Eating with the Seasons: Summer
Now that summer weather is officially here, farmers’ markets are in full swing. There are an abundance of nutritious and vibrant options to make eating seasonally a breeze.
If you’re looking to eat more seasonally this summer, here are a few ways to get started!
Beets come is several varieties, including golden, Chioggia (candy cane), and red. They’re a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber and packed with antioxidants. Roasting beets helps bring out their sweet flavor, but they can be prepared in multiple ways, including sliced thin and baked into chips, boiled and tossed into a salad, or grated and added to cakes and brownies. Red beets tend to have an earthier taste, whereas golden beets tend to be a little milder, but including a few varieties on the same dish makes for a striking presentation.
Peach cobbler is a summer season staple, but peaches pair great with a variety of flavors and ingredients, like blueberries, arugula, cinnamon, oats, pecans, basil, and lemon. If you’re used to peaches in sweet dishes, experiment with adding them as an accent to more savory dishes, like salads or flatbreads. For a twist on a classic caprese salad, try peaches instead of tomatoes!
This humble cruciferous vegetable goes a long way in the kitchen and is high in sulforaphane, known to have powerful anti-cancer properties. Cabbages have a long growing season and store well, so they’re used in many traditional cold-weather dishes, but they’re delicious this time of year, too. For some summer dishes, try grilling cabbage wedges, adding to stir-fries, or pickling.
Corn is an amazing source of fiber and simple to prepare. Conventionally produced corn is mostly genetically modified, so if you’re avoiding GMOs, be sure to opt for organic. Ears of corn can be grilled, steamed, boiled, or even roasted. Once it’s cooked, check out this great tip for slicing off the kernels without making a mess so you can easily add them to everything from salads to dips to fritters.
If you think tomatoes have lost their flavor, try an heirloom tomato in the heat of summer – it might just change your mind. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and low in calories, and they lend themselves well to both raw and cooked dishes. Interestingly, lycopene, a main antioxidant found in tomatoes, may be more bio-available after cooking.
To make flavorful summer tomatoes last year-round, try canning them (be sure to follow the proper preservation techniques so they stay safe to eat). You can also slice them thin and roast on a low temperature to create your own sundried tomatoes, which can last in the freezer for months and add a great flavor boost to weekday meals.
What summer produce do you look forward to most? What are your favorite ways to prepare it? Share your tips!