Summer Produce Holds Higher Ground

Summer Produce
Tips & Recipes

Summer Produce Holds Higher Ground

Our guide to what's in season for summer…with recipes that provide fresh menu solutions.

An impressive five of the 10 trends highlighted in the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association's Canadian Chef Survey revolve around local, farms, nutrition, health and produce—clearly, chefs are paying close attention to fresh produce. Highlighting the season's best does not require a chalkboard menu, changing daily to reflect what's pulled from the earth that morning. It does require that chefs pay attention to what's in season, highlighting that fresh produce on their menu in creative, delicious ways.

Refresh Your Menu with Summer

Make the most of summer's ripe produce. Refresh the left side of the menu with grilled tomatoes, stuffed fresh figs, sweet mango salads. Spin your entrées into relaxed summer dishes with seasonal sides and garnishes, like fresh corn puddings and wild-cherry compotes. And lastly, embrace the pie trend with summer's best—from perfumed peach pies to down-home blueberry buckles.

What's in Season? Summer Edition (June 21-September 21)

beets
beets

fast fact—from the creamy white "Albina Vereduna" to the candy-striped "Chioggia," beets offer dramatic plate presentation

culinary tip—to save on labour, look for fresh, peeled beets that are sealed in an air-tight container, giving the fresh beets a refrigerated shelf life of up to six months

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125mL) good source of folate; source of potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium

blueberries
blueberries

fast facts—they turn reddish when exposed to acids, such as lemon juice and vinegar, and they turn greenish-blue in a batter that has too much baking soda, which creates an alkaline environment 1

culinary tip—one dry cup of fresh blueberries equals two-thirds of a cup of puréed blueberries 2

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) good source of vitamins K and E; source of vitamin C and fibre

cherries
cherries

fast fact—on average, there are 44 cherries in one pound 3

culinary tip—turn your salsa into a seasonal offering by adding cherries to it

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) good source of potassium and vitamin C

corn
corn

fast fact—an ear of corn averages 800 kernels in 16 rows 4

culinary tip—for a hit of fresh, sweet flavour, grate corn for corn pancakes, corn pudding or sweet-corn soup

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) good source of folate; source of potassium, vitamin C, thiamine and magnesium

figs
figs

fast fact—fig trees don't blossom on their branches; the blossom is inside the fruit

culinary tips—slice in half and top with goat cheese; drizzle with olive oil and grill

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) good source of potassium, vitamin K, magnesium, B6 and fibre

green beans
green beans

fast fact—yellow and purple beans offer the same flavour profile as green beans

culinary tips—for an Asian twist, add garlic, ginger, chili paste and soy; for a Mediterranean spin, add stewed tomatoes, onion and garlic

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) source of folate, vitamins C, K and magnesium

mangos
mangos

fast fact—according to freshmangoes.com, the fruit of the mango is called a drupe, which consists of the mesocarp (the edible part) and the endocarp (the pit)

culinary tips—mangos shouldn't be refrigerated until they reach desired ripeness; try using green mango in a savoury summer slaw

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) good source of vitamin C; source of folate, vitamins K, B6 and E

nectarines
nectarines

fast facts—nectarines are fuzzless varieties of peaches and are smaller and smoother than peaches

culinary tips—look for fragrant nectarines that give slightly to the touch

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) good source of thiamine and source of vitamin C

pears
pears

fast facts—according to the Pear Bureau Northwest, Comice and Seckel have a rich sweetness to them, Anjou offers more of a clean sweetness and Bosc lends a honeyed sweetness

culinary tips—lightly poach pears used in salads to keep them from browning; grill pears for a great seasonal garnish

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) source of vitamin C and fibre

plums
plums

fast fact—if cooking with plums, look for the Japanese varietal called Elephant Heart

culinary tips—store between 0°–1°C (minimal breakdown will occur), ripen between 11°–25°C and avoid holding in the 2°–10°C range, where the fruit's lifespan can be shortened by up to 75%5

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) source of vitamins C and K

raspberries
raspberries

fast fact—there's more than just red and black raspberries—look for purple and yellow for added menu interest

culinary tip—frozen raspberries keep for about three months, but freeze raspberries with a bit of sugar and they keep for up to a year

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) good source of vitamin E and fibre; source of folate, vitamins C and K, and magnesium

tomatoes
tomatoes

fast fact—from Cherokee Purple to Green Zebra, heirloom tomatoes add colour, variety and a connection to local farms

culinary tip—one pound of fresh tomatoes equals three cups of puréed tomatoes

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) source of folate, potassium, and vitamins C, K and E

watermelon
watermelon

fast fact—seeded watermelon are oblong in shape while seedless watermelon are round

culinary tips—the average 20-pound watermelon yields about 53 6-ounce wedges, each ¾-inch thick; the average 20-pound watermelon yields 14 pounds of edible fruit, leaving six pounds of rind

nutritional profile—(1/2 cup/125 mL) source of vitamin C and magnesium

Fun Trivia for Curious Culinary Minds

Blueberries

The blue paint used to paint woodwork in Shaker houses was made from a combination of milk, sage blossoms, indigo and blueberry skins.6

Blueberries

Cherries

According to cherryamerica.com, Broadway in New York shifts west at East 10th Street because a cherry tree once stood there.

Cherries

Pears

The Seckel pear was discovered growing near the Delaware River in Pennsylvania in the early 18th century by a farmer named Seckel.7

Pears

Watermelon

According to watermelon.org, early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

Watermelon
  1. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
  2. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
  3. Cherry America
  4. Campsilos.org
  5. eatcaliforniafruit.com
  6. foodreference.com
  7. foodreference.com
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