As a follow-up to our popular Ultimate Spring Produce Guide, we’ve gathered summer fruits and vegetables and paired them with recipes you’ll want to make at home. From watermelon to avocados, learn what spices, flavors, and herbs go with this season’s hottest produce in our Ultimate Summer Produce Guide.
We love arugula for three reasons: 1) It’s incredibly versatile, much like spinach, 2) It lasts a long time, sometimes more than a week (reason enough to get a big bag of it), and 3) This green has lots of peppery personality! There are two varieties, wild and regular, and we recommend wild if you can find it (or heck, you can even grow your own).
Arugula is great raw or sautéed in salads, on sandwiches, with eggs, in pastas, tossed with roasted vegetables, in soups, and even as a basil substitute in pesto. You’ll also find it on pizzas and in grain bowls, like in these recipes for a Tomato and Arugula Grilled Pizza and Farro and Tomato Salad.
The fact that avocado can be used as a substitute for butter on toast should tell you everything you need to know. This creamy superfood is loaded with natural fat (the good kind!), fiber, and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
You can use it in everything from salads and wraps to tacos, soups, sauces, smoothies, brownies, and more! We’re particularly fond of these Rockin’ Guacamole Sweet Potato Bites and this Avocado Corn Salad, guaranteed to be a hit at your next backyard barbeque.
Pro tip: Even though they’re in season, avocados can be a fickle fruit. Keep your avocado from becoming an avocadon’t with this buying tip: Simply flake off the stem to see what’s underneath. If it comes off easily and you see green, you’re good to go! Otherwise it might need a few days to ripen on the counter or you can speed things up by placing it in a paper bag.
Blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, and tayberries are berry much in season! Blueberries will give you the most nutritional bang for your buck because they’re high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, but you can’t go wrong with any fruit you fancy!
Because moisture is the enemy of great berries, be sure to line storage containers with dry paper towels. As for preparation, we love blending them into a Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl, or baking them into Almond Berry Baked Oatmeal.
Tip: Make life even sweeter with our favorite berry desserts!
Named after the man who first cultivated it in the 1860s, John Bibb, this lettuce is grouped with those that are small, round, and have loosely formed heads—the leaves look almost cup-like. The Bibb’s leaves have a tender and sweet buttery flavor that goes well with herbs such as basil, chervil, cilantro, parsley, and tarragon. For a cup full of flavor, try a Creamy Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad.
Domesticated between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago, corn has more than 200 varieties and is one of the world’s largest food crops, with yellow and white corn among the most popular. Though the debate continues on whether yellow corn is sweeter than white corn, there is actually no correlation between its color and sweetness. Remarkably versatile, corn can be roasted, grilled, boiled, pressure-cooked, and sautéed. And as if you didn’t know already, corn goes nicely with salsas, salads, soups, casseroles, black beans, tomatoes, or a little Parmesan cheese and garlic.
Be cool as a cucumber. Literally. Cucumbers are 10 to 20 degrees cooler than their surrounding environment because they’re mostly water (the same is true for watermelons). But they don’t like extreme cold, so avoid storing them in the chilliest part of your fridge. Small cucumbers are usually more tender and sweet than larger ones (we’re partial to English cucumbers). Slice cukes into a Fresh Asian Sesame Salad or scatter them over Korean BBQ Chicken Tacos with Sweet Coleslaw.
Green beans are their most tender and sweet in summer. Look for bright, firm pods that break cleanly when snapped. They come in several varieties (string beans, Chinese long beans, flat green beans, and French green beans) and can be prepared a multitude of ways, whether you microwave, roast, pressure cook, blanch and shock, or steam and sauté.
Green beans pair well with fresh herbs like dill, tarragon, and thyme, along with slivered almonds, pine nuts, cashews, and even bacon! They’re especially useful for speedy dishes like this Green Bean and Lentil Salad.
Summer is here and life is peachy keen. When shopping for this seasonal staple, look for peaches that feel heavy, smell fragrant, are soft but not squishy, and don’t have green near the stem. They’re best at room temperature, so if you store yours in the fridge, let them warm up a bit. And just like avocados, you can ripen them by placing them in a paper bag.
Pair them with yogurt and honey, lemon sorbet, or lemon juice for a simple dessert, or dice them into a salsa like in this Pork Chops with Spicy Peach Salsa recipe.
“Meat and potatoes” refers to the basics for a reason. There are so many varieties, preparation methods, and flavors they pair well with (like mushrooms, bacon, onions, eggs, curry, parsley, rosemary, and thyme, to name a few). Roast them on the grill for a totally summer side or win the potluck party with our recipes for Hasselback Potatoes with Salsa or Roasted Blue Cheese Potato Salad.
Acidic and sweet, tomatoes are one of summer’s darlings for a reason. They come in a multitude of varieties, from 2-pound beefsteaks to dainty cherry tomatoes. Look for ones that are fragrant and feel heavy, and don’t store them in your fridge as that can render them flavorless and mealy.
They pair well with Italian flavors like basil, oregano, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and mozzarella cheese, as well as Mediterranean-inspired flavors like feta and cucumbers. Avocados, crusty bread, and eggs are also natural complements, as seen in these recipes for Spicy Shakshuka and a Frittata with Quinoa, Tomato, Prosciutto, and Asparagus.
Tip: No time to run to the store or hate dicing tomatoes? Keep cans of Hunt’s® and RO*TEL® on hand to help bring your favorite tomato-y recipes to life.
Another juicy favorite, watermelon is sweet, crisp, and refreshing, and all we want it on a hot summer day. Look for ones that are firm, “heavy,” symmetrical, and unblemished.
Watermelons pair well with herbal, sour, or sweet flavors like basil, mint, tomatoes, berries, lemon juice, feta, goat cheese, red onions, honey, lime, and sea salt. Cool off with a Tomato Watermelon Granita or throw a party for your taste buds with a Grilled Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad.
Yellow squash, also known as crookneck, is one of the many summer squashes available. (Fun fact: Zucchini is also a summer squash, but unlike the summer squash, it is available year-round.) Common among summer squashes, the yellow squash is picked young and tender and can be served raw or cooked. Its taste profile is a mild, slightly sweet flavor, which pairs well with butter, cinnamon, dill, garlic, lemon, mint, nutmeg, oregano, pepper, and rosemary. Common foods that also pair well are apples, bacon, feta, lamb, and pork. Sautéed or grilled yellow squash and zucchini make the perfect side, veggie taco base, or Farmer’s Market Vegetable Omelets.