Seasonal must-haves

farmers market
Courtesy Pexels

Every year summer seems to fly by without much of a warning. Seasonal items seem to rocket by with the warmth too.

Executive Director of the Illinois Farmers Market Association, Jane Maxwell, says she plans her family’s meals around seasonal items.

“In the wintertime in my home we eat a lot of soup and then in the summertime we eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables,” Maxwell said.

If you even try getting these items outside of season, it seems like grocery stores are punishing you with their sky-high prices and frankly, they should. Always take advantage of the foods that are in season, before they’re gone.

“There is such a difference in taste in eating a strawberry from Illinois or Michigan in June instead of what you might get during the winter months here in Illinois,” Maxwell said. “I would say, seasonal fresh tastes best.”

The USDA has put together a helpful seasonal produce guide here.

Here are some of my favorite recipes I’ve gathered from around the interwebs ideal for summertime:

  1. Berry Watermelon Fruit Salad– While making a fruit salad doesn’t take a genius, it does take some prior planning to combine all the right flavors. Fork Knife Swoon gathers seasonal items like watermelon, blackberries and cherries to make a sweet and summery salad.
  2. Tomatillo Pico de Gallo – This mild salsa offers a summery flavor with a spicy kick of a jalapeño. These green tomatoes are at the peak of their flavor only during the summer. Closet Cooking suggests pairing this salsa with fish tacos.
  3. Garden Fresh Bruschetta – If you’re a fan of basil, garlic and tomatoes, you’ll love this! Spend with Pennies dices another seasonal treat, roma tomatoes, to create a summer favorite. Instead of pairing bruschetta with oiled bread, top a grilled chicken breast for healthier use.
(Updated 05/08/17)

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