The weather is heating up, and so many delicious fruits are coming into season. This month’s Food Talk Features… blog takes us through the summer season fruits like berries, melons, peaches, and more!
Each month this year, we are featuring a different food group or sub-group as part of our Food Talk Features… Series. Last month, we talked about beans, peas, & lentils and starchy vegetables. These veggies are fiber-filled for good digestion.
Beans, peas, and lentils are also a great source of plant-based protein, which we need for strong muscles and bones. Starchy vegetables have vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may reduce risk of heart disease. Learn more about these veggie sub-groups here.
This month, we are switching gears. We’re diving into some of summer’s yummiest produce: berries and other in-season fruits! For more seasonal produce, check out UGA SNAP-Ed’s What’s in Season? Chart.
What are the benefits of berries and other fruits?
Berries include red strawberries and raspberries, as well as purple/blue blueberries and blackberries. In fact, their bright colors are the reason these fruits are so healthy. Anthocyanins (an-tho-sigh-uh-nins) give berries their rich colors. Anthocyanins are linked to protection against heart disease, cancer, and age-related memory losses.  Berries are also a good source of antioxidants like vitamin C, which keep our immune systems strong to fight against disease. 
Berries are a hydrating, fiber-filled food because of their juicy insides and many seeds! Did you know that up to 60% of an adult’s body is made up of water?  To meet hydration needs, fruits with high water content (lots of juice!) can help.
Get some hydration by eating foods like berries! We can also use berries and other fruits to make drinking water fun! Check out these 4 Fruit Infused Water Recipes for flavor ideas. Our Hydration Check-In blog has useful information on checking your hydration status. It also includes how to get more water in with your foods and drinks!
Picking fruit that is in-season in the summer will save you money and give you the best flavor! In the United States, we have a lot of fruits that flourish in the warm weather.
- Melons like cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon
- Stone fruits like peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines, and cherries
- Other fruits like kiwi, figs, pineapple, and mango 
Most fruits are a great source of water and plenty of vitamins and minerals—too many to list! We love that we can hydrate while enjoying delicious and nutritious fruits all summer long. We’ve written about a few of our favorites already:
- Learn about Apricots, which are packed with vitamins A and C in our All About Apricots blog.
- 92% of a watermelon is water! In addition to a yummy way to hydrate, watermelons are also a good source of lycopene (lie-koh-peen). Lycopene may protect against certain cancers and vision loss.  Check out our Watermelon 5 Ways blog for recipe ideas!
- Georgia is the Peach State, so we are big fans of peaches. Stone fruits get their names from the stone-like pit in the center. These fruits are also high in fiber and water! Find your next peachy recipe in our Have a Peachy Summer blog!
How much do I need?
The amount of fruit we need every day depends on many factors. Most adults should aim for 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of fruit every day. In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit counts as 1 cup of fruit. 
A 1 cup-serving is about the size of an adult’s closed fist. A ½ cup-serving is half of a fist, or however much fits in the palm of one hand. For example:
- 1 large peach,
- A cup of diced pineapple,
- Or ½ cup dried apricots
All count as 1 cup-serving of fruit. 8 fluid ounces of 100% fruit juice counts as 1 cup-serving of fruit, too, but juice will have less fiber than eating the whole fruit.
Savor Summer with These Fruity Recipes
Berries are a colorful addition to any summer plate. Baked or blended dishes are great for fruits that have gotten soft. If you aren’t ready to use fruit that is about to go bad… Wash, slice, and freeze fruit to enjoy later!
Looking for ways to add more fruit into your day? Check out our many fruit-filled recipes:
- For breakfast, add berries to yogurt (Yogurt Crunch Parfait & Fruity Parfaits), muffins (Very Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins), baked goods (Whole Wheat Berry Buckle), or smoothies (Strawberry Smoothie & 4 Fruit Smoothie)!
- Sip on a Pineapple & Beet Smoothie or dive into this yummy Apple & Veggie Omelet (also good with plums!).
- For lunch, try our Spinach and Romaine Salad with Strawberries and Poppyseed Dressing.
- Snack on Berry Popsicles, Fro-Yo Drops, and Peach Salsa!
- Hydrate all day with these Fruit Infused Waters.
- Finish the night with a sweet Mixed Fruit Crisp or fresh Strawberry Frozen Yogurt.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy summer fruit?
Written by Melanie Ng, Ph.D. Candidate | Edited by Leslie Davis, MS, RD, LD, CDCES and the Nutrition Education Team
Posted: May 17, 2021