Great Summer Recipe Highlights

by Kelsey
Fresh peaches, raspberries, strawberries, squash, cherries, nectarines, corn, basil, tomatoes.

There is no better food season than summer.

You may argue with that (and I’d love to hear what your favorite season is) but let me be clear: summer produce in the Central Valley of California has yet to find an equal, in my humble opinion.

I just don’t get as excited about picking up and eating, say, a banana, as I do when I bite into a crunchy nectarine and the pink juice drips down the back of my hand. Cherries, watermelon, and corn are classic picnic produces, inspiring families and friends to get outdoors, laugh and talk together, and eat something fresh. Summer produce reminds me of a quieter pace and a calmer time.

To celebrate summer fruits and vegetables, here is a sample of great summer recipes for picnics, lunches at work, or those hot summer nights at home.

  • According to Serious Eats, summer is the best time for making salsa, because many ingredients are summer-bloomers. And bonus: salsa is really easy to make – just pop all the ingredients in a blender and then have a party with some chips. Serious Eats

  • Farmers markets in the summer are extra-special if for nothing else than nectarines. This recipe for nectarine crisp is described with enthusiasm by Food GPS: “He said he just got his hands on some amazing nectarines, and with reckless glee I responded, ‘Well hand ‘em over, honey!!'” Food GPS *Also, ways to remove a stubborn pit from The Kitchn.
  • Do you think pies are the only thing you can make out of cherries? Think again. Try pork chops with cherry sauce, cherry plop, or the good-ol sour cherry pie with a pistachio crumble. More recipes at Serious Eats

  • As a kid, I didn’t like eating fresh strawberries, but now I can pop them in my mouth like nobody’s business. If you are picky like little-me, you can try this recipe for fresh strawberry cream, a quick and easy dessert made with fresh strawberries (and a nod to your wallet with cheap ingredients). Almost Frugal

  • Everything you need to know about tomatoes: how to store them, how to ripen unripe ones, how to preserve them, and my favorite: how to make fried green tomatoes. The Kitchn

  • In much of California, summers can get hot. The Japanese understand hot summers well, and that’s why chilled somen noodles (wheat noodles), eaten with a variety of vegetables and sauces, are so popular for staying cool. LA Times

  • For more ways to stay cool, take a tip from the Italians, who eat ice cold granita for breakfast. Serious Eats gives you a recipe to make coffee granita (feel free to eat it for breakfast, too). Serious Eats

  • Pattypan squash (nicknamed “flying saucer” squash) is one of the many squash best enjoyed in the summer season. The Kitchn compiled recipes like Pattypan pizza, baked summer squash, and Pattypan squash stuffed with lemon and currant quinoa. The Kitchn

  • The Iconic Summer Picnic: take some ideas from photos from Flickr user picnics – like, I’ve never tried a breakfast picnic before, but yum. The Kitchn

Greek orzo salad with capers, feta cheese, Kalamata olives (perfect for picnics!)

Photo of cherries used with permission from Flickr user silkegb.
Photo of watermelons used with permission from Flickr user foreversouls.

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