My sleeping children are still flying dreams
in their goose-down heads.
The lush of the river singing morning songs
Fish watch their ceilings turn sun-white.
The grey-green pike lances upstream
Kale, like mermaid’s hair
points the water’s drift.
All is morning hush
and bird beautiful…..
by Spike Milligan
Summer is here. The sun is golden in the sky; colorful produce is spilling over tables at the farmer’s market. My summer garden is bursting with life with leaves, vines and blossoms.
Meals of Asparagus Mushroom Risotto or Lentil Stew are being replaced with more summer appropriate fare. My Sunshine Potato Salad has been the perfect picnic companion, cheerful, bright Basil Aioli adorns almost everything, and this refreshing Watermelon Lemondade helps beat the heat.
More summer recipes highlighting nature’s harvest will pop up on The Sprouting Seed in the coming weeks, but first, here is a guide to some delicious fruits and vegetables offered in the summer months.
Tips: If you press the outside with your finger, the avocado should give a little with gentle pressure, but not get completely squished.
Storage: Keep in a brown paper bag on the counter.
Recipe: Avocado Chutney
Tips: Peppers should be shiny and without blemishes. Good ones feel heavy for their size.
Storage: Keep in the crisper in the fridge.
Recipe: Fried Sweet Peppers with Balsamic Vinegar
Tips: Fluffy greens attached to the carrots are a good indicator of freshness.
Storage: Cut off their tops, wrap them in a damp towel and store in a closed container. Keep in the fridge. Use smaller carrots first. Big ones last a bit longer.
Recipe: Simple Roasted Carrots
Tips: Ripe cherries are smooth, shiny and plump. Cherries will not continue to ripen once picked, so make sure the ones you buy are already ripe!
Storage: Store in the fridge and eat as quickly as possible.
Recipe: Cherry Amaretto Ice Cream (dairy free), Roasted Cherry and Pistachio Chocolate Ice Cream
Tips: Husks should be green and the kernels should be plump.
Storage: Eat freshly picked if possible or store with the husk still intact.
Recipe: Sauteed Corn With Fresh Herbs
Tips: Don’t buy squishy ones! Make sure they are firm, green and unblemished upon purchase.
Storage: Keep in the fridge, wrapped in a damp towel.
Recipe: Israeli Tomato Cucumber Salad
Tips: Figs should be bright, soft, but not too soft, and fragrant. A sweet sap will ooze through the blossom end of the fig when it is ready to be eaten.
Storage: Since figs are so delicate, take extra care in handling and storing them. They don’t last long so eat as quickly as possible.
Recipe: Honey Roasted Figs with Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Fig Canapes
Tips: They should be heavy. The skin should dent, but then bounce back when pressed.
Storage: Can be left on counter for a few days or stored in the crisper in the fridge.
Recipe: Grilled Eggplant and Cilantro Dip
Tips: Choose firm, not limp beans.
Storage: In the fridge, keep in a paper bag or open container with a moist towel draped over the top.
Recipe: Green Beans with Bacon and Carmelized Shallots
Melons and Watermelons
Tips: Choose melons that feel heavy for their size and don’t have cracks or soft spots. Tap the melon-a hollow sound is good. Palpate the area that was attached to the vine–if it’s slightly soft and fragrant, that’s also good.
Storage: If the melon needs to ripen, leave it out on the counter. Refrigeration for a prolonged period of time will cause soft spots and pitting.
Recipes: Watermelon Lemonade, Watermelon, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad, Proscitto Wrapped Melon
Tips: If you forage for mushroom, you can find a mushroom expert (a mycologist) to help you make sure your stash is safe.
Storage: Keep in a paper bag in the crisper or in the mushroom’s original packaging in the fridge.
Recipe: Fennel Mushrooms with Arugula
Tips: Choose nectarines without wrinkles. Wrinkles mean the fruit will be mealy or damaged. Firm, taut skin is ideal.
Storage: Keep fruit on the counter (refrigeration causes loss of flavor and juiciness) and eat soon after purchase.
Recipe: Nectarine Chips
Tips: Okra should be firm and green, not brown and squishy.
Storage: Keep wrapped in a dry towel in a closed container.
Recipe: Bhindi Masala
Tips: Skins are delicate and imperfections make them spoil more quickly so make sure they aren’t nicked or blemished.
Storage: Use quickly. Keep in a cool place on a counter.
Recipe: Zucchini Fritters
Sugar Snap Peas
Tips: They should…snap…and have a crunch to them.
Storage: Keep in the fridge in an open container.
Recipe: Sugar Snap Peas in Lemon Butter Sauce
Tips: Choose ones heavy-for-size, unblemished and firm.
Storage: Do not store in the fridge. They will lose flavor. Keep on the counter. To ripen, keep on a window sill.
Recipe: Tomato Spinach Frittata