With summer already winding down (Say it isn’t so!), there’s a bounty of produce bursting from the garden in August. Here’s what you want to make sure your eating this month while foods are at their peak.
Beets. These big red beauties are already starting to get ripe. Drizzle them with oil and roast them in the oven for a hour. Sprinkle with goat cheese and arugula and enjoy! Don’t like to get your hands dyed pink? Try the golden beets which have a more delicate flavor.
Blueberries. The season for blueberries is sadly coming to a close. This food is not only antioxidant rich, but has been an important crop to Native Americans and Settlers. Native Americas would use the leaves of blueberries in medicines. And Settlers would use blueberries as a base color for paint. While great in several desserts, blueberries are also fine as a snack on their own. And unlike some other berries like raspberry and blueberries, they are more resistant to mold because of their less porous skins.
Corn. When I was a kid growing up in New England, we would inevitably pass a roadside farm stand on the weekend. And we would always stop so we could get fresh corn. Picked from the fields probably that morning, there was nothing so sweet and delicious as the corn in August. Maybe it was because you knew that this was the last of it for the season. Anyway, get it while you can.
Cucumbers. Although they’re often featured alongside other veggies, cucumbers are really a fruit. And with their high water content, it makes them the perfect food to eat in summer. Almost grassy in flavor, cucumbers can be pureed into a refreshing soup or pickled for a cool accompaniment. One of my favorite recipes? Bread and butter pickles.
Eggplant. My mother’s garden used to overflow with eggplant at this time of year. Whether she sautéed it or made a less-health eggplant parmesan, this vegetable was a frequent visitor to the dinner table in August.
Figs. Sugary, yet earthy, these delectable fruits are in season again. If you’re looking to pick them up, make sure the fruit feels heavy. A small dot of sap at the top or bottom of the fruit is also a good indication of ripeness. Figs make great preserves and sauces. I don’t know if I’d be able to eat some cheeses without them as an accompaniment.
Melons. When the temperatures are hot, nothing is more refreshing than a cool melon. Think cantaloupe. Honeydew. Watermelon. While often thought of as a sweet treat, melons pair well with as salty foods, as well. Think of a nice piece of melon wrapped in a piece of prosciutto. Or try pairing a tangy cheese like feta along with watermelon for a different summer salad.
Tomatoes. I like to make my own pasta sauce. My own gazpacho. And salsa. So it should go without saying that I can’t wait for August when I have dead-ripe tomatoes falling off the vine begging to be eaten. There’s just no store bought variety that can compare to what’s coming off the vine at this time of year.