We spoke to the experts at Life is a Garden, which is a marketing division of the South African Nursery Association to share with us the summer produce we should be making the most of this summer season.
They say summer fruits and vegetables are packed with micro-nutrients and more water to power our muscles for longer and hotter days as we burn off those winter wobbles.
Watermelon is around 97% water, which is why you can eat it until you’re bursting at the seams and feel hungry again in 30 minutes. Some of the nutrients you can find in watermelon include vitamin C: 21% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI), vitamin A: 18% of the RDI, potassium: 5% of the RDI, magnesium: 4% of the RDI and vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of the RDI.
You can enjoy mangoes in so many different ways. They’re delicious in smoothies, simply add a banana and a touch of full cream yoghurt. Diced and squished together in ice lolly moulds, they make healthy and refreshing snacks in the summertime for children.
Litchis are some of the easiest fruits to enjoy while travelling. They’re juicy - so be prepared for a little stickiness. If the juice of a sweet fruit hasn’t run down your chin yet this summer, you still have time! Simply peel them, remove the pit from the centre, and pop them in your mouth.
Litchis are also delicious as part of a fruit salad. Freeze them before adding them to a fruit salad for an extra refreshing bite.
Get creative for a braai and make bacon wrapped stuffed litchis. Cream cheese and grated cheddar with parsley can be mixed together and used to stuff the litchis. Wrap the freshly stuffed litchis with bacon, and grill on the braai.
Peaches are some of the most delicious summer fruits with great versatility. Use them in salads, desserts, starters, snacks, soups, preserves and more.
Enjoy peaches on the grill - for an original idea. Simply add them to the braai grill for a smoky and sweet delight. Once they’re caramelised, remove them and allow to cool. Serve them as a dessert with ice cream or mascarpone cheese.
Beetroots are filled to the brim with folic acid, manganese, and a variety of other nutrients. They’re hailed as a great way to detox your body by the health community, cleansing the liver and kidneys.
Beyond the usual coleslaws and salads, try something new.
Make your very own sauerkraut, a traditional German favourite.
Thinly slice your cabbage, and mix it with salt.
Allow the cabbage and salt mixture to rest for half an hour, or until you see the cabbage begin to look limp.
Then, pound the cabbage with a potato masher.
Try to get the cabbage to release as much of its water as possible. The cabbage needs to be submerged in its own juices and stored in an airtight container. It is important that no air is allows in. The cabbage should be compressed to ensure there are no bubbles.
Allow the sauerkraut to ferment for a month. Sauerkraut is best served as a side dish.
Cherry tomatoes - a dash of colour and flavour
Cherry tomatoes are delicious and oh-so pretty, not to mention, practically fool-proof to grow.
Make a light and healthy summer salad by dicing a few cherry tomatoes into a bowl. Add some finely chopped parsley, spring onions, a touch of garlic, and a light drizzle of olive oil. Next, toss in some diced avocado - and serve!