Blackberries, cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and zucchini! Summer makes it easy to enjoy seasonal produce. It’s the time of year where Farmer’s Markets are in abundance, and I always love what I find in my CSA box during the summer months most of all.
Summer is a great time to find local, seasonal produce by shopping your closest Farmer’s Market, or joining a CSA. You can find a CSA in your area by searching here. Or try another one of these 7 ways to source your summer produce outside the supermarket.
In the summer, my goal is to keep the oven off as much as possible, so I focus on using the grill, and making dishes that don’t require any heat!
It’s also fun to try new ways of preparing some of your favorite summer produce. If you’ve never tried grilling fruit before, try this recipe for Grilled Fruit Salad with Lime over at Simple Bites.
What’s In Season Now?
Photo by joyosity
Corn is best as fresh as possible, but will keep in the refrigerator 1-2 days. My favorite way to prepare corn is on the grill. Peel back the leaves, remove the silky strings, then pull the leaves back up. Soak in water for 10 minutes, then put on the grill for 15-20 minutes. For more on corn and some delicious corn recipes, see Simple Bites’ post all about sweet summer corn.
Green Beans (also String Beans)
When choosing green beans, look for firm beans that snap easily. Green beans can be stored in the crisper for a few days. I enjoy green beans simply steamed with butter but am also dying to try these Gingered Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots.
There are many wonderful variations in colors and sizes of tomatoes. No matter what type of tomato, look for tomatoes with smooth skins and bright colors. Tomatoes should be kept on the counter, and will last for several days. A fresh cherry tomato straight off the vine is one of my favorite summer treats.
For more inspiration:
When selecting zucchini, and all summer squash, for that matter, look for those that are an average size, but heavy for their size. Summer squash can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week and should be handled with care to avoid puncturing the flesh.
If you grow your own zucchini, you probably have found that you have an abundance of it and can hardly keep up. Try one of these recipes to enjoy your bounty:
- Sausage Zucchini Bake This recipe does require using the oven, but it’s worth it!
- Zucchini Pancakes
- Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread with Cinnamon and Dark Chocolate Chunks
Photo by La Grande Farmers’ Market
There are many varieties of cherries, each falling into one of two categories: sweet or sour cherries. Sour cherries are most commonly used in baking. Look for cherries that are large, glossy, and firm. Cherries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To be honest, the cherries always go so fast in our home that I never have time to do much else with them. But if you have an abundance of cherries and are looking for some inspiration, try one of these delicious looking recipes:
Peaches are another one of my favorite summer treats. Look for peaches that are fragrant and soft, but not mushy. Peaches should be stored in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator.
I love to stock up on peaches in the summer, slice them, and freeze them and use them in smoothies throughout the year. Another way to enjoy them all year long is canning.
When selecting a watermelon, look for one that is heavy for its size, with a smooth rind. One side of the melon should have a difference in color from the rest of the rind, usually a yellowish tone. This is the side that was resting on the ground, and if it’s not there, it’s an indication the melon was harvested too early.
Watermelon is great on its own, and you can’t get more quintessentially summer than eating a slice of watermelon. If you want to try some other ways of using watermelon this summer, we have been loving this Watermelon Milkshake. And I also plan to try this Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad or this Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad.
For more inspiration, check out my Summer Food board on Pinterest.
What’s your favorite summer fruit or vegetable?