Perfect produce is ripe for the picking and is at peak taste when in season. The greens are vibrant, the crunch is crisp, the flavor superb. Fresh from your own garden, favorite farmers’ market or local grocery, tis the season for enjoying the bounty from the earth.

How can anyone forget Mom’s rule for eating all your vegetables at the dinner table? According to the USDA’s updated portion requirements, Mom is always right. We need five servings a day.

Most American’s don’t eat enough vegetables. Our Portion Control Vegetable Server tool takes the guess work out of serving sizes. By using the tool daily, you can be confident that you are eating the USDA’s recommended portion requirements.

Check out these five vegetables to add variety and flavor to your warm-weather diet.

Okra – One of the best ways to eat okra is raw because it is loaded with health benefits like vitamins A and C plus iron and calcium. Added benefits are no mucilage (slime) plus there are no dishes to wash. For optimal taste, make sure okra is fresh and tender. Dip it in hummus, aioli or salsa. Or just chop and throw it into a green salad.

Zucchini – Get creative with garden-fresh zucchini. It’s a prolific plant that thrives in the garden. Try blanching and freezing thin slices in zippered baggies. Slice zucchini lengthwise, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning; grill. Toss into a salad or serve on the side with fish.

Asparagus – Eating vegetables at their peak is best. Asparagus season begins in March and runs through June. It is best when eaten within a couple of days of harvesting – so it is better to purchase it locally. Steaming is the most common method used to prepare asparagus. It cooks the asparagus spears gently and brings out its natural flavor. Steam and toss with a fresh vinaigrette. Or consider a quick blanching boil, then a quick flash of heat in an olive-oiled skillet with lemon juice and garlic.

Spring Peas – A serving of sweet green garden (or English) peas, which are really legumes, contains more protein than an egg—with less than a gram of fat and no cholesterol. Garden peas should be shelled and blanched in boiling water just until they turn bright green. Toss with a touch or real butter or sea salt.

Green Beans – There is nothing like green beans fresh from the garden. That fresh, sweet bean taste just can’t be found in anything canned or frozen. For a healthier twist, try seasoning with fresh lemon juice and black pepper instead of butter.

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