Do you get most of your weekly veggies at the Saturday farmer’s market? (We do!) Then tomorrow might be the last chance to get these late summer veggies and fruits that are in peak season now. Fill your reusable totes with the following and get ideas for your weekend cooking–because the following Saturday, we’ll have the first fall produce to look forward to!
15 Late Summer Vegetables and Fruits to Buy This Weekend
1. Watermelon: I’ve always argued that watermelon is the #1 fruit. (Note: #2-5 are blueberries, peaches, mangoes, and cherries, but the order is debatable). Anyway, I think the best way to enjoy watermelon is just fresh, although Mark Bittman came up with 12 recipes over at The New York Times. I’m still trying to get my head around grilled watermelon, which seems to have become a thing lately. But even I have to admit that a watermelon-tomato gazpacho is perfectly lovely.
2. Tomatoes: The last days of tomatoes are upon us! Savor the last of these beauties by making some tomato sandwiches. Some say the best tomato sandwiches are just ripe, juicy tomato with plenty of salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil, between slices of plain white bread. Or try Mushroom Sofrito Stuffed Tomatoes!
3. Okra: I’ve been crazy about okras since I had the most amazing Indian okra dish (Bhuni Bhindi) at…Whole Foods. (Lame, I know). But recreating that dish at home was far more challenging than I ever expected, because okras are so darn slimy, and then they’re slimy some more. I studied my copy of At Home with Madhur Jaffrey and apparently, the trick is to look for small, tender okras right in season–like, now. Maybe I’ll be giving it another shot this weekend.
4. Garlic: Fresh spring garlic is in season until late summer. Even though you can obviously get cured garlic all-year round, spring garlic is milder and sweeter. If you’ve never used spring garlic before, you’ll be surprised by how much fresher and juicier it is than the dried kind. Garlic is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
5. Zucchini and other summer squash: Now, squash blossoms are in season like, right this second. But you would usually fill that blossom with cheese, dip it in egg batter, and deep fry it, which isn’t exactly vegan-friendly. While there’s no really fresh, vegan way to enjoy the flowers, you can easily make a vegan zucchini bread or simple grilled/roasted zucchini.
6. Corn: Summer corn is so versatile, it’s a crime not to grab 4-5 ears. My favorite way is to take the kernels off the cob (simply slide your knife down the corn at an angle) and add to a big salad. You could also add it to tacos, or a corn salsa. Of course, steamed or grilled corn on the cob is always a classic.
7. Cucumbers: Now is the time to get your fill of cucumbers. I like the small, thin-skinned ones because they have less seeds and taste sweeter. Don’t feel like you’re being weird because you’re using “pickling” cukes for a salad–stick to your guns, my friend!
8. Shelling beans (such as cranberry beans): This is so easy–shell the beans, and boil for about 8-10 minutes, and then you’re done! If you’re making pasta, as I’m apt to do, you don’t even need to use a separate pot.
9. Blueberries: Right now is the best time for these anti-oxidant filled beauties that are also known to help with weight loss. Make a blueberry, peanut butter, banana smoothie, or make Sunday pancakes!
10. Peaches: Nectarine or fuzzy, white or yellow, ripe peaches are one of late summer’s greatest pleasures. They’re good raw, or turned into breakfast smoothies, pies/cobblers, crisps, or muffins.
11. Grapes: Another year-round fruit that in fact, has a season–and it’s now! Grapes, which are full of heart-healthy polyphenols, are also excellent when frozen.
12. Green beans: Now is the perfect time to enjoy green beans: try sauteing them with a little garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, and sliced almonds.
13. Chard: Now is the time to get in with these leafy greens before you’re left with cabbage and then more cabbage. Saute with garlic and olive oil. Done.
14. Carrots: Carrots have seasons, too! Their “real” harvest season is late-summer to early fall.
15. Herbs: Get your fill of basil, cilantro, parsley now. Use them in everything from salad, tabouleh, tacos, stews, stir-fry, etc.
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling