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Summer brings a wealth of deliciously ripe fruit our way. On top of drinking water, drinking fresh juices and smoothies and eating fresh fruit can also help your body stay energized and hydrated.

Berries can be enjoyed on salads, desserts and in cereal. They are low in calories and high in antioxidants.

Peaches have a sweet, almost tangy taste that blends well in smoothies and other beverages. They are good sources of vitamin A and potassium.

Pears are soft and sweet tasting and their mild flavor lets them blend well with a variety of recipes. They are good sources of vitamin C, copper and dietary fiber.

Apricots are smooth and faintly tart. They are good sources of beta-carotene and lycopene for heart health and vitamin A, an antioxidant that helps with vision and cellular growth.

Figs have a soft texture and are a favorite for baking. Roasting them in the oven makes a sweet, tender treat. They are good sources of dietary fiber, potassium and manganese.

Watermelon is the best natural thirst quencher on a hot summer day. Watermelon and other melons are an excellent source of antioxidants like vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene.

Cherries are delicious out of hand but are also an excellent baking fruit. They’re also an excellent source of  fiber, vitamin C and flavonoids, which makes cherries super protective against cancer and inflammation in the body.

Plums are a low-calorie power food that won’t spike your blood sugar levels and they help increase the absorption of iron into the body.

Here are some ideas on how to enjoy eating fruit all summer long.

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Berry Parfaits

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh in season berries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
  • 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, whipped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 4 graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint for garnish

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine whipped cream cheese, honey and lemon juice. Fold the yogurt into the cream cheese mixture.

In four wide-mouth glasses, evenly layer cream cheese mixture, berries and crushed graham crackers. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint. Serve chilled.

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Cherry Crostata

A crostata is an Italian baked tart or pie, also known as coppi in Naples and sfogliate in Lombard.

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out pastry
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons ice water, more if needed
  • 1 pound fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

Directions

Place both flours, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl or food processor and whisk to combine or pulse to blend.

Add cold butter and cut in using a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor. Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just begins to come together. Add a tablespoon or two of ice water if needed. Gather the dough and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss cherries in a medium bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar, cornstarch, orange juice and orange zest.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Gently transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Top the dough with the cherry mixture, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edges of the dough up and over the fruit, leaving most of the fruit surface exposed in the center.

Bake until the crust is golden and the fruit juices bubble, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Grilled Peaches and Plums

Ingredients

  • 4 plums, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 24 red or purple plums—halved and pitted
  • 10 peaches, halved and pitted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur

Directions

Light a grill and oil the grill grates.

In a medium saucepan, combine the 4 sliced plums with 3/4 cup of the sugar and the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the plums are very soft, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the plums to a food processor and puree until smooth. Scrape the plum sauce into a bowl, stir in the lemon juice and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir the melted butter with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.

Grill the halved plums and peaches over moderate heat, turning once, until the fruit is tender, about 6 minutes. Baste the plums and peaches with the sweetened butter and continue to grill, turning once and basting again, until caramelized and slightly charred, about 2 minutes longer.

Mix the mascarpone cheese with the amaretto.

Transfer the grilled fruit to serving plates and spoon the plum sauce on top. Place a tablespoon or two of the mascarpone cheese alongside the fruit and serve.

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Grilled Gingered-Melon Kabobs

If using wooden skewers, soak the skewers in enough water to cover for at least 1 hour before grilling or broiling.

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups cantaloupe cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch cubes, balls and/or triangles
  • 2 cups honeydew melon cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch cubes, balls and/or triangles
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine lime peel, lime juice and ginger. Add melon. Seal bag; turn to coat melon. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.

Drain melon, reserving any juices. On four long skewers alternately thread cantaloupe and honeydew.

Place kabobs on the rack of a preheated and oiled grill directly over medium coals or gas. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes or until grill marks are visible, turning occasionally to brown evenly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved juices and the honey until well blended. Drizzle this mixture over the warm kabobs.

Variation

Broiler method: Preheat the broiler. Place the kabobs on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until heated through, turning once.

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Fig Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (about 5 1/8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh figs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Lightly spoon flours into measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours and the next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of the mixture.

Place buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Stir in chopped figs. Add the mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Combine brown sugar, oats and melted butter in a small bowl; toss with a fork until combined. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over muffins.

Bake for about 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes; remove muffins from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

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