O summer... Celebrate with us the sweet joys of fruits and the luscious crunch of vegetables.
For anyone who enjoys food and cooking, summer offers the finest ingredients—fresh local produce from the garden, farmers' market, and grocery—to make any dish superlative. The key is to keep things simple and let the quality of seasonal ingredients shine through. It's so easy, enjoyable, and affordable to indulge your cravings for fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year.
The state fruit of Georgia, peaches are in season from May to late September. To select, look for fruit that is firm; with
a taut, unblemished skin; and no signs of bruising or wrinkles. If you smell peaches when you walk up to the stand, you know
they are ripe.
• Peach Mojitos
• Grilled Peaches Over Arugula with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto
• Grilled Sirloin Skewers with Peaches and Peppers
• Peach Chutney
• Peach Ice Cream
See More: Our Favorite Peach Recipes
You can find fresh watermelons between May and September, but they are at their peak from mid-June to late August. To select,
choose a firm, symmetrical, unblemished melon with a dull rind, without cracks or soft spots, that barely yields to pressure.
Some people swear by the “thump” test, but experts say that method is unreliable for determining ripeness. Rather, look for
a pale yellow patch, indicating where the watermelon sat on the ground while ripening on the vine.
• Watermelon Margaritas
• Summer Pea, Watermelon, and Farro Salad
• Watermelon-Jalapeno Ice Pops
• Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast with Watermelon-Jalapeño Salsa
• Flank Steak with Grilled Mango and Watermelon Chutney
See More: All About Melons
A plum’s skin is tart and a little rough, yet its flesh is sweet, soft, and juicy. When you cook plums, something magical
happens. The sweetness of the flesh, tartness of the skin, and spectrum of colors come together in harmony. To select, feel
for plums that yield slightly to the touch; but don’t squeeze them. Let the fruit sit in your palm. It should give a little.
If you buy firmer fruit, though, don’t put it in the refrigerator or the kitchen window—put it in a paper bag in a dark place
for a day or two. After the plum is picked, the sugar level remains the same, but the acidity falls, so it only seems sweeter.
• Pork Patties with Plum Sauce and Napa Cabbage Slaw
• Roast Pork Tenderloin with Plum Barbecue Sauce
• Plum Kuchen
• Open-Faced Prosciutto and Plum Sandwiches
• Basil Plum Granita
See More: 7 Recipes for Plums
There are more than 60 types of basil, all members of the mint family. Basil is available year-round in supermarkets, but
summer is the herb’s best season. To select, look for basil that isn’t wilted and doesn’t have dark spots. And if you’re growing
your own, be sure to harvest it on a sunny day, as the sun will bring out the essential oils that won’t be present otherwise.
• White Pizza with Tomato and Basil
• Coconut and Basil Steamed Mussels
• Purple Basil Lemonade
• Peach and Basil Shortcake
• Basil and Corn Farro Salad
See More: Use Your Basil Bounty
Keep figs stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator's produce drawers, where moisture levels are higher. Figs
require little work. Simply give them a good rinse, pat dry, trim the stems, and enjoy.
• Melon and Fig Salad with Prosciutto and Balsamic Drizzle
• Apricot-Fig Chutney
• Sheep’s-Milk Yogurt Cheesecakes with Grilled Figs and Pistachios
• Honey-Baked Black Mission Figs with Orange and Ginger
• Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Sandwiches
See More: Fantastic Fig Recipes
Heirloom is a term used to describe any tomato plant that’s openly pollinated (by wind and bees) and has been cultivated for
more than 50 years. Seeds from the best plants are saved at the end of the growing season for future use. They come in many
shapes and sizes—from the two-pound beefsteak to cherry tomatoes as tiny as currants. Because they ripen on the vine and are
not stored under refrigeration, heirlooms are more likely than hybrids to have succulent flesh. But they vary in texture,
running the gamut from firm, and barely seedy to soft and moist. Some seem at once juicy and firm.
• Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Stack
• Mr. Stripey Tomato, Arugula, and Pancetta Sandwiches
• Chunky Tomato-Fruit Gazpacho
• Grilled Chicken Thighs with Roasted Grape Tomatoes
• Fresh Pea Salad with Radishes, Tomatoes, and Mint
See More: Heirloom Tomato Roundup
A type of grass, corn is a New World food. May through September is peak season. To select, a fresh husk is the number one
thing to look for. Nice deep brown silk tips or ends mean it’s ripe, but the whole silk shouldn’t be dried up. Open the tip
of the husk to see if the kernels are all the way to the end of the ear; kernels should be plump and milky when pinched.
• Grilled Pork Tacos with Summer Corn and Nectarine Salsa
• Chilled Fresh Corn Soup with King Crab
• Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado
• Baked Tomatoes with Quinoa, Corn, and Green Chiles
• Shrimp and Corn Cakes with Heirloom Tomato Salsa
Watch: Season's Best: Fresh Summer Corn
Store eggplant on the countertop—not in the refrigerator. Choose a spot that's away from direct sunlight. Choose a container that allows
for circulation, like a vented bowl or perforated bag. Peeling a standard globe or Japanese eggplant is optional. Leave the
skin intact for contrast, or remove it for a paler look.
• Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Red Onion and Aioli
• Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce and Tomato Relish
• Cheesy Brown Rice Gratin with Zucchini and Eggplant
• Turkey Burgers with Roasted Eggplant
• Eggplant Crostini
Summer is the perfect time to savor just-harvested zucchini. It’s peak season is June through late August, but you may see
zucchini in markets in some regions year-round. With its slightly curved cylinder-like shape, this green summer squash is
perfect for blending with other ingredients or in simple preparations highlighting the taste of fresh herbs. Because zucchini
has a high water content, it doesn’t require much cooking; raw, it adds nice texture to a salad of greens or a crudités plate.
Like its yellow summer squash counterpart, zucchini is also a good source of vitamins A and C, and fiber.
• Persian Rice-Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachios and Dill
• Zucchini Angel Hair Pancake
• Grilled Zucchini with Sea Salt
• Stuffed Zucchini with Cheesy Breadcrumbs
• Zucchini Eggplant Lasagna
See More: Use Your Zucchini
Unlike winter squashes, such as butternut or acorn, summer squash has edible skin and seeds. The most common summer varieties are yellow squash (also called crookneck), pattypan squash, and
zucchini. Whether you’re gathering them from the backyard or from the supermarket produce bins, choose small, firm squashes
with bright-colored, blemish-free skins.
• Summer Squash, Bacon, and Mozzarella Quiche
• Grilled Summer Squash
• Summer Squash Croquettes
• Mixed Greens Salad
• Potato Salad with Herbs and Grilled Summer Squash
Of all the popular summer fruits, blueberries have an advantage, nutritionally speaking. They’ve earned the distinction of
one of the most potent source of antioxidants, which help counteract heart disease, cancers, and other types of illnesses.
Blueberries are also full of fiber and high in vitamin C. To pick the best of the crop, look for powder-blue berries that
are firm and uniform in size. Store them in a single layer, if possible, in a moisture-proof container for up to five days,
and don’t wash until you’re ready to use them.
• Blueberry Thrill
• Fresh Blueberry Sauce
• Gingered Blueberry Shortcake
• Blueberry-Orange Parfaits
• Late-Harvest Riesling Sorbet with Berries
See More: Blueberry Desserts