Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to Buy in Summer
Posted: Monday, August 1, 2011
We are somewhat spoiled by the wide range of fresh produce that is available to us all year round. However, buying seasonal fruits and vegetables gives us the best quality and flavor and really makes our favorite recipes shine. The following fruits and vegetables are local favorites that are in our Produce Departments right now waiting for you to enjoy. Sample all that our Minnesota summer has to offer!
- Heirloom Tomatoes – These are the old-time varieties that we used to see at road side stands and farmers’ markets. They offer the best of summer flavor and are pure pleasure. They have some unusual shapes and colors, but that is the beauty of them. Choose a mix of those varieties available for differences in texture and flavor. Never refrigerate these beauties as it will permanently damage the texture and flavor.
- Shell Beans – Choose full, leathery pods that are just starting to dry. Keep unshelled beans in a bowl on the counter for up to two days or refrigerate in a loose bag for one week. Shelled beans can be chilled for several days.
- Basil – The sun-drenched variety is far superior to the hothouse-grown variety. It offers a more intense flavor and aroma with spicy hints of licorice and mint. Choose fragrant bunches and store in a glass of water as you would flowers in a vase. Keep on the counter away from direct sun for up to a week.
- Summer Squash – Ruffles pattypans, crooknecks and zucchini turn creamy and sweet when roasted or grilled. Look for shiny skins and firm shapes of similar size for even cooking. The small or medium-sized squash are the most tender and flavorful. Store loose in the refrigerator vegetable drawer for up to one week.
- Melons – Cantaloupe and honeydew are two favorites that both pair well in salads with cucumbers. Choose those that are firm and heavy for their size with no sloshing sound when shaken. Keep on the counter until fully ripe; refrigerate uncut for up to one week. Serve cool or at room temperature.
- Peppers – Choose from yellow, red, orange or green and roast for salads, sandwiches or as an accompaniment to grilled steaks. Select peppers with the stems still attached and look for glossy, smooth skin and flesh that feels plump. Keep in a bowl on the counter for two days or loose in the refrigerator drawer for one to two weeks.
- Corn on the Cob – No summer barbecue is complete without fresh sweet corn. The yellow and white varieties are sweet and buttery tasting, just like the old-fashioned corn. Select plump ears with fresh-looking husks and dark-tipped tassels. Keep unhusked corn loose in the refrigerator and use within two days. Wrap pre-husked corn loosely in plastic; chill and use within two days.
- Blueberries – Loaded with antioxidants, choose firm, dusty-blue berries with no green or red patches. Refrigerate for a week or keep in a bowl on the counter for two to three days.
- Peaches – Many juicy varieties arrive throughout the summer. Look for warm overall color with some give and a peachy fragrance. Fully mature peaches will soften and flavor will continue to develop after harvesting. Keep on the counter in a single layer with breathing space until fully ripe. Refrigerate for up to one week; serve at room temperature or refrigerate first to delay ripening.
Try all of these beauties in our recipes that showcase the produce of the season:
Heavenly Berry Shortcake
Green Beans and Red Pepper Sauté
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Fresh Herb Butter
Grilled Stone Fruit
Grilled Veggies with Aioli