July has the best of summer produce in season. All over North America, you will find local fruit and vegetables ready to eat. Eating local fresh produce is environmentally wise, delicious, but also cost effective. Generally, these are the cheapest produce ingredients at your local grocery store. It is much more expensive to import low quality products than to harvest locally. In this article we will be counting down the top 10 seasonal ingredients and giving you a great recipe for each item. Check out what’s fresh and new at your grocer and try some of these great recipes!

1. Beets. These red root vegetables can be an intimidating ingredient. Their juice stains anything it touches, including your hands and counter tops. Most of us grew up being forced to eat pickled beets. Let me tell you that this warm beet salad recipe will be so much better than the pickled beet you hated from your childhood.


[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

 

2. Corn. The continent wide drought has been decimating the corn crops. Some scientists estimate that there will be 30% less corn in the harvest this year. If you manage to find this sweet crop in the supermarket, snatch it up! This summer corn salad is a perfect side dish for a barbecue.


[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

 

3. Eggplant. This is another scary vegetable. Eggplant can go from delicious to oily and slimy in a second. Baking the eggplant releases a lot of delicious natural sugars in the plant and keeps it from getting slimy. Try this stuffed eggplant recipe and enjoy this smoky, delicious vegetable. 

[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

 

4. Radishes. Radishes range from sweet and tender to very spicy and crisp. If you find your radishes are more spiced than you enjoy, try soaking them in lightly salted water. Store your radishes in a bowl of fresh water in the fridge and they will stay good for months! Try this cooling radish salad for a unique kick to your meal.

 

5. Rhubarb. A fibrous and tart fruit, the rhubarb plant is loved by many. It is too sour to eat raw, so most recipes bake it with lots of sugar and additives. The cooked flavor is very similar to strawberries. The leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous and only the stalks are edible. The fruit looks like giant red celery stalks and you can find it at the grocer this time of year. Try this sweet baked rhubarb crumble for a great summer dessert.


[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

 

6. Zucchini. If you or any of your neighbors grow zucchini, you will be overwhelmed with the bountiful harvest it brings. It becomes a chore to find new recipes that are delicious and use up this vegetable. Take a break from the classic zucchini bread and give this fresh zucchini salad a try.


[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

 

7. Blackberries. Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries all come fresh around the same time of year. These fruits go wonderfully together and lend themselves to dessert beautifully. Give this french almond pastry a try and top it off with beautiful fresh blackberries.


[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

8. Peaches. Sweet and juicy peaches are truly the fruit of summer. When shopping for peaches, give them a sniff. If the peach smells very strongly like peaches then chances are the fruit is ripe. If the peach is very firm and does not smell of anything than it won’t be delicious. Try preserving the taste of summer by making this simple peach jam.


[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

 

9. Strawberries. While we already covered that strawberries pair with blackberries, they are also great on their own! Get your hands on some very local strawberries if you’re making a dessert with them. They won’t look the best, but the flavor will be magnificent. The small local strawberries don’t ship well and will come very bruised. Use them in recipes that mash or bake the fruit and no one will notice. Give this chocolate strawberry tart a try and enjoy your local produce.


[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

 

10. Lamb. This is the surprise on the list! We get most lamb pre-frozen from New Zealand in North America. If you have a local butcher, ask him if there is any fresh lamb for sale. It can be scary to cook with a meat you have never used before but follow this recipe for a great dinner.


[Source: halfhourmeals.com]

 

Angela Nightingale

If you want to know the best cupcake shop in any major city in America, just ask Angela. This girl knows her sweets, and she isn't shy about letting you know that your german chocolate cake needs more chocolate. If you want to find Angela on any given day, she's probably looking up reviews to decide where to grab lunch, or in her downtime, binge-watching the latest 'it-series' on Netflix.

This holiday season, gather around the table and enjoy a delicious meal with those you love.
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