What’s in Season for August?

By Nutrition Expert – Trupti Gurav,Mumbai

August marks the beginning of a very auspicious period. Starting from this month there is a long line up of festivals dotting our calendar. In such times, food demands a lot of our attention because in our culture food is an integral part of worship and festivity.   

In August, the monsoon is also upon us, and our plate yearns for steamy, spicy food to warm our soul.

An easy way to save on fruits and vegetables is to buy what’s in season when they are at their most plentiful. And there’s a bonus that money can’t buy when you follow this strategy.

Fruits and vegetables always taste better when they are in season in your area and are harvested closer to the peak of freshness than those that spend a lot of time in shipping that might cover thousands of miles. [1][2]

Not only do foods taste best when they are in season, they are far fresher since they haven’t been transported over long distances (which is why they are often picked prematurely, robbing them of their nutritional benefits).

Preeti Patil, a Dockyard Road resident and organic farmer, says ‘eating local’ is the only way urban Indians can beat dubious farming methods and pesticide over-kill. There is a direct co-relation between eating what’s in season and keeping illnesses at arm’s length.

For instance, if you eat melons in winter, you are inviting a fever since they have cooling properties. They have naturally high water content, and are packed with potassium, vitamins A and C. “Eating them in the hot months, when they are in season, refreshes you instantly. Likewise, when mangoes are eaten on an empty stomach in summer, they bring down the body temperature,” says Mukhi.

Nutritionist Naini Setalvad offers a simple rule: Buy what’s available in abundance in its freshest avatar at your local market. That’s the best indicator of what’s in season. [3]

It might get you feel strange about the thought of eating fruits and veggies according to the months. But, in reality these months (August) includes a growing season and one must therefore consume this fruits and veggies for their better health In short, to stay disease-free.

Keep the below mentioned fruits and veggies in your home according to the “August Food Calendar”. [4][5][6]

  • Tomatoes

No doubt, tomatoes are included in many home-cooked items. Out of season tomatoes are bland at best, mealy at worst. When choosing a tomato at the farmers’ market or in the grocery store, look for one that is deeply coloured, smells sweet, and feels firm but not hard.

Tomatoes are a great source of Vitamin C (one medium tomato contains about a quarter of your recommended daily intake) and packed with antioxidants.

  • Berries

Berries are full of flavour and they are good for health. They are tasty as well as healthy. Each berry e.g. strawberries, blackberry or blueberries, raspberries -they have their own sweet benefits and one must really include them in their fruits list.

Many berries start showing up earlier in summer, but if they’re picked too soon, they never fully ripen. That’s why it’s best to wait until August, when the berries have reached maximum sweetness and can be enjoyed by the handful. To score the perfect pint, look for berries that are dry and uniform in colour.A cup of berries contains more than half of your daily Vitamin C.

  • Eggplant

No doubt, once cooked as it should be then it’s one of the tastiest vegetable. While eggplants are available for purchase year round, they’ll taste better in the coming weeks than they will at any other time. Look for ones that are smooth and naturally shiny, and feel heavy for their size. Eggplants are a great, low-calorie source of fiber.

  • Peaches

Is there anything more wonderful than an end-of-summer peach? Eat them straight from the market, or put them to use in both sweet and savory dishes.  Peaches are a healthy, low-calorie source of fiber and Vitamin C.

  • Plum

Tart enough for breakfast but sweet enough for dessert; plums taste great at every time of day. Though they won’t ripen much after they’ve been picked, placing them in a paper bag at room temperature can help soften them a bit. Try stirring slices into iced tea for a refreshing summer sip. Plums are packed with healthy fiber and Vitamin C.

  • Watermelon-

July is known for its National Watermelon month. But, this fruit is also important in the month of August. Yes, it is mostly known for its tremendous sweet taste plus the benefits that it provides. A serving of cantaloupe has about the same amount of Vitamin C as a small orange. And watermelon, as its name suggests, is packed with water—which makes it great for re-hydrating on a hot day. It contains Vitamin A and thus it is beneficial for your skin as well as hair.

  • Peppers

Bell peppers _now’s the time to start chopping, seeding, and serving them all month. Yellow and orange peppers are the sweetest of the bunch (red peppers are just mature green peppers), and are best when grilled, baked, or sautéed. Throwing some hot peppers into a meal might help to promote weight loss. One small red bell pepper has almost twice the Vitamin C as an orange. It is also best to deal with depression.

  • Corn

Whether it’s boiled, steamed, or cooked on the grill, corn on the cob is a sweet summer favourite. Don’t miss your chance to eat it while it’s best we suggest making corn a weekly staple all month long. Look for tightly wrapped husks that feel firm when squeezed, and use within two days of purchasing, if possible. Corn is packed with dietary fiber and photochemical that helps with vision. 

  • Basil

A sure fire way to add a bright note to any dish, basil pairs well with most fresh summer produce. Once you buy it (look for whole, smooth leaves), act fast—it will begin to brown and mold after just a few days. To maximize basil’s life, store a bunch as you would cut: at room temperature with the stems sitting in a small glass of water. Basil is packed with iron.

  • Okra

The entire okra pod is edible, and tastes great when steamed, fried, sautéed, or baked. Though fresh okra is only available in the summer, pickling okra preserves it year-round. Break out the canning jars, the vinegar, and seasonings of your choice you’ll be thankful for the veggie comes the dreary winter months. Okra is a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid.

  • Pomegranates

Pomegranates are known to be the healthiest fruit on earth. Not just health but pomegranates benefit beauty too. And, in rainy days It’s is also better if you drink its juice. It includes Vitamin C in it. If you get cough and cold; eating this fruit will be the right solution to your problem.

  • Kiwi

Kiwi is not mostly preferred but in reality it’s among the most advantageous fruit you will ever come across. Kiwis are small and high in Vitamins C and E. You can eat this fruit as it helps in regulating a proper digestion.

  • Cauliflower

Cauliflower is made adding some green beans. Cauliflower is important as it has its own beneficial effects e.g. rich in vitamins and minerals and it also improves the functioning of brain and heart health.

Cauliflower has a reputation for being bland, but that’s just if your preparation is uninspired. Diets containing cruciferous vegetables like this one have been linked to cancer prevention, so get them in your diet at least a couple of times a week. You have lots of options: roast, sauté, steam, cook, blend, and use mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes as a lower-calorie substitute.

  • Cucumbers

The cucumber is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Other members of the family include squash and different kinds of melon, including bitter melon. Cucumbers provide various nutrients but are low in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

  • Garlic

Garlic is an amazing way to add flavour to your food without adding calories, and fall is the perfect time for it.

  • Beets

Beets get a bad rep due to their earthy taste, but roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and makes them perfect for adding to salads, and vegetables, drinks and more.

  • Green Beans

Green beans are a family favorite and for good reason. Green beans are an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin A. They’re also a good source of folates, Vitamin B6, thiamine, Vitamin C. Store unwashed green beans in a plastic bag or container in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 4 days before enjoying. Add them to your favorite sheet pan dinner, soups, and more.

Eating seasonally does not have to be a 100 % commitment. But choosing even one seasonal item will improve your nutrient intake.

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