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Summer Produce Guide: Baby Led Weaning

Which Fruits are in Season? Your Summer Guide to Produce!
Plus: 5 delectable recipes you need to try this summer

Take advantage of all the delectable Summer Produce with our Summer Produce guide.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I am a huge advocate of shopping according to the seasons. Not only do you get the best, most flavourful produce, but you’re able to support many local farmers and merchants. The abundance of fresh fruits and veggies in the summer make it incredibly easy to put together healthy and delicious snacks and meals for your baby, as well as the entire family! These fruits and veggies are filled with nutrients for your little ones, and will make it easy for your kiddos to try new foods and textures.

To celebrate the sunshine and the summer, I thought it would be great to put together a guide to the best summer produce and the various options that you might find available at your local market. I hope you enjoy!

Aubergines (Eggplant)

Reaching their peak in May-August, Aubergines (also known as Eggplant) are packed-full of fibre, potassium, manganese, and folate. The skin of the eggplant full of antioxidants, and its meaty, tender inside is perfect on the bbq!The meaty texture of aubergines make it perfect for little mouths to mash up for a tasty treat!

Quick Tip: When choosing aubergines, look for a firm texture and one that is not too big in size. Larger aubergines tend to be a little on the bitter side.

Asparagus

High in iron, manganese and potassium, spring and summer fresh asparagus is the ultimate healthy veggie. Asparagus is full of fibre, and a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Folic Acid. With a relatively short growing season, you need to act quick to pick up some of these delights. Look for a fresh colour, with firm stalks and tightly closed tips.

Quick Tip: Asparagus is positively delightful when sauteed in a bit of oil or butter, or wrapped in a bit of ham. Or, add a bit to scrambled eggs for a healthy start to the day. Steam for a softer texture for babies just starting out with baby-led-feeding.

Blackberries

Blackberries are a delightful treat that my kiddos cannot get enough of. A great source of fibre for the diet, these berries are also low in sugar and filled with vitamins and minerals. Wild caught blackberries are amazing, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some!

Quick Tip: Tart yet sweet blackberries are positively tasty mixed in large spinach salad. Mixed with a quick vinaigrette, a blackberry spinach salad is a perfect summer side dish or quick lunch. Blackberries are also perfect for a quick sauce over your morning pancakes. They’re super messy though, and will stain, so make sure your baby is covered before giving them these sweet treats to try!

Blueberries

Beginning in July and through the month of September, blueberries are plentiful. Packed with antioxidants, these delicious berries are detoxifying, filled with vitamins and minerals, high in fiber and low in sugar. The kids love them alone as a quick snack, or mixed in with their yogurt or porridge. Slightly mash for those little ones just starting out.

Quick Tip: Blueberries are a wonderful fruit to freeze. Just wash (if you prefer), dry thoroughly, and place in a freezer bag. The blueberries will freeze individually, making it quick and easy to remove the amount you need.

Broad Beans

Broad beans are in season through August. A member of the legume family, broad beans are a good source of carbohydrates and protein, are full of fibre, and are an excellent source of Vitamin C and folic acid. Delicious when they are steamed, the kids love picking the beans from the pod.

Quick Tip: Very young beans can be eaten with the pod on, but unless they are very tender, you will want to shell them. Have the kids help with this!

Cucumber

Nothing says summer quite like a crisp cucumber. Available May through September, these veggies are incredibly hydrating and refreshing. Not only that, they are full of nutrients and high in fiber, while being low in calories. When choosing cucumbers, pick ones that are firm to the touch.

Quick Tip: The skin of the cucumber is entirely edible and contains folic acid and Vitamin A. Wash well, but do not peel if you’d like to get all those extra nutrients.

French Beans

Another member of the legume family, french beans are related to the broad bean. Available June through September, these beans are are a good source of fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and folic acid. Perfect for little hands, these sweet beans make wonderful side dish.

Quick Tip: A quick blanche is usually all that is needed for these tender beans. Blanch then plunge in ice water to preserve their color and sweet taste.

Lettuce

As you know, I adore lettuce and greens, and summer is the perfect time to get my fill! Why do I love greens so much? They’re detoxifying, filled with anti-antioxidants, and a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Folic Acid. For optimal taste, you want lettuce that is picked as recently as possible. Perfect for cool, refreshing summer salads!

Quick Tip: Look for fresh, clean-looking ends that are not wilted when selecting your lettuce.

Peas

Also a member of the legume family, peas are a favourite in our household! Fresh summer peas peak July through September. Nutrient dense, high in fibre, Vitamins A and C, folic acid, phosphorus and iron, peas make an amazing snack dipped in hummus.

Quick Tip: if cooking your peas, take care to NOT overcook, as they will lose their flavour and colour, and many of their nutrients.

Radish

Known for their distinct peppery flavour, radishes are typically available May through October. High in fibre, and a good source of Vitamin C and folic acid, radishes make a great addition to salads, making them more substantial and filling. They’re even great as a quick snack, dipped in cool hummus or a refreshing yogurt dip.

Quick Tip: When selecting radishes, look for firm, clear flesh with crisp green leaves. To keep crisp, store in jar filled with water in the refrigerator.

Raspberries

Another summer family favorite, Raspberries are readily available through October. With high amounts of antioxidants and fibre, raspberries are another great choice for kids (and adults, too!) With their light, sweet tangy taste, kids love them as a summer snack or even for dessert.

Quick Tip: Raspberries are absolutely delightful added to muffins, or served atop pancakes.

Strawberries

Our final berry on the list, Strawberries, are the ultimate summer treat. Now available through October, fresh strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C. With their sweet, distinctive flavour, strawberries are great for breakfast, to end a meal, or for dessert.

Quick Tip: to make strawberries last longer, do not wash or remove the stems before storing. Store in glass jar in the coldest part of your refrigerator

Sweetcorn

I just adore summer sweet corn. A good carbohydrate, sweet corn is available for a relatively short period of time – just August and September. It is delicious on the bbq, or boiled and served on the cob. Corn is a summer treat well worth the wait.

Quick Tip: to cook corn on the cob, cook in plenty of boiled, salted water until tender. Corn, believe it or not, is great for little gums, and teething babies just love knawing on the husks.

Tomatoes

The final pick in our summer produce guide is the ubiquitous tomato! One of the world’s most popular fruit, fresh tomatoes are super hydrating, filled with Vitamin A and C and are absolutely delicious in so many recipes. Tomatoes are in season May through October.

Quick Tip: for a summer treat, try grilling the tomato on the bbq. The smoky flavor with the sweetness from the sweet tomato is truly out of this world!

I hope you enjoyed our Guide to Summer Produce! With an abundance of fresh summer produce available, it’s easy to put together fresh, healthy meals and snacks the entire family will love!

What is your favorite produce to eat during the summer?

And, as a bonus – here are a list of my 5-favorite summer produce recipes that your baby and family is bound to love!

  1. Healthy Sticky Chicken Veggies Tray Bake
  2. Baby Veggie Burgers
  3. Soup for Little Souper Heros
  4. Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich
  5. Super Baby Parsley Pesto with Courgetti Spaghetti

 

Sources: http://www.bestinseason.ie/whats-in-season/

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