Sweet Summer Secrets

My favorite sweet snack in the summer is fresh fruit! To me, there is nothing better than a huge slice of watermelon dripping juice down my arms or plump cherries staining my fingers. I remember growing up my sister and I would fight over cantaloupe and honeydew melon that my mom would cut up and strawberries that were growing in her garden.
Summer and delicious, juicy, ripe fruit go hand in hand!

To help sweeten up your summer, I have listed my favorite ways to prepare and enjoy fruit!

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Cherries

Cherries are great at any time of the year but since they thrive in the summer, the possibilities are endless for this super fruit!

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Cherries are beneficial in more ways than just curbing your appetite:

 inflammation reduction
battle post-workout pain
lower your risk of stroke
protection against Alzheimer’s
high in potassium
beneficial for sleep
aid in reducing risk of diabetes
aid in curbing jet lag
reduction in chance of gout

Whether I am adding cherries to a smoothie, bowl of granola or baking with cherries, they are the perfect fit with a crisp and tart taste!

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I have found the easiest way to enjoy cherries is to wash, pit and freeze them within a few days of buying them since they can go bad quickly. Listed below are the simple steps I take when preparing my cherries:

Rinse the cherries and pat dry.

For smooth pit removal, I have a reusable, hard plastic straw that is a little bigger than the average size. I simply start at the base of the cherry and push through. This removes the pit from the fruit in a flash! The quicker you push the straw through, the less mess!  This process is quick, easy and mostly mess-free!

To ensure nothing is wasted, I typically pit my cherries while preparing my morning smoothie so that I can let any cherry juice drip into the blender!

Pitted cherries can be stored in a sealed container for later use and are idea for breakfast, dessert, baking and cooking!

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Always be sure to check your cherries before buying and take out any unsightly ones. This ensures you are getting an attractive and ripe batch of cherries each time!

Cherry Banana Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1 cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries
1 splash of coconut water (or hydration of choice)

combine in blender and enjoy!

optional add-ins:
coconut oil
cinnamon
honey
flax powder
chia seeds
supplements of choice
agave (raspberry is my favorite!)

For more great smoothies made with fresh fruit check out my smoothies on Kate Eats Clean, or on the home page at www.KateEatsClean.com! It is filled with smoothie recipes, tasty tricks and treats to keep you happy and healthy!

Strawberries

Strawberries are another versatile fruit that are ripe during the summer. Strawberries are not only tasty as a topping, they are a great on-the-go snack as is  and are also beneficial to your body:

packed with vitamin C and antioxidants
helps boots immunity
beneficial for eye health
cancer preventative
fights bad cholesterol
reduce joint inflammation

One single serving of strawberries is equal to one half of your daily vitamin C requirement!

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Strawberry stems can be easily removed with a standard straw. Insert at the base of the strawberry and push; this removes the unsightly stem while leaving a full, fresh strawberry!

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These perfectly ripe strawberries are from a local farm in my hometown, Westport, MA. Orr’s Farm Stand is a family owned farm stand with fresh, delicious and clean produce! My mom sent me home with a basket last time I was home and they were  unbelievable! Thanks Mom!

Sweet Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup coconut water

combine in blender and enjoy!


Bananas

Though they are available in most places year round, my obsession with bananas peaks in the summer because I enjoy them only frozen and as the base for my smoothies!

Versatile and delicious, the benefits of banana are phenomenal as well:

beneficial in lowering blood pressure
reduce swelling
banana peel can remove warts and polish shoes
great for before a workout
a natural antacid
beneficial in battling depression
help prevent muscle cramps during workout
packed with vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C , potassium and fiber

Instead of watering down a delicious frozen and fruity drink with ice, I freeze bananas when they are slightly overripe for smoothies! Once a frozen banana is needed, I simply remove it from the freezer for a few minutes and then cut into four equal parts, removing the stem. I cut into the skin on each piece, only deep enough so I can remove the skin. These four banana bits go into the blender, typically with a fresh fruit so they blend well. If you happen to use two frozen ingredients, simply be sure to add a little more coconut water for easy blending!

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Bananas are also great in the summer for gardeners! Chop up the peel of your banana and bury slightly under the soil with your seedlings.

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Be sure to include only peel while deters insects whereas the banana itself will attract insects! The banana peel also works as a great fertilizer to fuel your fruits and veggies while still in the dirt! I love using bananas in the summer because no part goes to waste!

Grapes

Grapes are another fabulous fruit that can be enjoyed almost any time of the year in most locations but in the summer, grapes have a special place in my heart. The best way to enjoy grapes, especially in the summer to beat the heat, is frozen!

Like with cherries, before bringing home your bountiful bag of grapes home, check them before buying to ensure they are in good condition. Once washed and rinsed, I put them in a container in the freezer and continually munch on them! Since eating frozen grapes, grapes that are refrigerated just don’t cut it!

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Even if you are not a huge fan of eating your fruit in raw form, another delicious option is to blend fruit, add to a pop tray and freeze!

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These healthy and wholesome frozen treats are a hit on a hot summer day!

No matter what route you take, there are easy and delicious options to help you include fruit in your diet, help reach your goals and keep you cool in the summertime heat!

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