Want to make the most of your farmers market haul? This Summer Produce Guide is packed with recipes and information about how to select, store, and cook seasonal fruits and vegetables.
What's in Season During Summer?
Here are some of the fruits and vegetables you can find at peak freshness during the summer months:
(Click the links to jump to a specific produce item in this Summer Produce Guide.)
- Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- Stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, apricots)
- Watermelon (and other melons)
Summer Produce Guide: How to Select, Store, Prep and Cook Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
Juicy gems like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries hit their prime during the summer.
It's best to prep your berries right before you use them to avoid too much sogginess or the chance of mold growth.
Once you have your berries rinsed, try mixing them into smoothies, popsicles, salads, or oatmeal bowls. Of course, they're delicious all on their own, too!
Fresh berries pair well with almonds, cinnamon, lemon, and stone fruits.
Berry recipes to try:
Homemade Strawberry Oak Milk by Grateful Grazer (pictured)
Wild Blueberry Coconut Yogurt Pops by Mom’s Kitchen Handbook
Whole Wheat Lemon Blueberry Muffins by Grateful Grazer
Strawberry Spinach Salad by Tara Rochford Nutrition
Dragon Fruit Smoothie by Grateful Grazer
Wild Blueberry Lemon Nice Cream by Amy Gorin Nutrition
Yogurt Dipped Strawberries by Grateful Grazer
Wild Blueberry Beet Smoothie by Grateful Grazer
Nothing says summer like fresh corn on the cob. You'll probably find the most flavorful in your CSA box or at your local farmers market. Corn is best eaten as soon as possible after it’s picked from the stalk.
Select corn cobs that are tightly closed and have fresh-looking husks, tassels, and stem-ends.
There are several different ways to prepare corn.
To boil, cover dehusked corn completely with water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Grilling gives corn a smoky flavor—cook ears of corn for about 15 minutes or until the husks are charred and the kernels are crisp-tender. If you're looking for a quick, hassle-free cooking method for your summer corn, you can also microwave corn with husks intact on high for 4 to 6 minutes.
Try pairing corn with black beans, bell peppers, cilantro, garlic, and tomatoes. It's ideal for Mexican-inspired dishes!
Corn recipes to try:
Grilled Corn Salad Bowl by Green Evi (pictured)
Summer Vegetable Foil Packs by Grateful Grazer
Peach, Corn, and Hatch Green Chile Salsa by Leanne Ray
Avocado Black Bean Corn Salad by Judith Scharman
Honey Lime Grilled Corn Salad by Amy at Amy Gorin Nutrition
There's nothing better than a cool cucumber when it's hot out. For the most part, cucumbers are best raw.
They pair well with fresh herbs (especially chives, cilantro, dill, mint, and parsley), lemon, olive oil, and tomatoes.
Add a few slices of fresh cucumber to a pitcher for a spa-style infused water, puree into frozen popsicles, or spiralize into salads. I like to snack on slices sprinkled with a little coarse sea salt. You can use cucumbers to make summery chilled soups, too!
Cucumber recipes to try:
Mango Cucumber Salad with Jicama by Grateful Grazer (pictured)
Cold Cucumber Avocado Soup by Sharon Palmer
Spiralized Cucumber Sunomono Salad by Sweet Cayenne
Kachumber Salad by Shaw's Simple Swaps
There are lots of different varieties of eggplant—Italian, Japanese, graffiti, and white. Whichever you choose, look for a shiny, tight, smooth skin and make sure it feels heavy for its size.
Wondering how to cook eggplant? Try slicing and baking it with a crispy breading, mash it into a Baba Gannoush-style dip, or stir-fry it with a mix of seasonal veggies.
Eggplant pairs especially well with fresh basil, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and tahini.
When you need to store leftover eggplant, wrap it up and place in the least cool section of the fridge. (I like to use reusable beeswax wraps.)
Eggplant recipes to try:
Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Tomato Tarragon Relish by Dishing out Health (pictured)
Mini Eggplant Pizzas by From A to Zucchini
Spicy Beanless Garden Vegan Chili by Veggie Inspired
Mangoes grow in tropical climates, so they aren't local for a lot of us here in the U.S., but they're still an "in season" option during the summer months.
How do you cut a mango?
Don't be intimidated by this juicy tropical fruit—it's worth the extra little bit of prep time required to slice it.
First, cut the mango from top to bottom, doing your best to avoid the pit. Take each large slice and cut down to, but not through, the skin in a cross-hatch pattern. Then, turn the skin inside out and scrape off the flesh.
Mangoes taste great with black beans, chili peppers, cilantro, coconut, and lime. Incorporate them into Mexican-inspired salsas, salads, and drinks, or freeze to use in a tropical summer smoothie.
Mango recipes to try:
Mango Cucumber Salad by It’s A Veg World After All
Mango Matcha Margaritas by Grateful Grazer
Mango Turmeric Overnight Oats by The Foodie Dietitian
Like eggplant, peppers come in a variety of colors. The flavor of different peppers also varies greatly. Some fresh peppers are mild while others carry a lot of heat.
Bell peppers are sweet and mild, which makes them great for stuffing whole. You can also dip raw bell peppers in homemade hummus or add strips to fried rice or a stir-fry.
Try peppers with black beans, cilantro, garlic, ginger, or zucchini.
If you have more bell peppers than you can use, slice and spread strips on a plate or baking sheet. Freeze for one hour, and then transfer frozen strips to a zip top bag. You can store peppers in the freezer for up to one year. (Freezing strips on a plate or baking sheet first prevents the pieces from sticking together once they're transferred to the bag.)
Pepper recipes to try:
Curry Stuffed Peppers by Grateful Grazer (pictured)
Grilled Vegetable and Wheat Berry Salad by Being Nutritious
Spaghetti Stuffed Bell Peppers by It’s A Veg World After All
Tamarind Soba Noodle Salad with Summer Vegetables by Yup...It's Vegan
Stone fruits (Peaches, Nectarines, Cherries):
Stone fruits have a pit that's enclosed by flesh or pulp. Fruits in this category include peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, and cherries.
When you're shopping for summer stone fruits, look for pieces that feel heavy for their size. They should smell fragrant, too.
Try pitting stone fruits and blending them into sauces, use the juice for a fruity drink, or grill them to make an easy summertime dessert. Stone fruits pair well with berries, chocolate, cinnamon, fresh mint, oats, and vanilla.
Stone Fruit recipes to try:
Baby Kale and Cherry Salad by Rachael Hartley Nutrition (pictured)
Ginger Peach Kombucha Moscow Mule by Grateful Grazer
Peach Hatch Chile Sauce by Grateful Grazer
Banana Peach Steel Cut Baked Oatmeal by Bucket List Tummy
Honey and Cinnamon Roasted Peaches by Champagne and Paper Planes
Summer Farewell Peach Pizza by Ann at Plant Crush
Grilled Tofu Taco Salad with Peach Mango Salsa by Grateful Grazer
Grilled Stone Fruits with Honey Lemon Yogurt Sauce by Jessica Levinson
Black Forest Overnight Oats by Melanie at A Virtual Vegan
I try to eat as many juicy summer tomatoes as possible during their seasonal peak in August and September. There's nothing else like it.
Fresh tomato slices boost any homemade sandwich, they're delicious in grain bowls and they're also the ideal mix-in for green salads. Try fresh tomatoes with basil, beans, bell peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini.
How do you store fresh tomatoes?
Store tomatoes at room temperature on the countertop (not in the fridge!) so they maintain their crave-worthy juiciness.
Tomato recipes to try:
Tempeh Burrito Bowls by Grateful Grazer (pictured)
Corn, Peach, and Tomato Basil Salad by Lively Table
Roasted Tomato Avocado Toasts by Grateful Grazer
Watermelon is a classic summertime snack since it's refreshingly cooling and hydrating on warm days.
Want to try something different with your next watermelon?
Blend melon cubes into smoothies, toss with feta and serve over leafy greens, or skewer them for an easy party appetizer.
Try pairing watermelon with lime, mint, raspberries, or balsamic vinegar.
How do you select the freshest watermelon?
Give it a thump. A ripe watermelon will make a deep, hollow sound.
Watermelon recipes to try:
Summer Panzanella Salad by Jamie at Dishing Out Health (pictured)
Watermelon Chia Fresca by Grateful Grazer
Cucumber Watermelon Smoothie by Snacking in Sneakers
Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Skewers by Jessica Levinson
Vietnamese Watermelon Salad by Yup...It's Vegan
Zucchini is also known as summer squash and it's usually pretty ubiquitous in summer gardens. It's one of the most versatile of summer vegetables. You can eat zucchini raw or cooked, and it's also often incorporated into baked goods.
Try squash "noodles" made out of spiralized zucchini, grate and mix into your waffle batter, or mix with cheese and form into patties.
For a healthy and flavorful summer meal, pair zucchini with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients, including garlic, lemon, olive oil, and pine nuts.
Zucchini recipes to try:
Fresh Zucchini Panzanella Salad with Asian Dressing by Emily Kyle Nutrition (pictured)
Zucchini Bread Waffles by Grateful Grazer
Cheesy Zucchini Bites by How to Eat
Zucchini Tuna Cakes by Stephanie Lee Nutrition
Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pesto by Danielle Omar
Want more? Download my Seasonal Produce Guide ebook here.
Find plant-forward recipes and cooking tips for every time of year in this free Seasonal Produce Guide ebook.
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