Memorial Day is a time of reflection when American towns honor with tradition brave men and women who serve our country. Communities hold gatherings at local parks and invite the whole town to join in the festivities. For many, Memorial Day weekend is also summer kick-off – a time for get-togethers with family and friends.

Enjoying summer produce at your Memorial Day party is a great way to incorporate the best this season has to offer. Although most fruits and vegetables are available year round, certain ones are at their peak during the summer months. After a long winter, tasting a fruit or vegetable at the peak of its freshness is truly an experience.

Here are some of my favorite summer picks: Berries, such as raspberries and blackberries are rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber. Cantaloupe usually finds its way into most fruit salads and is often served with something salty, such as cured ham. Cantaloupes are a good source of vitamins A, C and folate. Most people can agree that a tomato that is ripe and in season is second to none!

Kick off your summer meal with a refreshing chilled soup like the recipe below for Chilled Tomato Soup – a deliciously healthy way to get Lycopene (an antioxidant found in tomatoes) and potassium. Fresh summer fruit salsas made with peaches, pineapple or mango are mouth-watering accompaniments to grilled meat and fish. Try these ideas at this year’s Memorial Day party to kick off the fresh taste of summer!


Fresh Peach Salsa
Prep: 5 minutes Makes: 9 (1/4 cup) Servings

  • 2 cups peeled, chopped peaches
  • ¼ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped, seeded fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp. sugar
In a medium bowl stir together peaches, onion, lime juice, peppers, garlic, cilantro and sugar. Chill for 1 to 2 hours.
Nutrition Facts:
17 calories
0g Fat
0g Saturated Fat
0mg Cholesterol
2mg Sodium
4g Carbohydrate
1g dietary Fiber
0g Protein



Chilled Tomato Soup
Prep: 10 minutes Makes: About 5 (1-cup) Servings

  • 2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Puree tomatoes and onion in a blender until smooth. Strain to discard skin. Add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with sliced basil.
Serving Suggestion: Grilled crusty whole grain bread
Nutrition Facts:
119 calories
9g Fat
0.5g Saturated Fat
0mg Cholesterol
17mg Sodium
10g Carbohydrate
2g Dietary Fiber
2g Protein


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