Fuel with the Fruits of Summer
4 recipes for the height of the season
From epic group rides to cutting a perfect line through singletrack, there is a lot to love about sunny, flipflop season. But what should really get a hungry cyclist excited is that it’s no longer necessary to rely on fresh fruits from who-knows-where when in need of a post-ride smoothie or something sweet to top off a bowl of oatmeal. At this very moment, a bounty of deliciously sweet local fruits are ripe for the picking and ready to make your summer better tasting than ever. And it just happens that most are loaded down with the nutrients needed to keep you ahead of the pack. With fleeting seasons, here are four sun-kissed fruits not to miss out on.
Let’s face it: those imported mealy peaches you find in the produce aisle during the winter gloom suck. They’re sad knock-offs of the fragrant and hazardously juicy peaches you can now find at local markets. Fresh peaches are one of summer’s ultimate edible pleasures, indeed. Beyond great taste, this member of the stone-fruit family is a nutritional bell ringer. Peaches will add fibre, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C to your summer menu. One study in the European journal of nutrition found that higher intakes of vitamin C may improve VO2 max (maximum oxygen uptake) in athletes and also lessen muscle damaging oxidative stress in response to training. So feel free to eat peaches by the bushelful.
Make: Tuna Salad Peach Bowls Place two cans white tuna in a large bowl and flake with a fork. Stir in ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt, one chopped celery stalk, one chopped red bell pepper, one chopped green onion, ⅓ cup chopped parsley, ¼ cup chopped walnuts, 1 teaspoon curry powder and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Slice some peaches in half, remove pits and scoop out a bit of the flesh from around the cavities. Stuff peaches with tuna salad.
Here’s proof that beauty isn’t only skin deep. It’s the inside that really counts when it comes to cantaloupe. The ultra-refreshing sweet flesh of this melon will not only work at keeping you hydrated during the dog days of summer (after all, cantaloupe is about 90 per cent water), it will also boost your immune system courtesy of a payload of vitamins A and C. And with just 90 calories in a one-cup serving, you can eat a farmers market worth of cantaloupe without any waistline repercussions.
Make: Cantaloupe Gazpacho In a blender or food processor, blend together the flesh of one medium cantaloupe, one orange bell pepper, two medium orange or yellow tomatoes, ½ peeled cucumber, white parts of two green onions, one minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon each of cayenne, salt and black pepper. With the machine running on low speed, pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil slowly through the feed tube. Chill for at least two hours. Serve in bowls garnished with fresh mint, feta and chopped pistachios.
They might be blue, but there is nothing sad about justpicked Canadian blueberries. On top of being a good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, these health bombs are laced with compounds that have antioxidant properties called anthocyanins. A raft of research studies have linked increased intakes of these plant chemicals with improved brain functioning. You see, smart people do eat blueberries by the handful. Other studies show that anthocyanins can help bolster heart health by quelling inflammation in the body and also
improving blood cholesterol numbers. If you come across pints of the smaller, wild blueberries at markets and don’t mind the splurge, pick some up since these are even more antioxidant-dense. When the fruit is abundantly available at budget-friendly prices, consider loading up on local blueberries and freezing extras for use when the snow starts falling. To freeze, simply spread the berries out on a baking sheet and place in a freezer until solid. Transfer to a large zip-top bag for storage in the freezer. (Wedges of fresh peaches can be frozen the same way.)
Make: Blueberry Salsa In a food processor container, place one cup blueberries, one quartered red bell pepper, ¼ of a red onion, one small, seeded and chopped jalapeno, six basil leaves, zest of one lime, juice of one lime and a couple pinches salt. Pulse the ingredients a few times until you have a chunky mixture. Stir in one cubed avocado. Serve over grilled fish or chicken or as a dip for post-ride tortilla chips.
Few fruits say “summer” like cherries. Grabbing hold of the stems and popping them in your mouth is a surefire way to add a dose of vitamin C and potassium to your diet. The mineral potassium works with sodium to balance the fluids and electrolyte levels in your body. In other words, it’s something that sweaty cyclists should not skimp on. Sweet cherries are the most common at markets, but keep an eye out for pucker-worthy tart cherries. Studies show that these are especially rich in certain antioxidants shown to help improve exercise recovery.
Make: Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Pancakes Blend together two large eggs, one cup ricotta cheese, ¼ cup milk, ¾ cup oat flour, ½ cup almond flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in 1 cup chopped cherries and ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips. Pour ¼ cup batter for each pancake into a greased skillet and cook over medium heat for two minutes per side, or until golden. Repeat with remaining batter, greasing pan as needed.
“You can eat a farmers market worth without any waistline repercussions.”