July Produce Guide: Savoring Summer’s Bounty

Warm summer months mark the arrival of fresh and vibrant produce from nature. Brimming from the farm to the farmer’s market, discover an edible rainbow of fruits and vegetables that will nourish, inspire, and delight every palate. Here’s our curated list of the Top Ten July fruits and vegetables at their peak, guaranteed to add color and flavor to your weeknight meals and epicurean adventures all summer long.

Ultra-hydrating and naturally sweet, thick slices of juicy watermelon evoke happy memories of summer picnics past. Look for heavy melons with a ‘yellow belly’ (which means they’re ripe), and tap them. If you hear a hollow sound, that means they are full of juice and ready to eat!

Clearly the season’s finest fresh fruit, strawberries are often showcased in cakes and pies; salads and smoothies, but are indulgently delicious as a solo snack as well. Look for bright red, plump berries with the ‘hull’ intact, which helps retain their moisture (and are also totally edible).

Blueberries are a bite-sized, mighty superfood that brings a burst of juicy flavor in everything from scones to sorbets to sauces. Freeze them for a fast heat-relief snack or to use as mini chillers for iced tea or cocktails.

If we could have a summer foodie fling, it would be with peaches! With their juicy flesh, sweet aroma, slightly floral flavor, and endless versatility, halved peaches can be grilled for dessert, sliced for cobblers, or preserved as jams and jellies to enjoy all year long. PRO TIP: Peaches are one of the easiest fruits to freeze, so capture their summer goodness and get an extra pound or two if you can – you can even freeze whole peach pies for a taste of summer in the colder months.

Luscious cherries can be found in more-sweet or more-tart varieties and from pale yellow to deep purple. Either way, you can bake up these jewel-toned orbs into a mile high cherry pie, a quick cherry crisp, or swirl them into an All-American homemade ice cream worthy of any Fourth of July celebration!

Nothing beats the taste of a fresh bright red summer tomato! The king (queen?) of summer cuisine, tomatoes are delicious on their own sliced and topped with just a sprinkle of sea salt, stacked in a Caprese salad, or roasted and drizzled with balsamic vinegar as a side to grilled meats and salmon. Avoid purchasing blemished tomatoes since their very thin skins are more prone to harbor bacteria.

Fresh golden yellow sweet corn-on-the-cob is a beloved summer vegetable with a clean, sweet flavor that goes with anything. Grilled, roasted, boiled, pressure-cooked, steamed, or even churned into ice cream, this mild flavored veggie makes it easy to switch up the seasonings to match the menu all summer long and well into the Fall. Keep fresh corn in its husk until ready to use.

Zucchini squash is oft-mocked for its over-abundance in summer, but only because it has so much to offer (and one plant can feed the whole street)! Grill it, bake it, saute it, fry it, or spiralize it and enjoy its versatile applications. Look for large, heavy, deep green squashes with no soft spots or cuts. PRO TIP: Picky eaters won’t even notice healthy shredded zucchini in muffins, quick breads, cakes, casseroles, and pasta dishes!

Bell Peppers
Bell peppers add a colorfully sweet crunch to all your summer recipes. Stuffed peppers make a delicious dinner. Cut them into chunks as a low-carb scoops for dips or grill them until they are tender-crisp and lightly charred to serve alongside beef, chicken, pork, or salmon. Just remember, green bells are not as sweet as yellow and orange, with red bell peppers being the sweetest.

Don’t underestimate the cool, crisp, and refreshing properties of cucumbers. Slice them up to use in dips, salads, and sandwiches, or make a chilled cucumber soup to chase away those hot summer heat waves! And cucumber to a pitcher of water with or without slices of lemon and lime and you have a sure (and tasty) way to stay hydrated this season.

Finally, though neither fruit nor veggie, we can’t deny how much fresh herbs can take your summer produce recipes to the next level and beyond. Even if you don’t have your own herb garden in the backyard, there’s a sunny windowsill somewhere waiting for a simple pot of basil, rosemary, parsley, or mint to add pops of fresh, bright, and savory flavor to your recipes.