UF/IFAS Pinellas County
Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent
Whether it’s cantaloupes, peaches, mangos or watermelons you are craving, summer brings an abundance of choices for you to enjoy. Not only does it taste good but eating fruit provides some real health benefits. People who eat healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases, like certain types of cancer, and heart disease. Fruits are a great source of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid). Most are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories and none of them have cholesterol. Fruits are also a great way to keep us hydrated during hot summer months since they contain 80% or more water.
Before preparing or eating, rub fruits briskly under clean running water to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Then dry with a clean towel.
Since most fruits have a short shelf life ( a week or less) plan your trip to the grocery store, produce stand or farmer’s market accordingly so you’re not throwing away food that’s gone bad before you get a chance to use it. Consider freezing fruits if you want to keep it longer. Properly frozen fruits retain much of their fresh flavor and nutritive value. Their texture may be somewhat softer, however, than fresh fruit. If you are looking for information on freezing or any other method home food preservation, the National Center for Home Food Preservation is your source for current research-based recommendations. Check the site out at the link below.