Make the most of produce in season with these Top 5 Dietitian Tips for Summer Fruit and Summer Vegetables, which include produce tips, summer vegetarian recipes, and summer vegetable recipes ideas.
Summer is here in all its glory! Aside from beach trips, vacation destinations, and outdoor grill days, summer marks the best time of the year to enjoy produce in season. After all, summer is when nature offers its prodigious bounty of fruits and vegetables in every size, shape, color, texture and flavor. It’s time to pack each and every meal with summer vegetarian recipes while the produce is at its very best. So, in honor of summer produce, I asked some of my favorite dietitian experts for their top tips on how to make the most of the season. Read on for their Top Dietitian Tips for Summer Fruit and Summer Vegetables.
1. Let Veggies Inspire You
Let the seasonal vegetables help inspire your meal planning. “Most of us plan meals by choosing the animal protein that will headline the meal. Instead, challenge yourself to plan a meal around a vegetable that inspires you. A picture on social media, trip to the farmer’s market, peak in your CSA box or a few moments in the produce aisle at your grocery store are all great places to start. You can even survey your family to find out their favorite vegetable, or choose a vegetable that’s new and interesting to you,” says Katie Cavuto, RDN.
2. Use it All!
With so much summer produce in your kitchen, you’ll have a lot of kitchen scraps that can be turned into gold. “Don’t waste the less sweet part of melons close to the rind because your family won’t eat them/turn up their noses. Cut the parts close to the rind and use in juices or smoothies. They can even be frozen and used later. Freeze/save your ‘might get overripe before we get around to eating it’ fruits and veggies as well. Freeze on cookie sheet, then put in freezer bag or container. Shake out as addition to juice, smoothies, muffin, pancake, cereal or even soup,” says Jan Patenaude, RD, CLT.
3. Take Full Advantage of More Produce Choices
Go crazy with summer produce! Increase your diversity of options, moving beyond the basic tomatoes and corn. Find intriguing ways to use up all that produce in clever recipe ideas, too. “Summer is the best time for beautiful produce! I love adding seasonal fruits to salads, breakfast foods and desserts, and even salsa—mango and watermelon anyone? Any leftover vegetables I’m not grilling or mixing in whole grain dishes I toss into omelets and even gazpacho!” says Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RDN.
4. Save Some for Later
With so much summer bounty, why not save some for later in the year? You can freeze, can, make jams, and pickles with summer fruits and vegetables. “Preserve it so you can have fresh produce all year round! It’s really easy to freeze or can summer fruits, and many people don’t know that a lot of their veggies—even greens—can be frozen. You simply need to blanch them first so they keep their quality in the freezer. Try looking for sales on seasonal produce at the grocery store, buying in bulk from a farm, or doing ‘you-pick’ to get the best prices and have enough to freeze or preserve,” says Kate Lee, MPH, RDN.
5. Don’t Be Afraid of Fermentation
Try fermenting or pickling some of your summer produce. It works for a wide variety of vegetables and even fruits. “I love capturing summer’s bounty through picking and fermentation! I love doing quick pickles of onions, radishes, okra, kohlrabi and even fruit like watermelon rinds! I keep the jars in my fridge and add pickled veggies to salads,” says Christianna Gozzi, M.A, culinary instructor, and nutrition graduate student.
For more summer inspiration, check out some of my favorite summer recipes featuring seasonal produce:
Roasted Corn and Potato Succotash Salad
Green Bean Chickpea Salad with Za’atar
Vegan Cantaloupe Basil Flatbread Pizza
Vegan Poke Bowl with Tofu, Watermelon, and Quinoa
Zucchini Oat Veggie Patties
Apricot Almond Shortbread Bars