Summer

Seasonality

Summer is the season for raw, cooling foods, refreshing salads, salsa and slaw. It’s also the grilling and barbecue season, where cooking is taken outside of the kitchen and served to a crowd.

Summer

Seasonality

Summer is the season for raw, cooling foods, refreshing salads, salsa and slaw. It’s also the grilling and barbecue season, where cooking is taken outside of the kitchen and served to a crowd.

It's summertime - break out the pitcher of iced tea (we’ll take ours sweet) and relax on the front porch. Entering your farmer’s markets at this time of year, you’ll be dazzled by the canary yellow of summer squash, the crimson of sweet peppers, and lush green of snap beans. It’s no mistake either; many plants grow more colorful, sweet and even more nutritious at their summer peak.

Nightshades

The Nightshade family is a diverse and economically important group of plants. Not only are they geographically expansive, nightshade plants grow on every continent except Antartica, but they are also useful as both food and cash crops. From a culinary perspective, nightshade plants are often harvested for their roots (potatoes) or fruit (tomato) and range from mild and sweet to intense and spicy. Peppers, potatoes (excluding sweet potatoes) and eggplant are all delicious examples of plants from the nightshade family.

EGGPLANT Also called “aubergines”, these egg-shaped fruits have a glossy, purple skin and thick, almost spongy flesh that welcomes rich, savory flavors when cooked. They are best enjoyed baked, grilled or fried. HOT PEPPERS The heat sensation in hot peppers (a category of peppers comprised of several varieties) is caused by the compound capsaicin, which gives the peppers their pungency and spiciness. Generally, the larger the size of the pepper the milder the heat level. Common varieties of hot peppers include jalapeño, serrano, habanero, and bird's eye. SWEET PEPPERS The term "sweet pepper" actually covers a variety of peppers in the nightshade family that have a mild, sweet flavor and crisp, juicy flesh. The best known sweet peppers are bell peppers, which are often used in their green, yellow, red, and orange varieties. Other sweet peppers include pimientos, banana peppers, and cubanelles. TOMATO Juicy, plump and slightly sweet, tomatoes can come in all sizes and colors, especially their heirloom varieties. Eat them however you’d like, but our favorite way is slices on toast, with a healthy slather of Duke’s mayo.

Cucurbits

This is a family of refreshing and fun fruits like cucumber, zucchini, and watermelon. Members of this family were among the earliest cultivated plants by humans and grow well around the tropics and in temperate climates. These plants tend to grow low to the ground or along any surface their vines can cling to. The Cucurbitaceae family has one of the highest percentages of species used for food among all plant families.

CUCUMBER Refreshing, light and invigorating, cucumbers are for more than just spa days. Serve them sliced and with a pinch of salt, in salad or as part of a crudite platter. SUMMER SQUASH Zucchini and yellow summer squash are different from their winter counterparts in that they can be eaten raw and don’t need to be peeled. Sauté them with onion and butter for a satisfying summer side dish.

Fruits

Botanically, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure of flowering plants used by plants to disseminate seeds. This includes structures not commonly thought of as fruit, such as beans, tomatoes, and corn. However in common usage, "fruit" refers to the fleshy seed-bearing plant structures that are edible in their raw state and usually have a sweet or sour taste, such as apples, lemons, and strawberries.

BLUEBERRIES Ever noticed how blueberries are actually purple? Anthocyanins, which are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits, are responsible for blueberries rich color. CANTALOUPE Cantaloupe is type of melon with a hard outer rind and a sweet, fleshy, orange interior. Canteloupe is delicious as a summer snack all on its own - or wrap it in prociscutto to create a quick & healthy party appetizer. PEACHES Our namesake, and the state fruit of Georgia. The peach can be enjoyed on its own just fine, but it’s favorite for cobbler around these parts. WATERMELON It would be hard to find a fruit or vegetable more iconic than watermelon to represent summertime. Much of what makes watermelon the perfect summer fruit, aside from its sweet flavor, is its high water content, which makes it an especially refreshing treat on hot summer days.

Legumes

Beans, peas, and even peanuts fall under the legume category. Legumes offer plenty of plant-based protein and fiber as well as other essential nutrients like iron, calcium, and B vitamins. They’re also relatively inexpensive and easily stored, so remember to buy in bulk in the summer so you’ll have plenty to enjoy over winter.

SNAP BEANS Also called green beans and string beans, this family of legumes is harvested before maturity. The entire pod is eaten while the seeds inside are still tiny and soft, giving them a satisfying crunch. FAVA BEANS Also known as broad beans, these legumes are an important part of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. A time-consuming shelling process yields great, flavorful rewards. FIELD PEAS There are many varieties of this legume, which can be considered a staple in the South. We like to simmer them with smoky ham hocks, and serve them alongside cornbread, greens and potlikker (especially at New Years!)

Herbs

While they can be grown indoors, most herbs flourish outside in the summertime. Some herbs are more finicky than others, like Cilantro, which has a tendency to bolt (redirect its energy into producing flowers & seeds - abandoning leaf growth) when the temperature gets too high. However, you can simply replant as needed - herbs are inexpensive and grow quickly. Having fresh herbs on hand lends more complex flavor than those dried herbs in your pantry.

BASIL This “King of Herbs” is commonly used in Mediterranean and Eastern cuisine for its bold, sweet, slightly anise-like flavor. Basil is the main component of traditional pesto. DILL You’re probably most familiar with dill through your classic jar of pickles. Having a bold flavor that’s a bit of a combination of both celery and anise, dill is also delicious when used with soups, seafood, potatoes and yogurt. MINT Mint is an aromatic green herb with a cool, piney flavor that's versatile to both sweet and savory recipes. Crushed mint makes the perfect summertime addition to some of our favorite summer cocktails, including Mint Juleps and Mojitos.

Other

Summer is a magical time where it seems like just about everything is in season, which makes it the perfect time to get inventive in the kitchen. Fire up the grill to save your kitchen from the heat of the oven or try making some no-heat needed summer favorites like gazpacho and fresh salsa.

CORN Corn is a sweet and versatile grain that was first cultivated over 10,000 years ago in Mexico, where it’s more often referred to as maize. The corn plant is a type of grass, related to wheat, rice, barley and sorghum, among others, and it’s a staple food in many regions around the world. The kernels can be eaten on or off the cob, in soups, salads or on their own. OKRA Okra is in the mallow family, and is related to cotton and durian fruit. Okra's “slimy” properties are a turn-off to some picky eaters, but that quality makes okra an excellent thickener for soups, stews, and even risotto. We also enjoyed them lightly dredged and fried or roasted in the oven as “okra fries”.

Seasonality Map

Seasonality

Map

Summer

Summer is the season for raw, cooling foods, refreshing salads, salsas and slaw.

Fall

Crisp produce abounds in the Fall with colors and flavors as vibrant as the changing leaves.

Winter

Winter is known for preserves, but in the South there is plenty of fresh Winter produce.

Spring

Spring brings us young, tender produce emerging from the winter soil with light, fresh flavors.

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