Summer Recipes: Fresh, Easy and Healthy

Summer is upon us, veggies and other local goodies are available in abundance, and you need something to do. Make the most of the season with these summer recipes.
By Tabitha Alterman
August/September 2010
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You won't need a grill for most of our summer recipes, but what summer would be complete without the rich, concentrated flavors provided by a grill?

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Yum Yum Yum! It’s sum-yummer again, and locavores everywhere are happy as pigs in you-know-what. Whether you’re blessed with weekly deliveries direct from the farm or you source fresh food from farmers markets and (oh, you’re so lucky!) your own backyard, there should be no shortage of wonderful ingredients for supernutritious, home-cooked meals this summer. We've put together a handful of summer recipes below to get you started.

Plus, the time is ripe for picking many kinds of mushrooms and plenty of other wonderful forageables. And thank goodness for the weather, because absolutely everything tastes better eaten outside.

What’s in Season?

The following foods should be in season and available in most parts of the country during the summer months.

Herbs: basil, borage, chives, cilantro, dill, garlic, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, summer savory, thyme

Salad Greens: arugula, beet greens, lettuce, mizuna, radish greens, sorrel, spinach, tatsoi

Cooking Greens: bok choy, chrysanthemum greens, collard greens, kale, mustard, turnip greens, Swiss chard

Garden Veggies: artichokes, avocados, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, kohlrabi, leeks, okra, onions, peas (field, snow and snap), peppers, potatoes, radishes, tomatillos, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini

Sea Veggies: dulse, Irish moss, various kelps, nori (laver), sea palm, wrack

Fruits: apricots, berries (blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries), cherries, figs, grapes, lemons, melons, nectarines, oranges, peaches, plums

Ephemeral Garden Treats: edible flowers (the blossoms of arugula, basil, calendula, chives, cilantro, lavender, marjoram, nasturtium, oregano, roses, rosemary, sage, thyme and violets), squash blossoms

Wild Edibles: beach peas, burdock, cat brier, lamb’s quarters, purslane, red clover, wild berries, yellow dock

Animal Products: Eggs and milk from animals eating summer’s bright green grasses are highly nutritious. Summer is prime chicken season, and lamb is most tender in early summer.

Fish: bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, trout, walleye

Nuts & Seeds: almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts

Mushrooms: bearded tooth, bolete, cauliflower, chanterelle, coral fungi, fairy ring, maitake, lobster, matsutake, mousseron, oyster, porcini, puffball, shaggy mane, shiitake, sulfur shelf, wood blewit (Note: Before you go out harvesting mushrooms, get a good field guide and be sure you know what you’re doing. Learn to identify various mushroom species with absolute certainty, so that you won’t pick anything poisonous!)

Check out the summer recipes:

Easy Grilled Vegetables 

Easy Homemade Pickles

Quinoa-Zucchini Cakes With Savory Herbs 

Spicy Bloody Mary With Flame-Grilled Tomatoes

Vanilla Bean and Green Tea Ice Cream

Senior Associate Editor Tabitha Alterman had way too much fun testing ice cream makers and Bloody Marys for this article.

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