Summertime is extra special for food lovers. It's the season of bountiful and bright produce, crowded farmers' markets, and backyard gardening. Since it's the tail end of the warmer months, it is time to savor all of summer's best fruits and vegetables while they're still around. 

Vine (or tree) ripe fruits and vegetables are ready for the picking. With just a few more weeks of warm weather around, now is the time to truly savor the summer's bounty. Whether cooked sweet or savory (or not cooked at all) these recipes highlight the season's best.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


Whether bright red, orange, pink, or purple, tomatoes are the star of summer farmers' markets. Big, juicy heirloom varieties, sauce-ready romas, and bite-size cherry tomatoes all stand out during the warm months. Use them in multicolored salads, fresh pasta sauce, or veggie-laden pizza.

Credit: Photo: Greg Dupree


Watermelon is a staple of summer cookouts and parties. Sliced or diced makes fresh melon a great snack, but when thrown into recipes, it truly shines. It can be enjoyed sweet in margaritas, pops, and granitas, or take a savory route with melon salad, salsa, and pizza.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House


Less likely to be found year-round in the grocery store than other berries, blackberries are a summer fruit to relish. Typically featured in cobblers, blackberries can be implemented with a variety of delicious recipes. Try swirling them into ice cream, muddling for a mojito, pickling as a salad garnish, or mix into muffins.

Credit: Photo: Iain Bagwell


With loyal clubs of those who love it and those who love-to-hate it, okra is a southern favorite. But for some, the slightly notorious texture can be off putting. Embrace its traditional uses as a thickener for Creole dishes and a hearty pantry pickle, or cook it in ways that reduce the moisture like charring, grilling, or oven-frying.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


Sweet peaches are hard to beat when it comes to choosing our favorite summer fruit. While eating one whole with its juicy dribble is a nostalgic event for many, cooking peaches also open them to a world of new flavor. Some of our favorite ways to use them are mixed ice cream (especially if there's some caramel thrown in there too), layered in savory salads, or added to drinks like cocktails or lemonade.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


You hardly ever hear "It's plum season!" in the summer, but that doesn't mean that these oft-overlooked purple beauties are worth ignoring. Diverse in flavor and texture, they make wonderful additions to many dishes, like granitas, breakfast parfaits, or sandwiches.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


June through August, almost any supermarket in the country will have a corner of their produce section overflowing with cheap sweet corn-on-the-cob. In its simplest form, with a pat of butter and sprinkle of salt, fresh corn is an amazing side. But when it's transformed through recipes that involve turning it into relish, using it to make thick creamy soup, or grilling the whole cob, then you're in for a real treat.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani


Usually only used as a main dish for eggplant parmesan, this violet-colored veggie has so much more to offer. With a meaty texture (that doesn't always require salting), eggplant can make a meal satisfying without adding a lot of calories. It's delicious when cooked Israeli-style (over an open flame), blended into creamy baba ghanoush, tucked into a sandwich, or stuffed with falafel.