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Experts Say It's Better to Eat by the Season

Eating seasonally means better-tasting and more nutritious fruits and vegetables

Stone Fruits of Summer continued...

Stone fruits are delicious as is, or prepared in cobblers and crisps, pies and tarts, or preserves. For simple preparation, poaching is an easy and quick method to preserve ripe fruit; eat alone or serve over ice cream or frozen yogurt, or on pancakes. Grilled fruits are also a good addition to a meal. Fruits cook quickly on the grill, usually taking only a few minutes to soften slightly. Eat as is or serve over ice cream.

By adding a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet, you'll not only be livening up your meals with tasty ingredients, but also boost your nutrient quotient. Cucumbers, for example, may be 95% water (which makes them a good natural diuretic), but they're rich in vitamin E; tomatoes are packed with vitamins A and C, potassium, and phosphorus; and sweet corn is a good source of vitamin C as well.

Fruits are no less nutritious, apricots, for example, are a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, iron, and potassium; blueberries and blackberries are rich in fiber; melons provide much needed vitamin C; and peaches are a good source of vitamins A and C themselves.

In general, the best way to eat the season's produce is "fresh and raw," says Gonzalez. Wash the produce first ("fruits and vegetables go through many hands before going home"), eat as is (unpeeled, if possible), or add to salads or other dishes.

For ingredients that need cooking, Chef Salter recommends steaming, which will keep in as many of the nutrients as possible.

But wherever you choose to buy your produce, and however you choose to eat it, the point is, says Gonzalez, "You need to eat it!"

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