Green beans! Eat them raw, steamed, boiled, sauted, chopped up and added to salad,or roasted in the oven with olive oil and garlic. We grow a variety of green beans called Provider. It is a variety that produces well even in a cool summer.
Translated literally, it means "white vegetable". In Chinese cooking, bok choi is often steamed, blanched, or sauteed quickly in oil. Bok choi is typically only lightly seasoned, usually with a variation of ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and cooking wine and can be paired with shitake mushrooms, served alongside fish, or used in stir fry. In Korean cooking, bok choi is used in kimchi.
The name broccoli is Italian in origin, which means flowering top of a cabbage. For a healthy snack, broccoli can be used as a dipping vegetable along with carrots and celery. Hummus, blue cheese, and ranch make great dips! Broccoli can also be steamed or blanched. Try pouring a little bit of browned butter and almond slivers on top of steamed broccoli or quickly tossing steamed broccoli into a pan with oliv oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Cabbage is a versatile cooking medium - it can be shredded and used raw in slaws and salads, the leaves can be blanched to soften and then stuffed, stews and soups often call for cabbage, and many cultures pickle cabbage (think sauerkraut and kimchee). Purple and red cabbage make a beautiful fuchsia colored kraut. If you are stocking up for winter, cabbage is an excellent choice. It will remain in excellent condition in your vegetable drawer for 2+ months.
Celery sold in stores is blanched in the field, draining the nutrients and flavor. Our celery has never been deprived of sunlight, preserving its very strong flavor and nutrients. Try: slaw - grate celery, apples, jicama & toss with olive oil, mustard & lemon juice; soup - sauté celery & potato in butter until soft, simmer in stock then add cream and puree; noodles - use a peeler to create thin strips of celery, sauté in olive oil until soft, serve with pasta sauce!
Chard is one of those dark leafy greens that is usually cooked, but young, tender chard can be eaten raw. Chard can be cooked a long time like collards or sautéed lightly in olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest. Chard is also great in broth-based soups - try chicken broth, shredded chard, ham hock, white beans, and a drizzle of good olive oil on top with crusty bread. Chard is in the same family as beets and spinach.
Chinese cabbage is also called Napa cabbage. It can be pickled (a Chinese version of sauerkraut) or used in stir fries with shrimp, meat, or tofu. It can be used as part of the filler in dumplings (shredded cabbage and ground pork) or in soups (try simmering shredded cabbage, soft tofu, shitake mushrooms, and vermicelli noodles in broth). Chinese cabbage is delicious eaten raw as coleslaw or as an addition to lettuce in a salad.
Cilantro is a staple in many cooking traditions, but most famously in Mexican and Central American cooking. It is the base of chimichurri sauce (blend cilantro, parsley, olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes in a food processor until it forms a vinaigrette like sauce) that is excellent with anything grilled. Chopped cilantro also adds a freshness to salsas, salads, and chilled soups!
Southern-style collard greens are slow-cooked for hours with a ham hock. In many East African traditions, collard greens are slow cooked with tomatoes. Try fresh collards sautéed in olive oil with lemon zest and pepper flakes. Collards are eaten all over the world including Brazil, East Africa, Eastern Europe and India and Pakistan. They are very closely related to kale and are similarly very high in vitamins and minerals.
Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that is used in many different cultures. Puree 1 lb roasted eggplants with 1 clove garlic, 2 tablespoons tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and a handful of chopped parsley to make babaganoush, a Mediterranean style dip. Cut eggplant into 1/4" slices and use in place of pasta for lasagna recipes. Eggplant is great grilled, lightly brushed with olive oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, minced garlic and a touch of vinegar.
The name dill comes from the Norse word dilla, which means "to lull". Dill has been used for its medicinal properties - stomach soother, insomnia reliever, wound healer - throughout history. The fern-like leaves of dill can be chopped and mixed with Greek yogurt, cucumber, minced garlic, salt/pepper, and a touch of olive oil for a tzatziki sauce. Or try baking dill into cheesy biscuits or cornbread. Dill is indispensable if you are making your own pickles!
Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked. Thin slivers of fennel are a great addition to salads. They have a sweet licorice smell and taste. Fennel is absolutely delicious braised in a mixture of white wine, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. Fennel is excellent paired with fish or chicken. Slowly sauté fennel in butter, olive oil, and garlic until soft; pour mixture over fettuccini and toss with juice and zest of one lemon and a generous amount of grated parmesan.
Garlic scapes are the flowering head of a garlic plant. They are available for only about 3 weeks every year. They are removed when growing garlic so that more of the plant's energy can go to garlic bulbs. Scapes can be used in place of garlic in any dish. They are delicious brushed with olive oil and grilled. Scapes can be made into pesto (puree scapes, olive oil, salt, pine nuts, lemon, parmesan cheese) in a food processor. They also make beautiful bouquets!
Garlic is the foundation for many dishes. Try these Catalan inspired recipes: Pa'amb tomquet: Halve a clove of garlic and a tomato and rub on one side of grilled bread. Romesco sauce: In a food processor, blend 1/2 cup toasted almonds, 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, & salt & pepper. Add breadcrumbs as needed to firm up consistency. Which country produces 77% of all garlic in the world? Answer: China
Husk cherries, also known as ground cherries, are a very old variety of fruit native to North America. Their closest relatives are tomatillos and Chinese lanterns (ornamental flower). Husk cherries are typically eaten raw. Their flavor is unique, but reminiscent of a strawberries and pineapple. Just remove the papery husk and enjoy the delicious fruit!
Cold, sweet, juicy wedges of melon are a wonderful summertime snack on their own, but melons can also be added to salads, grilled and served with ice cream, or pureed with other fruits for a refreshing smoothie.
Parsley is often used just as a garnish, but it is also delicious! To make tabbouleh: rehydrate 1/2 cup (dry) bulgur wheat. Toss the prepared bulgur with 2 cups finely chopped flat leaf parsley, 1/2 cup finely chopped mint, 2 diced tomatoes, 1/2 diced cucumber, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold. Fun facts about parsley: it originated in Italy, Tunisia and Algeria and is in the same family as carrots!
Parsnips are closely related to carrots and parsley. They originated in Eurasia and records exist of their culinary use in the ancient Roman empire. Parsnips are typically eaten chopped and roasted with other root vegetables. They have a sweet, earthy flavor that is best classified as a mixture of carrot, potato, turnip, and freshly cut grass.
Pumpkin is not just for Thanksgiving pies! Pumpkin slices can be cooked in broth and pureed to make pumpkin soup. Pumpkin chunks can also be added to curries and stews. Pumpkin is also delicious roasted with other vegetables, drizzled with olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar.
There are many varieties of sage, but all are small, perennial shrubs with pungent smelling leaves. The variety of sage used for cooking has small oval-shaped dusty-green leaves and woody stems. Sage is used in small quantities as an herb to flavor roasted poultry, fish, and pork. If you buy more sage than you can use in a single dish, simply hang the rest of the bunch in a cool, dry location and it will dry naturally. Store the dried sage in a glass jar for winter use.
Shell peas are often called English peas. Peas should be removed from the inedible pod. Fresh peas are delicious raw. They can also be heated in a little bit of butter and salt. Or, add peas at the last minute to your favorite risotto or pasta recipe (white sauces work best). Peas can also be used in place of basil to make pea pesto.
Like all of the other peas, freshly picked snow peas eaten raw are a summer treat! Snow peas are also a great addition to stir fries and they can also be sautéed on their own. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high, add 1/2 lb. of snow peas (ends trimmed, strings removed), 1 minced clove of garlic, and 1/4 cup pine nuts. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then toss in 1 tablespoon sesame oil and a handful of chopped mint leaves.
Raw sugar snap peas are sweet as candy, crunchy as an apple, & juicy as a ripe red pepper. The pod is entirely edible - no need to shell them! If you prefer them cooked, try blanching a pound of sugar snap peas (run under cold water to stop the cooking process). Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter, add 1 clove of minced garlic & 1 Tbsp. of lemon zest & 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice, salt & pepper & pour over peas. Traditionally eaten with salmon on the 4th of July in Maine.
Sugar snap peas
Spinach can be sautéed or used in salad, but can also be used in sauces, like this green harissa that goes well with grilled chicken or lamb: In a food processor puree 1 cup chopped cilantro, 1 cup chopped spinach, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 serrano chile (seeds removed), 1/4 tsp. coriander, 1/4 tsp. cumin, and salt to taste. Spinach originated in modern day Iran, was introduced to Asia around 600 AD and Europe around 800 AD, and is now eaten worldwide.
Zucchini, yellow crookneck, and patty pan are all considered summer squash. Summer squash are great on the grill: just brush with oil and season with salt and pepper, and toss with fresh herbs after done cooking. Medium sized summer squash can be cored and stuffed with meat, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, or any of your favorite stuffings and roasted in the oven. Summer squash is native to Central and North America.
For a complete meal, try stuffed peppers. Prepare stuffing by sautéing 2 cups of cooked rice with 1 lb. ground meat or tempeh, 2 diced tomatoes, 1 diced pepper, 1/4 cup slivered almonds, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, and 1 teaspoon of chipotle sauce (from canned chipotle peppers). Cut the tops off 6 peppers, remove seeds and ribs, and stuff with rice mixture. Place in casserole dish and bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes. Top with shredded cheese if desired.
Tatsoi is in the same family as brussel sprouts, radishes and kale. It is often in mesclun mix in baby form. When mature, it can be lightly cooked like spinach. It is often an accompaniment to lighter proteins (seafood, chicken, tofu). Try heating 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp. minced ginger, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1 bunch tatsoi. Add 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. orange juice, and 1 tsp. honey. Cook until just wilted.
Summer tomatoes are best simply prepared. Slice tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and coarse black pepper; eat alone or with fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. Fresh tomato slices can be added to homemade pizza, used in fresh salsas, or mixed with balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, basil, and olive oil as a bruschetta topping. Farmers often have boxes of blemished tomatoes available for a low cost - perfect for canning and freezing!
Nothing says summer like a big slice of juicy watermelon! Try watermelon salad with arugula, feta, and sunflower seeds! Or grill watermelon with chili-honey glaze. Or puree 4 cups of watermelon, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 Tbsp. lime juice, and 1/4 cup shredded mint leaves, spread on a baking pan and freeze until ice crystals are just beginning to form (1-2 hours). Using a fork, scrape the puree to form icy flakes and serve in cups. Watermelons are hard to grow in Maine.
Zucchini is a summer squash. Using a vegetable peeler, you can shave off slices of zucchini and drizzle with olive oil, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and shaved parmesan for a simple summer salad. Or, use zucchini instead of pasta in lasagna recipes. Zucchini is also delicious grilled and can be used in grilled vegetable salads. Big zucchini is perfect for zucchini bread, zucchini pancakes, and stuffed zucchini.
Find out when all these vegetables are in season!