By Denise Miller / For the Journal
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Kids are back in school and Labor Day is in the rear view mirror. The calendar tells us summer will be over in a couple of weeks, but as long as fresh fruit is still available at our local growers’ markets, it will taste like summer.

Once you have good tomatoes, nothing is faster to make than Iced Tomato Soup. If you want to add texture, peel, seed and dice some extra tomatoes and/or local cucumbers. (Photo by Denise Miller.)

It has been a good year for local apricots, cherries, blackberries and peaches. And since August, early apples, plums, pears, cantaloupes, canary and casaba melons, and watermelons have graced market tables, along with the tasty backyard tomatoes that we wait for all year.

Classifying tomatoes as fruit (versus vegetable) is not new. Their seed-bearing structure – rather than the fact that we don’t make tomato cakes – makes it so. But there are also plenty of fruits that we forget to define this way, like cucumbers, olives, corn, peppers, eggplants and legumes.

Vegetables, on the other hand, from a botanical point of view, are the non-flowering bits, or the roots, leaves and stems. But unlike many fruits that we call vegetables, there don’t seem to be many vegetables that are considered as fruits. Rhubarb is an exception: we eat it for dessert but it is actually a vegetable.

Whether you are a botanist or chef, eating locally grown fruit is a pleasure worth pursuing! Even if you are watching the amount of carbohydrates you are eating, some types of fruit have fewer carbs per serving, mostly due to their higher water content, or they have fewer absorbable carbohydrates due to their high fiber content.

Locally grown fruit is generally picked ripe and ready-to-eat. The sweetness that develops from plenty of sunshine and cool nights distills the flavors like only New Mexico can. Here are three of our favorite low-carb fruits still available in September.

MELONS: Watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit and it scores lowest in carbohydrate content. It’s low in fiber, so most of this carbohydrate is absorbed. Watermelon is also high in vitamin A and has a high water content, which will fill you up while providing fewer calories. Look for tasty seedless varieties that are excellent for using in recipes. Cantaloupes and other orange-fleshed melons are high in beta carotene, and small canary, crenshaw and casaba melons (also called Native melons) are high in vitamin A and C.

 

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