Summer is the perfect season to explore local fruits and vegetables. With tasty new offerings springing up every day, it can be hard to keep track of everything you need to try, but we’re here to help.
If you love the convenience of one-stop shopping, our stores carry local produce at its peak and the offerings vary from store to store. Chat up your produce team to find out what’s available where you live. Tip: to keep summertime around all year long, employ your trusty freezer. Just remember to clean and dry produce thoroughly before storing in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag.
- The northeast is a hotbed for late spring and summer foraging.
- Garlic and onions scapes (the growth shoots of the planted bulb) must be trimmed in order to encourage the growth of the planted garlic and onion bulbs. Lucky for us they make a perfect pesto or addition to a summer sauté.
- Wild garlic and leeks (called ramps) might still be available in cooler areas.
- Creamy cooked shelling beans, like fresh cranberry beans, will certainly convert bean-abstainers to serious fans.
- You may already have sweet corn and tomatoes in this region. Zip raw corn off the cob for an instant salad or impromptu topping for grilled goodies and consider canning your famous salsa or fresh tomato sauce for use year round.
- Okra loves hot weather and is excellent sliced raw for veggie salads or stewed in summer soups.
- Juicy, perfumed peaches enjoy a nice long season in the South. Be sure to eat as many as you can fresh, but also try them grilled or frozen and blended into smoothies.
- Cactus paddles and prickly pears are edible Southwest fare that can be eaten raw or even whipped into an unusual ice cream. Be sure to handle fresh cacti with care.
- Strawberries are at their peak right now. Find a “you pick” farm and load up.
- Blueberries, both cultivated and wild, are stalwarts of summertime. Wild blueberries are tiny and ultra sweet – save them for special baked goods and jams.
- Sour cherries are perfect for pickling or making into jam.
- Summer squash abounds, but don’t forget about the edible flowers that bloom at the tips of the squash. Pick the “male” flowers that are on a longer stem, as the “female” flowers will develop into squash.
- Look for specialty berries like mulberries, gooseberries and huckleberries.
- Cardoons are celery-like plants from the artichoke family. Try them braised in a dry white wine.
- Seabeans are a salty, crunchy summer treat that can be tossed raw into salads, or pop them in a grill basket and cook them alongside the rest of dinner.
What local specialties are you enjoying now? Share your favorite summer treats in the comments section below.