Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July! What's In Season Now...

Summer is our favorite season for cooking. Between the abundance of our favorite fruits and veggies to BBQ’s and outdoor grilling, I don’t think we’ve ever enjoyed the summer more. I’ve listed some of our fave in-season produce (A to Z) below with links where possible to additional information and guides made possible by 4th friends!

Apples come into season mid- to late-summer (best in late summer) and are harvested into fall in most apple-growing regions. I see a lot of apple picking in our future...
Basil grows alongside tomatoes very well (in the garden and on the plate with a little fresh mozzarella and olive oil!). Look for unblemished, leafy branches without flowers or buds.
Blueberries are the only berries that have a dull, matte finish to them when ripe. These little guys are a personal favorite for my Fruit and Veggie Smoothies.
Cherries are the best. I live for when cherries come into season. They're ready to harvest at the end of spring in warmer areas. Sweet cherries, are available from May to August. Sour cherries have a much shorter season, and can be found for a week or two, usually during the middle of June in warmer areas and as late as July and August in colder regions.
Chiles (hot peppers or hot chilies) need heat to ripen and get hot - look for them at the end of summer into early fall and spice up those dinner plates.
Corn is best the minute it is picked from the stalk, so best to look from local growers for sure. Grill up and slather with a little organic butter and dashes of salt and pepper.
Cucumbers can be as much as 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. Crazy! I love serving my cukes with hummus or dicing up in a Greek salad. 
Garlic is another produce item that we forget has a season; fresh garlic is at its sweetest best in late summer and fall. Yum!
Grapes ripen towards the end of summer where they grow best; the harvest continues into fall. Even though it’s still early summer, I’ve already been getting some very good red grapes thus far. 
Green onions should have fresh, green tops and firm, white bottoms (fresh-looking, pale roots still attached to the whites are a good sign too). We use these babies to add flavor to just about everything. 
Huckleberries (I hear) are a true treat of summer in areas lucky enough to have them. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Huckleberry so I’ll have to add them to my list. For those who eat them often, enjoy!
Limes are the only citrus at their best in summer. Look for small, heavy-for-their-size fruits. Margarita time?!
Mangoes need tropical heat to ripen and come into their sweet best in late spring and summer in Florida and Hawaii. I love mangos but still unsure of how to peel one properly. I always buy them cubed even after many youtube videos. Any one out there with advice on this matter?
Okra needs heat to grow, so a nice long, hot summer in warmer climates brings out its best. Look for firm, plump pods. A true southern staple.
Peaches are one of the highlights of summer eating. Look for fruits that feel heavy for their size and that give just a bit when pushed. They make me miss GA. Peaches and fresh Vidalia onions...
Ramps are foraged in the spring and early summer and sometimes available at farmers markets and specialty stores. Ramp season is just waaaaaay too short :-(
Raspberries are the most delicate of all berries and also a summer smoothie staple.
Rhubarb is the first fruit of spring in many areas but stays in season into summer in most areas - look for heavy stalks with shiny skin. Perfect for jams and pies.
Shallots are milder, sweeter, and less bitter than their onion and garlic cousins—nice for salad dressings and good in really any dish you want add them to.
Spinach has a season?! It varies with your climate but yes. Year-round in temperate areas, summer and fall in cooler areas, fall through spring in warmers regions. A must in my smoothies and fresh salads.
Strawberries are mostly grown in California or Florida, where the strawberry growing season runs from January through November. Peak season is April through June. Who doesn’t love a good strawberry?
Tomatoes may be one of the number one draws to farmers markets and local eating. Try to sample tomatoes before you buy them if you can and don’t forget the aforementioned fresh basil and mozzarella! 
Watermelons should feel heavy for their size. Unlike other melons, watermelons don't tend to emit a smell even when they're ripe and ready to eat. A lovely dessert at summer BBQ’s and also a great component to cocktails, juices and smoothies. 
Zucchini & Other Summer Squash have a harvest season from summer into fall in most climates. Absolute perfection on the grill. Just marinade with Italian dressing, salt and pepper and voila! The perfect summer side dish. 
Below are pics from a recent trip I made to Athens Farmers Market in Athens, GA. Pretty!

Eat those fruits and veggies (when they’re in season if poss)! Your body will thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment