It’s the middle of summer already? How did that happen? It seems like just yesterday you were dreaming of watermelon and beachside family memories while shivering in the cold, right? Now there are peas! Peaches! Blueberries! Zucchini! Too many veggies, too little time.
Summer produce has a much shorter shelf life than its winter equivalent. In an ideal world, we’d all live on farms, grow our own produce and simply pick whatever we planned to eat on a given day.
But for us city dwellers or suburban inhabitants, it’s to the market we go! In this summer heat, beauty is fleeting. Those perfectly posh peaches you picked yesterday will be wrinkled on your countertop by tomorrow. That gorgeous bouquet of bright green basil? Wilted and brown before you can say, “Whip me up a batch of pesto.” Who wants to spend hours making blueberry pies, let alone slave away over a hot stove or oven? Here are a few ideas to save your preferred produce from an untimely demise.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Pesto is one of the easiest things to make, and one of the most versatile dishes around! It’s also a great way to use up large amounts of herbs or greens. Just simply mix your herb of choice (basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, or chives) with any greens you like (spinach, kale, chard), some garlic, your favorite nuts or seeds, some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, olive oil or any other healthy oils, plus some nutritional yeast for a “cheesy” flavor and added protein and B vitamins. Mix in a blender or food processor and serve with (gluten-free) pasta, on a bed of quinoa or millet, toss with steamed vegetables or use as a dip for kale chips.
Two heaping cups of greens will make just one smoothie, so smoothies are a great way to use up copious amounts of greens in a short time — not to mention your body will be absorbing all of those nutrients and hydrating you throughout the day.
Smoothies are also a great way to use up and enjoy the delicious flavors of fruits! Not quite sure what to do with that watermelon the size of your head you just picked up? Turn it into a hydrating and sweet smoothie!
Once fruits like peaches or blueberries start to ripen quickly, they're a bit messy to eat, so puréeing them into a “compote” is a great option. Try this: 1-2 yellow or white peaches, ¼ teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, a splash of lemon juice, a pinch of vanilla powder, a pinch of cinnamon and a banana blended together, topped with berries and some local bee pollen. It's a sweet, energizing and hydrating way to start the day, or it can be a great mid-morning snack!
Soup? In the summer? You’re crazy! CHILL. I mean that for both you and your soup. Whip up a batch of fresh pea soup, then chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight for a refreshing appetizer or light lunch. Or, go the raw route and blend together your favorite greens du jour with some avocado, herbs, some cucumber, celery and basically any vegetable of your choosing with your favorite spices and voilà! Soup is served. Top with seasonal cherry tomatoes, local sprouts or microgreens and some nuts or seeds for added crunch.
I’m all about eating in season, but you can always freeze your favorites to thaw on a cold wintery night. How about some blueberry muffins to make you happy in November? Or a peach smoothie to remind you of that amazing day with your loved ones on the beach? Shhh, I won’t tell!
As if regular H20 were fancy enough for the likes of you? Never! Use up those big bunches of herbs by infusing some water and leaving in the fridge for a few hours. You can sip it all day long, and even take it with you in a water bottle. Basil and mint are perfect for this and cucumber and lemons are also great sliced in water for a refreshing treat. You can even add some stevia or coconut sugar for extra sweetness.
Throw a party!
Invite your favorite friends over for a taco party! Take some romaine lettuce leaves, top with tomato salsa, cashew sour cream and homemade guacamole using those rapidly softening avocados. Or turn up that air conditioning and bake a blueberry tart to bring to the office tomorrow. You can also use that pesto you made, whip up a batch of tomato sauce and host a pizza party!
For more detailed recipes, check out my blog Lafleurparisny.com!