Do you know why many Canadians consider summer their favourite season? The answer lies on the tip of your taste buds. It’s because of the food! Summer barbeques and other staples like ice-cream and burgers are great to enjoy, but summer also offers a large variety of seasonal produce. If you enjoy fresh foods and cooking superb meals, then summer offers fine ingredients that can be grown in the backyard or easily purchased at the local famers’ market. The key to in-season food is to keep it simple and let the quality and variety of the summer speak for itself. Here’s a list of only a handful of foods that are in season and some fantastic meal options to go with them.
Basil – Summer is when basil is at its best. Sure, basil can be bought year round, but it is best when in season and fresh. It can be grown in the garden and harvested on a warm day when the sun brings out the essential oil. Basil pairs perfectly with tomato. One meal idea is homemade pizza with tomato and basil.
Summer Squash – Summer squash is easy to grow and can be found at many markets or grocery stores during July and August. Unlike winter squash, such as butternut or acorn, summer squash has edible skin and seeds. For an easy meal option try grilling a summer squash variety and eat as is, or cut it into cubes and add to a salad.
Corn – Corn and summer go hand in hand. Corn has a mild sweet flavour which makes it a popular choice. Another reason why it is so popular is its versatility. Corn can be eaten on the cob with a butter chive sauce, or it can be grilled and seasoned. Other options include making a mouthwatering casserole, making a corn salad or using it in a soulful bowl of hot soup. The choices are endless!
Blueberry – Blueberry is one of the most popular summer fruits. They are one of the most potent sources of antioxidants, which help counteract heart disease, cancer, and other types of illnesses. Blueberries are also full of fiber and high in vitamin C. A couple of food suggestions include a peach and blueberry parfait or a blueberry shortcake.
Apricot – Apricots are like mini peaches. Both have delicate tart fruits with velvety skin and are juicy inside. Both can be used in a large variety of meal choices including making a chutney, using them for a sorbet, or why not grill them for a nice caramelized result.
Watermelon – Highly doubt you can go the entire summer without eating watermelon. Watermelons have a mild sweetness and are high in water, making them a great fruit to keep you hydrated during those hot summer days. Watermelons can be grown at home or shopped at the local market. Meal inspirations for this summer staple include watermelon margaritas, fruit salads, or watermelon ice pops.