Best Times to Shop Fresh Produce by Month

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The best way to save money on produce is to buy when each fruit or vegetable variety is in season and is the most plentiful. With abundance prices typically fall providing the best deals on seasonal favorites. Buying in-season also provides the ultimate bang for your buck as fruits and vegetables always taste better when they are harvested at their peak of freshness.

To help figure out the best produce deals by month, we’ve assembled this handy list:

January

Deep winter is the time to buy vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, leeks,  parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips and fruit like grapefruit, lemons, oranges, tangelos, and tangerines.

February

Similar to January, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, kale, leeks, lemons, oranges, parsnips, rutabagas, tangelos, and turnips remain best buys.

March

Changing up the list a bit, March brings pineapples in season for fruit and adds artichokes, lettuce, mushrooms, and radishes, to the list of seasonal vegetables. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leeks, parsnips,  rutabagas, and turnips stay steadfast throughout the month.

April

This first full month of spring adds artichokes and spring peas to the list of

vegetables that include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, and rhubarb. Pineapples stay strong for fruit.

May

As spring deepens, the list starts to lengthen in May with apricots, avocados (yes, they are a fruit), cherries, mangoes, pineapples, and strawberries. For vegetables, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, radishes, rhubarb, and spring peas continue while okra, swiss chard, and zucchini come on the scene.

June

Summer brings a fruit-heavy harvest of apricots, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries,  kiwi, mangoes, peaches, strawberries, and watermelon while corn, lettuce, swiss chard, and zucchini round out the veggie offerings.

July

In high summer fruit prevails with apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes,  peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, corn, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, okra, peppers, summer squash, swiss chard, and zucchini.

August

The bountiful harvest continues in August with apricots, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, corn,  green beans, kiwi, lettuce, mangoes, okra, peaches, peppers, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon, winter squash, and zucchini and adds acorn squash, apples, butternut squash, cucumbers, eggplant and figs to the mix.

September

As summer transitions into fall, the still-warm days add beets, grapes, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkins, spinach, and sweet potatoes to the list. Acorn squash, apples, butternut squash, cantaloupe, cauliflower, eggplant, figs,  green beans, lettuce, mangoes, mushrooms, okra, peppers, swiss chard, and tomatoes continue to be plentiful.

October

The first full month of fall adds cranberries, leeks, rutabagas, and winter squash to the list of in-season produce while acorn squash, apples, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower,  grapes, lettuce, mushrooms, parsnips, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkins, spinach, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, and turnips remain steadfast.

November

The best time to buy beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cranberries, leeks, mushrooms, oranges, parsnips, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkins, rutabagas, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, turnips, and winter squash, in November.

December

As winter sets in, December vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, leeks, mushrooms,  parsnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and turnips. Grapefruit, oranges, papayas, pears, pomegranates, tangelos, and tangerines round out the yearend for fruit.

 Freeze for Later

Many of the fruits and vegetables on this list freeze well. Even avocados can be frozen for guac, sauces, and smoothies. Whatever your favorite, buy extra while they're in season and freeze so you can enjoy them throughout the year.


An Avo a Day: Heart Check Advice for Women

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According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in women - it causes the death of 1 in 3 women each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. The reality is that only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is their greatest health threat. Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from various forms of heart disease. When compared against the national average for the entire population, heart disease kills 1 in every 4 people.


The symptoms of heart disease are often misunderstood and can be different in women vs. men. With that, the gap between men and women's survival continues to widen, as women are far less likely to call 911 when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack themselves. It just does not occur to them to do so, as of the media attention on the disease focuses almost solely on men.

 

What causes heart disease?

Heart disease affects the blood vessels and cardiovascular system. Numerous problems can result, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis. This is a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the arterial walls. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.

 

Prevention

Many things can put a person at risk for heart problems – one's you can control, and others that you cannot. However, with the right information, education, and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented, and even ended.

 

The good news is that some studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day. So, for the sake of your heart, here are a few lifestyle changes you should make:

 

  • Don’t smoke

  • Manage your blood sugar

  • Get your blood pressure under control

  • Lower your cholesterol

  • Know your family history

  • Stay active

  • Lose or manage your weight

  • Eat healthy

 

A Good Start – Eating Right

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend eating a variety of nutritious foods from all food groups. Consuming a diversity of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. In addition, consuming foods rich in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

 

To start on the path to eating right, consider a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados. This tasty green fruit contributes nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds that can enhance the nutrient quality of any diet. Avocados can be eaten alone or used in a variety of delicious recipes – from soups to salads to smoothies – all of which can fit into your sensible eating plan.


Substituting fresh avocado in sandwiches, on toast or as a spread in place of many other popular foods may help reduce intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. In honor of American Heart Month, here are some simple recipes to help get you started:


Avo Lox on Rye

Avo Chia Smoothie

Spinach, Avocado & Tangerine Salad

Veggie Buddha Bowl

Hawaiian Tuna Avocado Poke Salad

Cilantro Chicken Avocado Burritos



5 Healthy Ways to Add Avocados into Your Holiday Meal

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Give your holiday menu a tasty heart-healthy twist by inviting avocados to your festive occasion. Always in season, this favorite green fruit is available alongside other traditional winter produce favorites like sweet potatoes and acorn squash. Try avocados in tempting seasonal salads, vegetable dishes, and dessert or as a spread for appetizers or dotted throughout your main course. To help set your table in healthful style, we’ve assembled five new ways to introduce avocados to your family this holiday season.

5 #HolidayReFRESH Recipes With Avocado

#HolidayReFRESH Checklist

Let’s Go Shopping

We’ve assembled a handy holiday shopping list to make sure that you have everything needed to cook up a feast. If you make any substitutions or change proportion, be sure to adjust your list accordingly.

Dairy:

  • 5 large eggs

  • low fat milk

  • crumbled feta cheese 

  • low fat cream cheese

  • lite whipped topping

  • low fat sour cream

  • grated Swiss cheese (may use Vegan or non-dairy shredded cheese of choice)

Produce:

  • 8 avocados 

  • 1 bunch broccoli

  • 1 tomato

  • 1 package baby spinach or mixed greens 

  • 1 large red apple or green granny smith

  • 1 Lemons

  • 6 Limes

  • 1 pomegranate 

  • 4 small acorn squash

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • 1 garlic bulb

  • 1 bunch scallions

Frozen Foods:

  • 2 cups thawed lite whipped topping

  • 2 cups fresh or 1 small bag frozen strawberries

  • pastry crust 

Bread:

  • 1 French baguette bread loaf

General

  • 1 package long grain and wild rice mix 

  • 1 package quinoa

  • 1 14-ounce can black beans

  • 1 small package pumpkin seeds

  • 1 package dried cranberries

  • 1 package toasted almonds (can substitute for walnuts or candied pecans)

  • 1 box graham crackers (can substitute with gluten-free cookies) 

  • 1 packet strawberry gelatin

  • 1 small bag or box granulated sugar

Spices:

  • kosher salt

  • pepper

  • garlic powder

  • cumin

  • ground coriander seeds

  • crushed red pepper flakes

Ready to get your #HolidayReFresh going? Snap & share photos using the hashtag above & tag @Iloveavos_ on Instagram for a chance to be featured!

Feta, Avocado & Pomegranate CrostiniS

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Ingredients

1 French baguette bread loaf, sliced ¼-inch thick 

¼ cup olive oil 

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese 

2 limes, juiced

salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp. water to thin spread, if needed

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place bread slices on a baking sheet. Mix olive oil with garlic powder and lightly brush onto bread slices. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges turn a slight golden brown. Set aside.

Add avocado, cheese, and lime juice to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add up to a tablespoon of water until mixture is spreadable. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture onto toasted bread slices, top with pomegranate seeds and more cheese if desired. Enjoy. 


Photo courtesy Monique Volz and Sarah Fennel.


Acorn Squash Stuffed with Avocado & Quinoa

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Ingredients

4 small acorn squash, halved

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. Tabasco (or other hot sauce)

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander seeds

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1½ cups cooked quinoa

1 14-ounce can black beans, drained, and rinsed

¼ cup scallions, choppedw

¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese 

2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced

1-2 limes, juiced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Directions

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Cut acorn squash in half horizontally and scoop out the insides. Brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast acorn squash with the cut side up for 35-45 minutes or until squash is tender in the middle and brown on the edges. 


While squash is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook onion until translucent and then stir in garlic, cumin, and coriander. Add the quinoa pilaf, black beans, scallions, red pepper flakes, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, lime, Tabasco sauce, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Remove skillet from the heat, let mixture cool, then stir in the diced avocado. Scoop the filling into the acorn squash halves and serve. 


Photo courtesy Jeanine Donofrio