Many of us grew up with fond memories of summer vacation and delicious summer foods enjoyed with friends and family. Summer is a bountiful time for so many types of produce that make for fresh, bright, and flavorful meals that pack a lot of nutrition power too.
In this article, we’ll share some of our favorite types of summer produce and a few different ways you can incorporate this fresh bounty into your meals this summer season.
Looking for more seasonal produce tips and recipes? Check out our spring seasonal produce guide.
What produce is in season in Texas in the summer?
When summer rolls around, it’s time to incorporate fresh produce from your local farmers into your everyday meals. Any regular old weeknight dinner can become something special with fresh berries, corn on the cob, or versatile summer squash. Here are some of our favorite picks for summer produce.
Fruit: cherries, berries, melons, peaches and more
Many different fruits are at their peak during the summer months, including:
- Cherries (June and July)
- Berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc. (May through July)
- Melons: cantaloupes, watermelons, honeydew, etc. (May all the way through October)
- Stone fruit: peaches, plums, pluots, and nectarines (June through September).
This is the best time to enjoy delicious fruit salads and celebrate special occasions with fruit-based desserts like tarts, pies, or fresh fruit topped on ice cream. You can also make jam or preserves that can be frozen and enjoyed later when the winter months come around again.
Vegetables: corn, beans, squash and more
In-season summer vegetables include:
- Corn (June through August)
- Green beans and yellow wax beans (April through September)
- Zucchini and summer squash (May through October)
- Peppers: sweet and hot (June through November)
- Tomatoes (May through September)
There’s nothing that says summer quite like corn on the cob, is there? Sweet corn is the most delicious towards the end of the summer season (August), but you’ll find it available as early as June.
Corn, beans, and squash are sometimes known as the “three sisters” because they protect and nurture each other when planted together. The tall corn provides a pole for the beans to climb, and the beans in turn stabilize the corn from heavy winds. The large squash leaves protect all three of the plants as well as the soil. Not to mention, all three of these delicious veggies provide an abundance of macro and micronutrients together. If you’re looking to plant your own garden, nothing grows better together than these three sisters.
Tomatoes, zucchini, and both hot and sweet peppers are all found in abundance as well during the summer months. If you’re lucky enough to receive some of the bounty from a friendly neighborhood gardener, don’t let it go to waste! There are so many ways to use these veggies in hot or cold soups, sauces, or simply eaten straight off the vine. Delicious!
Herbs: mint, lemongrass, basil and more
Summer herbs bring fresh flavor to many kinds of meals. Find these and more at your local farmers’ market:
- Edible flowers
Make refreshing mint iced tea, add rosemary and thyme to roasted potatoes and vegetables, even use edible flowers to top an extra pretty summer smoothie bowl or dessert. Fresh herbs are also great for homemade marinades and salad dressings.
Where should I get seasonal produce?
Want to support your local ranchers and farmers? Farmers’ markets are the place to be. Here in Austin, we are lucky to have a variety of markets available:
- Texas Farmers' Market at Lakeline
- Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller
- SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown
- SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley
- Boggy Creek Farm
If you’re not in our area, you can check out localfarmmarkets.org to find a local farmers’ market and direct farm-to-consumer sellers near you.
How to use fresh summer produce in your meals
Here are a few recipes we love for using summer produce, whether it comes from your local supermarket, a local farmer, or your own garden!
This fun dinner idea came from our own lead dietitian Kate Morton. Make this vegetarian, gluten-free Italian dish for the whole family.
- 2 medium-sized zucchini
- (1) 200g carton of ricotta cheese
- (1) 325g jar of pasta sauce
- 125g carton of button mushrooms sliced (½ carton)
- ½ cup aged cheddar cheese
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh basil
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Use ½ tbsp olive oil to coat the bottom of a casserole dish to prevent the ravioli from sticking. Use a handheld vegetable peeler to thinly slice the zucchini into paper-thin, long strips (it helps to do this over a large cutting board). Once you have peeled all of your zucchini strips, set them aside.
To create the “ravioli,” take two zucchini strips and place them in a cross shape, one vertical and one horizontal, overlapping in the middle. Then place two tsp of ricotta cheese in the center. Start folding the zucchini ends over the top of the cheese moving clockwise around the center, then flip the ravioli over so that the folds are facing down and place in the casserole dish.
Bake the ravioli without sauce for 5-10 minutes to let some of the water bake out. Remove from the oven and add the pasta sauce, sliced mushrooms, and cheese on top of the ravioli. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling. Remove from the oven and add fresh basil. Bake for two additional minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for five minutes. Enjoy!
Herb and/or Greens Pesto
Though pesto is traditionally made using basil, you can make it with any greens or herbs you have lying around: arugula, mint, parsley, and even spinach will do. Have fun experimenting with different flavors and textures.
- 2 cups (4 ounces) herbs and/or greens
- ¼ cup nuts or seeds
- ¼ cup umami ingredient (feta cheese, miso paste, nutritional yeast)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (approx. 1 small lemon)
- 2 garlic cloves
- Salt, to taste
- ¼ - ½ cup olive oil
Add your herbs and/or greens, nuts or seeds, umami ingredients, garlic cloves, and salt to a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice as well, if using. Process until the mixture is about uniformly chopped. Process less for a rougher texture, more for a smoother texture. Add olive oil. For a creamier pesto, blend in olive oil. Stir in olive oil if you’d like to retain more texture. Start with ¼ cup olive oil and add more until you reach your desired consistency.
Summer Squash Soup
It might feel strange to make soup in the summer, but you can enjoy it hot or cold and easily freeze any leftovers for a later meal. Making soup is also a great way to use up any veggies you have lying around. Adding ingredients like potatoes, carrots, and coconut milk also make it extra thick and creamy, whether you blend the soup or leave it chunky, but you can also leave them out if you don’t have them on hand. Add a protein and grain source for an easy, balanced meal.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups diced yellow summer squash and/or zucchini
- 1 cup diced Yukon gold potato
- 1/4 cup diced carrot
- 2-3 teaspoons desired spices: cumin, paprika, turmeric, herbs, etc.
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro or other fresh herbs for garnish
Heat oil in a large pot and add onion and garlic, sauteing until softened and translucent, 4-5 minutes. If needed, add a splash of broth to prevent burning. Add the diced squash, potato, and carrot, sauteing for another 5 minutes, add spices and cook for another minute. Add broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Either remove from heat, puree using an immersion blender, and stir in coconut milk, or leave as is and add coconut milk to finish. Add salt to taste; serve topped with fresh herbs.
Fruit Smoothie Popsicles
If you have a popsicle mold and sticks, you can make your favorite smoothie into dessert using summertime berries. Just blend together summer fruit, yogurt of choice, and a sweetener or juice if desired and freeze. Pour into molds and let set in the freezer. After frozen, popsicles can be separated with wax or parchment paper and stored in a freezer-safe resealable bag.
Enjoy fresh summer produce while it lasts
Besides enjoying the warm weather, longer days, and hopefully a summer vacation or two, fresh summer produce is one of the best things about the season. Whether it's sweet and juicy fruits, crisp veggies, or even something new from your local farmers’ market, take advantage of the season to try out some new recipes and share meals with those you love.