Summer in the Pantry

Summer in the Pantry

Happy Summer Solstice! It’s time to start thinking of Summer in the Pantry. Our summers a filled with Sunday trips to the Ballard Farmers Market, outdoor adventures, parties with family and friends sharing incredible food and time in the garden.

Summer in the Pantry
Dream Greenhouse and Work Kitchen
by Salem Structures

A part of my growth in learning how to create a functional pantry, is learning how to cook seasonally. At one point, I found myself avoiding the farmers market because it didn’t carry the produce I needed. Once I shifted my lense and rethought the way I was seeing produce, I realized that I needed to learn more about seasonal cooking. As my cooking shifts toward a more seasonal approach, I am learning a great deal about cooking resourcefully.

As I plan for the retirement years of my life, I am looking to move out the city and up to the sunny side of the mountains here in Washington. A huge part of that new life will be a garden to help feed my family throughout the year. In order to for this dream to come true, I need to fully understand seasonal cooking so I’ll have a better idea of what I’ll need to plant . I’m not a great gardener, but I hope to be by the time I have a place to garden.

I’ve given my dream garden a great deal of thought. A part of creating this garden is to include a green house and work kitchen. My blog often takes over my kitchen and household. It would be nice to have the ability to do my blogging and canning elsewhere. I can’t think of a better place than adjacent to the garden and greenhouse.

In researching seasonal foods and cooking, I found it helpful to start with a general list of seasonal items. While summer is a time of plenty, did you know that summer can actually be broken down into subcategories? If you do, awesome. For me, it was as if the lights came on in the attic! It was a surprise, but it definitely helped me to rethink seasonal produce. For that purpose, I’ve included some information in my lists that reflect the summer time subcategories; Early, Mid, and Late. One of the best resources I’ve found is the book Six Seasons – A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg. It’s an incredible starting point, providing a solid foundation that encourages further research and exploration into the subject of seasonal cooking. Summer is the perfect time to start talking up and building a pantry that will last through the winter.

Summer Time Fruits

  • Apples have a great many different varieties with a wide range of flavor profiles. They are incredibly good for you. Studies are finding that they are linked to lowering your risk of diabetes, heart diseases and even cancer. Eating an apple a day, really does keep the doctor away. Available: late summer and early autumn
  • Apricots ripen quickly and won’t last long in your pantry. However, they are a delicious and nutritious dried fruit snack. They are filled with dietary fiber, iron, antioxidants, and potassium. Available: late spring to early summer
  • Avocados are incredibly popular among health conscious people for a very good reason, they are packed with nutrients. Available: midsummer
  • Cantaloupe are a healthy alternative to sugary sweets. They are also filled with potent nutrients; vitamin C, folate, potassium, and more beta-carotene than other orange fruits. Available: mid to late summer
  • Grapes come in a great many varieties that we seldom see in commercial stores. However, it is getting increasingly easier to find them. They may help to fight against cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as, contain antioxidants to reduce inflammation. Available: late summer to early autumn
  • Limes are “nutritional powerhouses”. They are packed with antioxidants that help your fight against heart disease, improve your immunity, and aid in iron absorption. Available: mid to late summer
  • Mangos are fantastic in smoothies and are a nutritious dried fruit snack substitute to sugary sweets. They contain enzymes to aid digestive health, as well as, vitamin C to support your immune system. Available: Summer seasons in tropical temperatures
  • Melons in general are a great source of hydration and make for a sweet nutritional snack. Available mid to late summer
  • Nectarines are filled with beta-carotene, vitamin C, Potassium and high in fiber. They’re great for snacking on the go or baking. Available late summer
  • Peaches are a stone fruit high in fiber and can aid in improving digestive health. Available mid to last summer
  • Pears sweetness makes them a great snack and even better ingredient in baking. They are composed of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, and beneficial plant compounds. Available throughout the summer
  • Plums and Plouts are another stone fruit that are great for snacking, drying, and baking. While plums are packed with nutrients, plums are best for digestive health. Available late summer
  • Watermelons are a super summer fruit, great for their water content and anti-inflammatory qualities. Available late summer

Summer Time Fruit Recipes

Summer Time Vegetables

  • Bell peppers have numerous varietals ranging from green, red, orange, yellow, and purple. They are filled with Vitamin C that can help your body absorb iron efficiently. Available mid summer
  • Beets are often sold with their greens —giving you a two-for-one. You can cook the greens as you would chard or other cooking greens. They are filled with antioxidants and the ability to help your body eliminate toxins from our system. Available: early summer and mid summer
  • Broccoli roasted or steamed lightly are delicious ways of preparing this nutritious powerhouse. You’ll find that broccoli is another great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidant. Available mid summer
  • Celery is like so many other fresh vegetables, they’re filled with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory benefits and aids in digestion. Available starting early summer
  • Cauliflower is a great substitute for grains and legumes. It’s full of nutrients, helps promote a healthy heart, and functions as an antioxidant. Available mid summer
  • Carrots are harvested year-round in temperate areas. Unusual varieties are harvested during the carrot’s natural season, which is late summer and fall. True baby carrots—not the milled down versions of regular carrots sold as “baby carrots” in bags at grocery stores. Carrots are known for lowering your risk of heart decrease while increasing your immune systems, as well as, improving eye sight. Available: starting late spring and early summer.
  • Chard grows year-round in temperate areas, but it is best harvested in late summer or early fall in colder areas. In warmer regious, it’s best harvest in the fall through spring. It’s incredibly high in vitamins A and K, as well as, disease fighting antioxidants and fiber.
  • Collard greens, like most leafy green plants, bolts (flowers) and turns bitter when it gets hot enough, so in hot climates it is in season all year except summer, everywhere else summer is the time to look for it. These greens are filled with detoxifying qualities and vitamin K for bone strength
  • Corn is best when it’s eaten as fresh as possible. Your local markets are the best place to find the freshest produce. Corn is filled with whole grains, potassium, and anti-inflammatory qualities Available late summer
  • Cucumbers are perfect for pickling, snacking, and salads. You can find them in your local farmers market. They come into season in most areas just as the summer heat kicks in. Available mid summer
  • Eggplant should have a shiny, tight, smooth skin and feel heavy for its size, no matter which variety. Eggplant is more than just a beautiful vegetable, it a it’s help to promote heart health and contains cancer fighting qualities. Available late summer
  • Fennel  While Fennel is a highly nutritious bulb vegetable, it also holds anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidants qualities. Available early summer
  • Green beans tend to be the sweetest and most tender during the midsummer growing season. They are full of antioxidants that help to build and suport your immune system. Available: mid summer
  • Green onions are fiber rich and help to keep your digestive system clean and health, as well as, being full of vitamin K that helps your body absorb calcium. Available: Mid summer
  • Lettuce bought at farmer’s markets will last much longer than store-bought. While they are low in calories, the are full of vitamins K, C, and folates. Available mid summer and late summer
  • New potatoes are great for the paper-thin skins and for their ability to remain firm once cook. That makes the perfect potato salads. Potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to promote healthy blood sugar levels and reduce heart disease risk. Available early summer
  • Okra needs long hot summers to grow. They are low in calories and packed with a variety of anti-oxidants. Available mid summer and late summer
  • Onions come from storage all year round. They are found to contain vitamin C that helps to promote immune health and vitamin K that help to improve calcium absorption. Available late summer early autumn
  • Radicchio is sweeter when allowed to soak before cooking or adding to a salad. It’s a good source of micronutrients such as copper, zinc and vitamin K. Available: early summer to late summer
  • Radishes are a colorful and peppery addition to any dish. While they are high in fiber and good for your digestive health, you can over do it with radishes. The consumption of too much can lead to hyperthyroid like symptoms. Available: early summer to late summer
  • Ramps are foraged in the spring and early summer and sometimes available at farmer’s markets and specialty stores. Like so many other vegetables, they are filled with anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory qualities that promotes heart health. Available: early summer to late summer
  • Rhubarb has a relatively long growing season. You’ll want to look for heavy stalks with shiny skin. It’s good source of vitamin K1 and may even help to lower cholesterol levels. Available mid to late summer
  • Shallots have a more mild and sweeter flavor than other onions. Shallots have a number benefits including, lowering blood cholesterol levels. The diet rich in fiber helps protect against heart disease Available: early summer to late summer
  • Shelling beans are what become canned and dried beans. They are filled with vegetable proteins and a number of vitamins and minerals. Available late summer
  • Spinach is a superfood in that it’s full of vitamins and minerals, but also anti-inflammatory qualities. Available mid summer and late summer
  • Sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes have a delicious nutty flavor. Also high in nutrients, they are also know to lower LDL levels. Available: mid summer to late summer
  • Sweet peas are perfect for adding sweetness and crunch to stir fries and salads. They surprisingly a great source of protein, potassium and magnesium. Available generally late spring through late summer
  • Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes with a light green papery husk. They contain vitamin C and antioxidants that help to promote your immune system. Available: mid summer and late summer
  • Tomatoes are substantially better when purchased at your local farmers market. They will be sweeter because they have been ripened on the vine. Tomatoes are full of Lycopene that helps to regulate blood sugar and fight against cancers. Available: mid summer and late summer
  • Turnips are great in soups and stews. These roots contain a substantial about of Vitamin C and folate to help support a healthy immune system. Available: early summer
  • Zucchini and summer squash are full of nutrients that can help promote bone and heart health, as well as, boost your immune system. Available: mid summer
  • Zucchini blossoms are increasingly sold at farmers markets and specialty stores. Look for fresh blossoms (no brown ends or tips) and use them quickly. Available: mid summer

Summer Time Recipes

Cloches come in a variety of forms for a variety of different purposes. You can find mesh version to protect your plants from small critters. Glass ones work as small green houses for early summer and late summer produce.

Summer Time Berries

  • Blackberries 
  • Blueberries 
  • Gooseberries 
  • Huckleberries 
  • Marionberries
  • Raspberries 
  • Strawberries 

Summer Time Recipes

Summer Time Fresh Herbs & Spices

Pot some herbs and bring them indoors or decorate your patio.
  • Basil 
  • Chiles
  • Edible flowers 
  • Garlic 
  • Herbs 
  • Lemongrass 

Summer Time Recipes

Wow! That’s a lot. To be honest, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more. Throughout the next year, I’ll be composing similar posts to highlight the produce you can find during each season. I’ll also be featuring seasonal recipes to help both stock you pantry and create delicious meals. Enjoy Summer in the Pantry.

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