Your Guide to Sweet Summer Produce

Preparing for July 4th festivities and barbecues? Then summer salads, grilled veggies, and sweet fruits are likely on your menu. To simplify your grocery lists and help make the most of your famers’ market visits, check out our tips for selecting some of the most popular summer produce. Enjoy and share your tricks for finding the tastiest foods at the best value in the comments below, too!

Your Guide to the Best Summer Produce

Bell Peppers. Farm-fresh bell peppers in a rainbow of colors (orange, red, yellow, and green) are low in calories and high in vitamin C. They’re equally great served raw on a crudité plate or brushed with olive oil and cooked on the grill. Or toss them in your fave summer salad. Shop for bell peppers that are firm, feel heavy for their size, and don’t show any blemishes or bruises on the skin.

Corn.  Summer wouldn’t be complete without fresh corn on the cob. The yellow and sweeter white versions are a staple at any barbecue and are best prepared boiled or on the grill. If you’re not in the mood for a warm side dish, consider slicing the kernels from the cob to make a cold corn and black bean salad. Buy corn with plump kernels and bright green husks for the most robust flavor.

Cherries. Stone fruits are the stars of summer, especially the classic cherry which is a good source of potassium. Whether you prefer sweet or sour varieties, both can be enjoyed as a simple dessert (everyone loves sharing a bowl of cherries) or baked into famous pies. It’s best to buy cherries during their peak season in July—and make sure to buy them ripe with their stems attached.

Figs. These sweet and somewhat exotic fruits complement savory foods like prosciutto, goat cheese, and arugula. If you love desserts more than appetizers, figs also make a lovely topping on vanilla ice cream. Pick figs that have a little sap around the navel, are tender to the touch (but not squishy), and don’t have bruises on their skin. They’re a good source of dietary fiber, too.

Plums. Domestic varieties of this beloved stone fruit are best bought during the summer through early fall, and they come in enticing colors from purple to maroon to red, yellow, or bluish-black. Surprisingly, take home plums with dull-looking skin and that yield to gentle pressure. And you can use our Fruit + Veggie Wash to remove the hazy coating once you’re ready to eat them!

Tomatoes. Starting this month, tomatoes (high in vitamins A and C) can be found everywhere and are anything but bland. Try Heirloom tomatoes, which have a rich flavor that pairs well with salads, fruits like peaches and watermelon, and even burgers! Grab tomatoes (on or off the vine) that are firm, without blemishes, feel substantial, and have a pleasant aroma. Despite the rising temps outside, don’t store your tomatoes in the fridge because they will be robbed of flavor.

Watermelon. Alone, in a salad, as a smoothie…watermelon is a refreshing summer treat. Like a tomato, watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and lycopene. It also provides you with heart-healthy potassium and magnesium. Look for melons with crack- and bruise-free rinds and that feel heavy for their size (baby ones often stay fresh longer due to their thicker shells). If you’re purchasing a sliced watermelon, select one that has deep-colored flesh without white streaking.

And try to get organic produce when possible! The EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce is a great source for identifying when it makes sense to buy organic versus conventional—and this includes bell peppers!

Friday Finds: Fidelis Canoe Paddle

Friday Finds

 

Spending any lazy days on the water this summer? Then look no further than this beautifully handcrafted canoe paddle made on the banks of the Mississippi River in Southern Minnesota. We love that each paddle has slight differences and patriotic stripes, making it unique.

Fidelis Canoe Paddle

Image by Fidelis Co.

Why Doesn’t Honest Toothpaste Contain Fluoride?

Why Our Toothpaste Contain Fluoride

Fluoride has been the key cavity-fighting ingredient (and the only one approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) used in toothpastes since the 1950s. So, why did we decide not to include fluoride in ours? Simply put, we listened to informed parents like you. Our Honest Toothpaste is fluoride-free for the ever-growing amount of consumers interested in that option. We also recognize that while there may be certain benefits to fluoride, there can be potential risks also.

According to Fluoride Action Network:

  • Just 1 gram of fluoride toothpaste (a full strip of paste on a regular-sized brush) is sufficient to cause acute fluoride toxicity in a two-year old child (e.g., nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea).

  • In 2009, U.S. poison control centers received over 25,000 calls related to excessive ingestion of fluoride toothpaste, with over 378 users requiring emergency room treatment.

  • Children who swallow fluoride toothpaste can reach fluoride levels in their blood that exceed the levels that have been found to inhibit insulin secretion and increase blood glucose in animals and humans.

  • 40% of American teenagers show signs of fluoride over-exposure.

We believe there are some basic, better ways to protect our teeth — like consistent, daily oral hygiene practices (brushing and flossing), healthy nutrition, avoiding excess sugar, and regular teeth cleanings and checkups with your dentist.

Still, we also strongly encourage you to discuss this issue with your family dentist. If you’re prone to cavities, careful use of a toothpaste containing fluoride might be beneficial. Only you and your dentist can know for sure.

That said, Honest Toothpaste, available for both kids and adults, relies on calcium, baking soda, aloe, ginger, and other natural ingredients to safely help reduce plaque, brighten teeth, and promote healthy teeth and gums — for an honestly clean mouth and peace of mind!

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below.  And thank you for your continued support of The Honest Company!

Kid-Friendly Sparklers: All Fun, No Fire

Kid-Friendly Sparkler

The Fourth of July is about fun, festivities, and fireworks. It’s a time when magic is in the air! To maintain this holiday spirit, we created a flame-free version of everyone’s beloved sparklers that little ones (and adults) can enjoy without worry of unintended injuries and burns. And we promise this DIY is the perfect daytime activity to get your kids excited about the evening’s events — it will light up their eyes and your party!

Materials

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Construction Paper (Red, White, and Blue)
  • Tin Foil
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Pencil
  • Wood Dowel (Alternatives: 3 Chopsticks or Wood Skewers taped together)

Optional Decorative Items

  • Glitter
  • Colorful Pipe Cleaners
  • Electrical Tape (Red, White, or Blue)

Directions

Cut Sparkler Flames

Step 1.  The Fringe

Creating the fringe is easy.  Fold the construction paper in half. Using your scissors, cut into the paper along the open edge — about every ½ inch. Do not cut all the way to the fold; leave approximately 1 inch uncut. Repeat this step with the tin foil, being especially careful not to tear the foil.

Step 2. The Foil Sandwich

Stack your fringed paper so that the tin foil fringe is sandwiched between the construction paper fringe in the colors of your choice. This will help protect the delicate foil from tearing.  Make sure your folded edges are lined up straight then dab a little glue between the foil and construction paper along the folded edge only. Let dry.

Gluing Your Sparkler

Attach Sparkler to Dowel

Step 3. The Roll

Add a line of glue along the uncut edge of the fringe. Place your wooden dowel at one edge of the paper and start rolling and wrapping the paper around the dowel. Keep the paper tight so that it adheres to the dowel. Optional: If you want to add a pipe cleaner to the mix, this is the time! Fold a pipe cleaner in half, place it on top of the glue, and roll it up with the fringe.

Adding Flair

Step 4.  Patriotic “Flare” & Fluff

Add a little “flare” with some festive ribbons or glitter. Using red, white, and blue electrical tape, wrap your wooden dowel for a more finished look.

Safe Sparklers

Patriotic Centerpiece

Voila! You have kid-friendly sparklers (no worries about burns, but still just as much festive fun). Or you can put them in a mason jar like a fireworks bouquet and use as it as a centerpiece at your Fourth of July party!

Honest LIKES St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Launching on June 17, 2013, Honest embarked on a Facebook campaign with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help support the children receiving treatment at this amazing facility in Memphis, Tennessee.  Here was our goal:

For every new like received on The Honest Company’s facebook page between June 17, 2013 and June 21, 2013, Honest committed to donating $1 to St Jude with a minimum commitment of $5,000 and a maximum contribution of $10,000.

 Honest LIKES St. Jude

So how did we do? Drum roll please….

10, 425 new page likes!

And how much will Honest be donating to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital?

$10,425!

Although we had originally set the maximum contribution at $10,000, our amazing community went above and beyond to help garner support for St. Jude. So, we thought it was only fair to make a donation that matched all of the generous support that we received. Thank you! Without such an amazing group of customers, friends, and partners getting involved and sharing this message, we would not have been able to achieve such great success in such a short period of time. People like you are the fuel that keeps our Honest mission alive. Together we really can make it better!

Below is a glimpse into how this donation will help cover support for children receiving treatment at St. Jude:

How Your Honest Help Benefits St. Jude

Why Support St. Jude? Thanks to donors, no family ever pays for anything while their child is receiving treatment at St. Jude. Through generous community donations, families are provided with housing, meals, and transportation in addition to the first-class medical care that their child is receiving. And, alongside this support, donated funds are also used to fuel the groundbreaking research needed to cure childhood cancer and other deadly diseases.

Other impressive things to note about St. Jude include: its talented staff (as recipients of countless awards, including the Nobel Prize!); its focus on family-centered care to embrace the entire family during the treatment process; its dedication to the wellbeing of all St. Jude staff with the Living Well program; and its community engagement programs.

Learn more about how donations make a difference at St. Jude.

Want to get involved? You, too, can support this outstanding organization. From donating money and shopping in their gift shop to participating in the St. Jude Dream Home raffle giveaway or volunteering in a St. Jude supported event in your community, there are many ways to join in. Check out how you can help.

Have you ever volunteered with a children’s hospital? Tell us about it in the comments below. We’d love to learn more!