Summer Health Tip Two.

Summer Health Tip Two: Stock-up on local produce.

In general, people eat better in the Summer thanks to an abundance of fresh, local, and healthy veggies and fruit. Stock-up while you can on all of the goodies. If you have access to berries and fruit, eat as much as you can and freeze the rest for smoothies in the Fall and Winter months.

Here are some tips on freezer storage:

FRUIT - Simply slice washed peaches, plums, apricots, etc, and freeze on large trays or plates; once frozen, transfer to a container or sealable bag. Repeat this process with washed berries to prevent berry-clumpage in which all the fruit is stuck together in one giant heap (I learned this trick the hard way...)

GREENS - Washed greens can be frozen too, but they will wilt, so be prepared to use them in smoothies, soups, or stews where a wilted green is palatable. Place into clumps on a large tray or plate, freeze, then store the pre-sized green clumps into a container or resealable bag.

HERBS - As for herbs, lay them in the sun to "sun dry", then freeze them to use use in soups or stews, or grind them in a coffee grinder and store in spice containers. Or you can blend fresh herbs with a bit a water, then pour the water-herb mixture into ice cube trays; store the frozen cubes in containers or resealable bages, then add them to sauces, soups, or stews in cooler months.

In addition to freezing, you can also pickle and preserve Summer fruit and veggies (hello pickled beets and blueberry jam!). Unfortunately, I have no advice regarding the "how-to" of pickling and preserving. I leave that to the experts, namely my grandparents :)

Oh, and if you find yourself craving more fresh fruit and salads, don't be alarmed: with the weather being warmer, it is the natural instinct of the body to desire more water-heavy foods to prevent dehydration. All types of melons, soft-fleshed fruit, crisp veg, and greens are rich in water. Also, remember when eating salads, to top them with oil, seeds, nuts, olives, and/or avocado, which adds fat in order for the body to absorb the greens' fat-soluble vitamins.

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