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Zipongo’s Early Summer Produce Guide

Summer is a great time to be a cook, because there is such an abundance of fresh produce available. In fact, there are so many great fruits and veggies in season over the next few months that we’ve had to break our summer produce guide into two parts! From sweet corn to juicy strawberries, here are some of Zipongo’s favorite produce picks for early summer.

Fresh beet on wooden backgroundBeets

Beets reach their prime around summertime. This root vegetable comes in several colorful hues, from red to pink to yellow, making it a versatile ingredient to add color to your summer dishes. Both the root and the greens are edible, and you can add them to soups and salads or even sauté them to make a delicious side dish.

At Zipongo, we love simple roasted beets. Wrap them in aluminum foil, and roast them in the oven for about an hour with the skin on (which can help preserve the flavor and stop the juice from bleeding out).

Tips: When selecting beets, pick ones that are firm and smooth, with bright green leaves with no blemishes. Also, save the greens after you roast the beetroots — they’re delicious cooked or raw!

Recipes to try:

Cherriescherry on wood

Cherries are a summer staple. Depending on where you’re located, cherry season can run from late May to August. There are two varieties of cherries: sweet and sour. Sweet cherries are loaded with potassium, which can act as a natural blood pressure reducer by balancing the body’s fluid levels and counteracting the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium. Sour cherries contain a natural form of melatonin, a hormone that helps us fall asleep more easily.

Tips: When choosing cherries, pick the ones that are bright, plum-colored and ideally still have their stems attached to the fruit. The flavor will intensify if you leave the pits in the cherries when preparing them.

Recipes to try:

CornGrilled corn

Corn is associated with the height of summer, with the season peaking from May through September. As a staple of any summer cookout, sweet corn can be simply grilled with a touch of salt or included in breads and other baked goods. There are two common varieties of corn: yellow corn, which is larger in size, and white corn, which is smaller but sweeter.

Tips: Buy corn as fresh as possible and cook it soon after purchasing, since the sugars in the kernel will begin to convert to starch, which decreases the sweetness.

Recipes to try: 

Strawberries

Red strawberry in a bowlBerries are always one of the most anticipated fruits of late spring and summer, and one of the most popular berries has to be strawberries. Traditionally, strawberries are used to make cobblers, cakes or sauces. They can also be a great addition to salads and cooked dishes to brighten up the flavor profile.

Strawberries are also a nutritional powerhouse: a cup of fresh strawberries contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin C intake as well as 3 grams of fiber.

Tips: When picking strawberries, choose fragrant, brightly colored ones. Store them in a moisture-proof container and only wash them in cold water right before you use them.

Recipes to try:

For more fresh summer recipe ideas, check out Zipongo’s In Season recipe category

This post was first published on May 31, 2016, and last updated on June 6, 2017.

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