Health

11 Foods You'd Be Stupid Not to Eat in June

Published On 06/01/2016 Published On 06/01/2016
beef brisket barbecue sausage Texas bbq
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Hahahahahaha remember when you were a kid and got the summers off? Those days are literally gone forever. Now you have to find novel ways of concealing from your employer the fact that you're still inebriated from the infinite barbecue your life has become, because what's the point of staying sober when you have no discernible skills or desire to acquire any? Oh, yeah, health insurance. You probably still need that.

But not if you eat healthy foods full of antioxidants! You'll never get sick and will probably live forever, making insurance a luxury expense. So feel free to lose your job, get outside, and/or invest unreasonable amounts of time learning some niche craft that will set you apart at this year's Niche Craft and Useless Trinkets Fair. Or, you could start learning about seasonality and food supply issues, because those are real and tangible and other synonyms that make you feel superior to knowledge work. While you're waffling on your future, pass the time by eating these foods in season this June.

Flickr/Garrett Heath

Poblano peppers

"What are you doing for D-Day?" you'll ask your friends and acquaintances, and before they have a chance to respond, you'll scream, "EATING POBLANOS AT MY PLACE, BRO!" Best D-Day ever. Well, since 1944.

Poblanos exist in that lovely not-quite-spicy-but-not-totally-bland pepper space that's amenable to most people, and they're great for stuffing... stuffing your face! Hah. Just stuffing with rice and beans and things of that nature, then popping them on the grill or in the broiler -- peppers have capsaicin in them, too, which is good for you

Flickr/Liz West

Cherries

You may have to stick it out until near the end of June to truly get into cherry season, but it'll be worth the wait. There's really not much to say about cherries beyond that. 

OBVIOUSLY KIDDING. They're packed with antioxidants. They suffered from pitting disorders in shipments to NYC between 1972 and 1984. They lower plasma urate in healthy women. They're the main ingredient in the pie that inspired Warrant's hit song. George Washington hated the mere sight of the tree on which they grow. This could go on for hours!

Flickr/Garrett Ziegler

Sea bass

At least the marketing geniuses in Italy rebranded their version of the sea bass as "branzino." What an elegant, corrupt, chauvinist version of the sea bass. Here in AMERICA, the sea bass believes in the free market and family values, and will give you good fats to help you pick yourself up by the bootstraps. You've got plenty of sea bass options, from branzino to black to white, and many of them are sustainable. Once you've made your pick, grilling is always the preferred cooking method, if you have it available; otherwise you could do a little pan-roasting action with some butter, lemon, and parsley/dill for a simple, easy classic. 

Flickr/Tonal Lumosity

Berries of all sorts

Except raspberries, those won't be at their peak until later in the summer. DON'T YOU DARE EAT A RASPBERRY. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, snozberries, Marion Barrys, all should be good to snag whenever you see them at your local market, especially if you're an FBI agent running a sting operation. RIP, Mayor Barry.

Berries are one of the few foods deserving of the "superfood" moniker, thanks to loads of antioxidants and other health-promoting phytochemicals. Pop a bunch in your mouth whenever you have a chance, though you're going to have to pay for that pint of berries you just housed, pal. 

Flickr/isaac'licious

Mizuna

Mizuna is a Japanese green similar to arugula without the extreme peppery bite, but maybe don't mention that at your big D-Day party. Great grandpappy will cause a scene, it'll be a whole thing; it's better to serve mizuna fresh in a light summer salad with a little rice vinegar-ginger-soy dressing and never speak of this day again. Mizuna happens to be a brassica, because you can never hope to escape them, even in the late spring... this guy is typically a winter green, but holy crap when humans die out, healthy supercockroaches feeding on cruciferous vegetables will be all that's left. If that doesn't whet your appetite for mizuna, then maybe the fact that it's going to revolutionize the health of the Romanian people will!

Flickr/Greg Jordan

Plums

You ready for a poetry/infidelity reference? No? That's cool, too. Speaking of cool, you actually DO want to keep your plums in the icebox, which people call "the fridge" now, because sinking your teeth into a warm, mealy plum will send you into a funk until August -- you have no resilience! Make sure you're buying slightly soft, though not mushy, plums, and eat them until your colon cries, "Please, no more plums, I'm begging you!" They've been called one of "the most important stone fruit in the world," and you soak up some importance for yourself when you devour their flesh, right? Enter June armed with plums and a newfound, if short-lived, sense of self-confidence.

Flickr/Suzie's Farm

Sugar snap peas

Yet another example of scientists spitting in the face of God and expecting the common folk to eat the results. Which we do, and we love it! Like its friends broccolini and Kalettes, sugar snap peas were invented by fallible men seeking the divine, probably as some sort of mind-control mechanism. The result is a sweet, crunchy, snackable pea with an edible pod that you should totally eat raw and maybe throw into your great grandpappy's mizuna salad to show him the wonders of modern agriculture. 

Rainbow smelt

What the fuck is going on with these terrible fish names? First, "fish" itself is noxious to the ear, like if an onomatopoeia could apply to smell; then you call something a "rainbow smelt" and you figure you'd have to call poison control if a child ingested it. Can we get the branzino people working on smelt?

Anyway, these small fry (DO YOU SEE?) are an invasive species not native to the Great Lakes, which makes you wonder how they got there in the first place. The point is that you can eat as many as you want without feeling bad, and sure enough, frying them would be a good choice, though it seems as though people in the Great Lakes states really want you to eat them and have provided many delightful recipes if you plan on having a smelt-off this June.  

Flickr/Alice Henneman

Burpless cucumbers

Fun stuff, breeding plants to be burpless! These are real, though, and probably at least 17 people can attest to their quality. Cukes in general, and these in particular, are pretty mild and inoffensive, so they can be added to almost any dish fresh and raw. Haven't you ever had a cuke before? What's wrong with you, are you six months old? If you haven't already, get on board with the quick pickle and you'll have a refreshing (burpless) condiment all summer long. 

Flickr/The Land Connection

Purple scallions

Here's a dirty secret: pretty much any vegetable that's purple will taste exactly the same as its normal, green counterpart. Told you it was dirty, don't act so scandalized! Scallions will give most savory dishes you cook up a fresh and mild onion bite, plus they could protect you against stomach cancer, which, OK, cool. But the best part is that they're super easy to grow yourself -- when you buy a bunch, cut off the tops and use them as you normally would, but plant the stringy little roots in some potting soil, they'll resprout as long as you water them regularly. From there, you can just cut the tops off as needed, and they'll continue growing back, giving you free scallions all summer long. 

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Barbecue

Don't try to fight it. Whether or not you eat bona fide barbecue this June is beside the point, since you'll be going to enough "barbecues" and their social ilk to last a lifetime. You've got your friend's birthday Saturday, beer garden get-together Sunday, baseball game midweek, wedding the following weekend, beach/lake/country/mountain getaway weekend, rooftop party, another birthday, going-away party... you should be overweight and totally brain dead just in time for the Fourth of July! Live it up -- that's what summer's for. 

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Anthony Schneck is the Health editor at Thrillist and can't get enough D-Day content. Follow him: @AnthonySchneck.

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