Summer Vegetables and Fruit
Abundant summer vegetables and fruit make cooking easy and thrifty. Summer vegetables and fruit practically overflow bins at the farmers’ markets. Much of it you can just rinse off and eat. Read on for summer recipes and learn where to look for peak flavor and nutrition at the lowest prices of the year.
What’s in Season: Early Summer Vegetables and Fruit
Eat the rainbow with fresh garden carrots, rainbow chard, and summer salad mix with edible flowers. Make salads with tomatoes and cucumbers when the heat turns lettuce bitter. Rinse and eat cherry tomatoes or sautée them for a few minutes with olive oil and garlic. Rub summer squash with garlic and olive oil, then grill to intensify the flavors. Make basil pesto with summer’s most aromatic herb to toss with pasta, quinoa, or green beans. Most early peaches are cling types that hold firmly to their pits. I may peel a few to eat out of hand, but mostly wait for cling-free peachs.
What’s in Season: Mid Summer Vegetables and Fruit
When big heirloom tomatoes come in season, I eat them three meals a day. Tomato season is at its peak for only about six week here in central North Carolina, so we have to get ’em while we can. Now’s the time for tomato toast with tahini, tomato sandwiches with Just Mayo, tomato salad, and pesto pizza with fresh tomato slices. Many Northerners can enjoy tomatoes fresh off the vine until the first frost.
Boil green beans and red potatoes, then toss with basil pesto. Eat bell peppers raw or use them to flavor bean stews and tomato sauces.
Summer melons are the best fruit bargain. Choose deeply colored cantaloupe for the most flavor and nutrition. Cling-free peaches make it easy to make peach cobbler and peach sauce.
What’s in Season: Late Summer Vegetables and Fruit
Tomatoes continue strong. Look for fully ripe and red bell peppers, which are sweeter and more nutritious than green peppers. Make potato salad with red potatoes, peppers, and green beans. Roast okra with small shishito peppers in a toaster oven for a quick hot green vegetable that doesn’t heat up the house. Freeze extra batches of basil pesto if you haven’t yet this season. You’ll thank yourself in December and January for the quick healthy meal.
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