Summer has officially arrived! We're more than a little excited about a few things that come along with it: patios, BBQs, picnics in the park, bike rides, cottages, sunny strolls, and above all, summer produce! To celebrate summer and share our excitement, we've put together 15 recipes to help you eat with the season! You can look forward to the local, organic fruits and veggies you'll need for ingredients in your Fresh City bag as the bounty of Ontario's growing season comes to fruition (pun intended). You can also use our 'shop by recipe' function at the bottom of each recipe to add ingredients to your bag, or browse our market to shop for individual items.
1. Bell Peppers: Broccoli Ramen Stir-Fry with Red Pepper & Mushrooms
Who would have thought that peppers are richer in Vitamin C than citrus fruits? There are also few other veggies that display such an array of shapes, sizes and colours! We love these sweet and crispy heat-seeking, sun-loving veggies.
Strawberries and blueberries and raspberries, oh my! There's nothing quite like a freshly harvested, juicy Ontario berry in the summertime. Rinsed and raw - that's how we like 'em best, but if you feel like getting creative, try them in this delicious Pickerel dish.
3. Broccoli: Red Pepper Pad Thai with Tofu & Broccoli
Broccoli is in the good ol' cabbage family. In fact, the word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, meaning 'the flowering crest of cabbage'. It's also super high in vitamins A and K, and folate! There's no limit to the ways broccoli can be enjoyed but we suggest it in Meghan Telpner's pad thai.
4. Cauliflower: Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry
For too long cauliflower was the underdog of the brassica family, but with a recent interest in carb-alternatives, a new appreciation has been born (cauliflower pizza crust anyone?) A good thing too because this veg is not only low in carbohydrates, but also low in fat and high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C - all the good stuff! We like it mashed, crispy and in a curry.
5. Corn: Grilled Zucchini-Corn Salad
Nothing says summer quite like some local corn on the cob. In season in Ontario from July-October, we enjoy corn best with few adornments. Tossed on the barbecue wrapped in foil or even its own husk! You can also try this delicious recipe for a Grilled Zucchini-Corn Salad.
6. Coronation Grapes: Coronation Grape Chia Jam
These fragrant and flavourful fruits have a short but sweet growing season here in Ontario! A hybrid of two North American varieties; the black Patricia and the Himrod, the vibrant colour and flavour makes them perfect for desserts, sauces, jams, jellies, juices, and simply, on their own!
7. Green Beans: Green Beans with Charred Corn, Zucchini & Basil
The haricot have been cultivated for thousands of years in North America and have been a mainstay of aboriginal diets. In season through July to September, we love nothing better than green beans steamed, lightly buttered, and served! We're also big fans of this summery salad featuring green beans, corn, zucchini, and basil.
8. Nectarines: Arugula & Nectarine Salad with Yogurt Dressing
Peaches and nectarines are very closely related, which is why they share similar looks and tastes. Unlike the peach, nectarines have a smooth skin, which some people find preferable. They are smaller and a bit sweeter too. Available in Ontario from July-September.
9. Peaches: Easy Honey Almond Grilled Peaches
A long time ago you would have to travel to China to savour a peach. From there it traveled to Europe and eventually to the new world through Persia, hence its ancient moniker 'Persian Apple'. Nowadays, the Niagara Peninsula accounts for 98% of Ontario's peach crop and 81% of Canada's peach harvest, and we think that's just peachy ;)
10. Peas: Toast with Lemony Pea Mash
These tiny bright green veggies are a great source of folacin, Vitamins A & C, and potassium. A great treat right off the vine, peas are as close to 'veggie' candy as you can grow. We love peas tossed in with pasta (especially a Mushroom Risotto!) but these toasts really highlight that yummy pea flavour.
11. Plums: Macadamia Oatmeal Cookie Plum Crumble
According to the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers' Marketing Boards, plums are the second most cultivated fruit on the planet! Although mostly eaten raw, these delicious stonefruits make an excellent addition to almost any dessert. Try this crumble if you don't believe us!
12. Radishes: Radish & Egg Salad Sandwiches
Radishes are the root of a plant closely related to mustard - it is generally used as a garnish or salad ingredient because of its mild-to-peppery flavour and unique red-to-white colouration. We especially love the pairing of radish with avocado and/or egg!
13. Tomatoes: Tomato & Eggplant Galette
Did you know there are over 300 different varieties of tomatoes commercially grown in Ontario? That's a whole lot of tomatoes! Some popular varieties include Sunrise, Pik Rite, Mountain Pride, Pilgrim, Red Star and Ultra-Sweet.
14. Watermelon: Watermelon & Feta Salad with Mint Leaves
Nothing quite says summer like a slice of fresh watermelon, and no BBQ would be complete without this sweet, watery treat. While obviously very delicious on its own, we urge you to try this watermelon-feta salad - you won't regret it!
15. Zucchini: Mom's Zucchini Bread
One of our favourite summer squashes. Zucchini can be spiralized to make noodles, chopped and added to stir-fries, salads, and pastas, or baked into desserts! The baking process really sweetens up the zucchini.