One of the 30 varieties of pluot, FlavorKing.
Photo courtesy Baldor Foods.
||June is National Fruits & Vegetables Month.
The USDA used to suggest five portions a day. The latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day (2½ to 6½ cups, not including potatoes, which are considered a starch rather than a vegetable).
The amount depends on one’s caloric intake. For a 2,000-calories-a-day diet, this translates into nine servings, or 4½ cups per day. Think of it as 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables.
It’s a great month to up your intake. June is busting out all over with apricots, berries (blackberries and blueberries become plentiful while raspberries and strawberries become less expensive), cherries, melons (including watermelon), peaches and plums. For veggies, try beets, dandelion greens, okra, peas, sorrel and summer squash.
|Make an adventure of discovering new fruits and vegetables—like pluots and apriums.
A cross of plums and apricots, pluots were first bred in the late 20th century and are grown in Washington and California. They have more plum parentage (70%), so they have smooth skin like plums. One variety is called the Dinosaur Egg because of its dappled skin. The brother of the pluot is the aprium, a plum and apricot hybrid with mostly apricot parentage. Like apricots, apriums have a slightly fuzzy skin.
Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants. The latest research suggests that the biggest payoff from eating fruits and vegetables is heart health. Learn more from the Harvard School Of Public Health.
Here’s more on fruit and vegetable guidelines from the Centers For Disease Control.
Check out our favorite fruits, vegetables and recipes.