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Ask a Dietitian:Stock Up on Summer Produce

by Jennifer Southard, MS, RD/LD Clinical Dietitian

Q: I love fresh produce in the summer, but in the winter it is hard to find some of the fruits and vegetables I like or they are too expensive. What can I do to save money?

A: Including a variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet all year long will increase your satisfaction with your diet, while providing many beneficial nutrients. Now is the time to prepare for cold winter months where a variety of high quality, great tasting, and affordable produce is almost non-existent.

Farmer's markets (or your neighborhood grocery store) are now loaded with a wide variety of great tasting produce. This produce is currently in season and cost less than during the winter months. Preparing and storing the fresh produce now, will provide you with ingredients for a variety of convenient meals year round.

The tips below will help you store fresh produce without spending hours in the kitchen. When freezing vegetables and fruit:

  • Wash, trim, and slice/chop into desired size pieces
  • Blanch vegetables to help kill bacteria and preserve quality (Note: it is not necessary to blanch fruit)
  • Allow product to cool and dry completely, this will prevent huge frozen clumps of product
  • Pack in zip-top freezer bags and freeze for later use

When ready to use, simply throw frozen fruit into a blender to make a smoothie or thaw for a tasty snack. It can also be added to cereal, oatmeal, yogurt and more.

Vegetables can be grilled, roasted, or sauteed. Just add your favorite herbs, spices, a little bit of oil, or lemon juice for a healthy side dish.

For more information on local farmers' markets visit: http://www.okgrown.com/markets/

For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.

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Norman Regional Health System

Office (405) 307.2143
Fax (405) 307.2144
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