U.S. is the largest manufacturer in the world

Have a long season—from mid-June to mid-August

Have pretty bell-shaped flowers


Cherries

One tree can provide 7,000 cherries

One tree can be harvested in seven seconds by “tree-shaking”

The record for cherry-pit spitting is 93 feet

Super high in antioxidants


Peaches

High in Vitamin A and C

Peach blooms may aid digestion when consumed

Largest peach cobbler recorded is 11 feet by 5 feet

The fuzzy skin is edible, but unfavored by many


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