Friday Favorites: Summer Produce
Each season has its own culinary charms. Winter is wonderful for stews and soups (not to mention Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts). Spring for the first strawberries and asparagus, for roast lamb. Fall for apples and truffles, mushrooms and root vegetables.
But summer of course has the greatest bounty from the fields and forests. From the wild herbs and fruits to the most carefully cultivated crops, there is something to beguile the eye and thrill the taste bud at every turn.
The best part of summer? The chance to grow our own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Whether I’m sending the kids to the yard to pick tomatoes or pulling a bit of mint from the garden to make a mojito, there is something ineffably satisfying about growing one’s own food, even if on a limited scale. Even in urban environments it’s possible to have at least a bit of an herb garden (maybe if only on your windowsill). One year I grew tomatoes outside my window, until the random fruit started falling and splattering the sidewalk below!
Provence! Provence is always one of my favorite things about summer, and the lavender fields are only part of the reason. Lavender itself is always found in our home, not only for its fragrance but in cooking as well. Lavender-infused oils, syrups, and sugars can be a wonderful addition to many dishes both sweet and savory.
Fresh figs are one of my favorite fruits, and one of the few that you still really can’t find out of season. There is something gratifying in having to wait, especially in this age of shipping produce around the world so that “out of season” hardly exists anymore. They are wonderful in prepared desserts (I make a delicious fig ice cream). But I can eat them fresh from the tree one after the other as though they were candy!
Lemons from the Amalfi Coast mean one thing to me: limoncello. Just one sip of this lemony liqueur—or a bit of it poured over a tasty cake—evokes for me memories of dinners spent seaside, walks along the cliffside, and generally just the wonderfully sunny, relaxed way of life in southern Italy.
What are your summer favorites?
By Peg Kern
Sign up to receive our email newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best itineraries.By Peg Kern