There’s so much to love about summer, from sunbathes to beach days to camping to cookouts. I love walking through tables laden with fresh picked berries, heirloom tomatoes, and green vegetables galore at my community farmer’s market during the summer months.
One of the best things about summer is that you can get out and enjoy the fresh air, even if you live in a city. Whether it’s your backyard or a patio planter box, grab some dirt, some seeds and even one tomato plant to try your hand at gardening. There’s nothing like eating food you grew yourself. You’ll feel like a cooking show star when you finish off your spaghetti squash chicken parmesan by sprinkling fresh herbs from above the dish.
Summer months are a great time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, so take advantage of them while you can.
Here are 8 of our favorite summer fruits and vegetables
Depending on where you live, you might be able to harvest asparagus anywhere from late winter to early summer. While green asparagus is most common, you can also try purple or white asparagus. Grilled, sautéed, or roasted asparagus are all tasty, but do not overcook it. Limp, slimy asparagus isn’t appealing. To make salads more interesting, use a vegetable peeler to shred raw asparagus.
The best way to store asparagus is to trim the ends off the spears, then stand them upright in a jar of water in the fridge. Asparagus only keeps for a few days, so use it as soon as possible.
Asparagus can be frozen or pressure canned, but both can change its texture significantly (and not always for the better).
Before freezing asparagus, trim off the woody ends. Slice each spear into two or three pieces. Blanch for two to four minutes for thin spears or four minutes for thick spears. Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to an airtight container.
Asparagus Dip is a delicious recipe to try
Since berries have a high nutritional value and a low carbohydrate content compared to a lot of other fruits, even low-carb and keto individuals make allowances for them during the summer months. There are all kinds of berries at your summer farmer’s market, including blueberries, strawberries, and brambles, which include raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries, huckleberries, and marionberries, among others.
How should you wash your berries? This is a question that’s been debated for years, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer. Some people feel that it’s better to refrain from washing the until you’re ready to eat them, but others claim it may prolong shelf life by about a week if done correctly. A 3:1 water and white vinegar mix will kill most mold spores, but raspberries should be washed just before eating. Either way, the berries should be stored in the fridge in a container lined with paper towel to absorb moisture.
The best way to preserve berries is to freeze them. You can also pressure can them as preserves or jelly, but be sure to choose recipes that do not contain excessive sugar.
Here are some keto recipes you might like: Keto Cheesecake Parfait, Keto Blueberry Muffins
The cucumber has a long and storied history as one of the first domesticated plants. What type do you like best? A cucumber’s taste probably depends on whether you grew up eating thick-skinned slicing cucumbers, English cucumbers with thinner skins and fewer seeds, Persian cucumbers, or something else altogether. You can choose from almost 100 varieties.
Cucumbers are best stored in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Pickles are a great way to preserve cucumbers!
Here’s a recipe you’ll love: Greek Salad with Spiralized Cucumber
As a dietary staple around the world, eggplants are actually berries due to the fact that they grow from a single flower.
You can keep eggplants in the refrigerator for a few days after harvesting, but they’ll start to wither after that.
It’s best to eat eggplant fresh rather than freezing or pickling it.
Here’s a recipe you might like: Roasted Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb
Snap beans, also known as green beans
In spite of the fact that green beans are legumes, I have good news for you. Green beans are Primal-friendly as long as you don’t have any issues eating them. Many people who avoid dried beans can enjoy fresh green beans without issue, since they do not have the same phytate concerns as dried beans.
Store green beans in a storage bag in the crisper drawer. Use within three days.
Try freezing or canning green beans, or pickling them.
Here’s a recipe to try: Air Fryer Green Beans
Various herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, etc.)
In addition to making food taste good, herbs also offer a variety of health benefits, from antioxidants to digestion relief. Whether you’re a beginner gardener or have a small kitchen garden, herbs thrive in the summer. They can be grown indoors or outdoors, in containers or large garden beds.
How to store herbs: When possible, wait to cut fresh herbs until you’re ready to use them. If you’ve bought from the market, simply pull off any dead leaves, trim the bottom of the stems and place them in jars of water like you were making flower bouquets. Lastly, keep tender-stemmed herbs like parsley and cilantro at room temperature in the fridge if needed. Woody herbs such as rosemary, oregano and thyme can be left out on a countertop, while basil should also be kept at room temperature. Refresh the water as needed and most herbs will keep for 2 or 3 weeks with this technique.
Preserve your herbs with these two methods: drying, using a dehydrator or letting them dry in the sun, or freeze them by blending in oil, then putting them in ice cube trays. Or try compound butter which can be frozen and wrapped in freezer paper.
Fresh herbs can also be used to infuse oil, salt, or spirits like vodka or gin.
The following recipes are worth trying: Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri, Salmon with Pistachio Pesto
The best way to enjoy summer tomatoes is to eat them fresh from the garden! (For the record, tomatoes are fruits.)
If your tomatoes are not quite ripe when you get them home from the farmer’s market, place them in a loosely closed paper bag on the counter to encourage them to ripen. There’s considerable debate over whether to store ripe tomatoes on a counter or in a crisper. You should only refrigerate them if you need them to stay fresh for more than a few days, as some say the crisper saps their flavor.
Preserve tomatoes by canning whole tomatoes, chopping them, or using them in salsa or sauce recipes. Salsa or sauce freezes well. Dry the tomatoes and store them in oil.
Here are some recipes to try: Garlic Balsamic Chicken Skillet with Cherry Tomatoes, Caprese Salad
Summer squash (including zucchini)
Like eggplants, zucchini is botanically classified as berries (as are cucumbers and pumpkins!) Zucchinis are prolific, so you’ll see your neighbor pawning off excess zucchini in late summer. They’re also incredibly versatile as an ingredient in everything from salads to desserts, so take any and all offers of free zucchini!
Store zucchini in the crisper and use within a few days.
You can freeze zucchini, but the best way to preserve it is to make zucchini chips or freeze zucchini muffins or bread.
These recipes will help you lose weight: Keto Zucchini Brownies, Zucchini Fries
Hopefully you’re enjoying a bounty of summer vegetables right now. What’s growing in your garden?