Summer is a produce lover’s dream season. From stone fruit to heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, berries and everything in between, it can start to feel like a rat race trying to taste everything before the impending cold strikes. Fortunately, preservation techniques like jamming, pickling and fermenting make it easy to store these special ingredients for year-round use. Check out these eight great recipes for some new tricks on getting the most from summer’s bounty.
Everybody needs a good tomato sauce recipe up their sleeve for a quick pasta dinner or as an easy base for fish/chicken/steak. This particular recipe from Oh My Veggies captures the essence of tomato season with a no-frills sauce minimally seasoned with onions, garlic, a pinch of sugar and lots of fresh herbs. Make a big batch with as many gorgeous heirloom tomatoes as you can find so that come wintertime, you can give yourself a little taste of sunny summer. Get the recipe on Oh My Veggies.
Is there any food more singularly summer than a snappy dill pickle? These Garlic Dill varieties from The Hungry Hounds take a traditional approach to their cucumber pickles with a vinegar/water brine and additions of dill, pepper and lots of spicy raw garlic. Be sure to ask your cucumber purveyor specifically for “pickling cucumbers,” as they have the best texture and are an ideal petite size for jarring. Get the recipe on The Hungry Hounds.
Summer and jam is as classic a pair as peanut butter and jelly, and for good reason. The jamming process aims to highlight the pure, sweet flavors of fruit with minimal adornment. This Apricot Rose recipe from Lottie & Doof is a perfect example of this philosophy, combining tart, succulent apricots with a splash of rose water to bring out their natural floral flavor. A sophisticated take on the classic that makes even the simplest toast breakfast feel like a special occasion. Get the recipe on Lottie & Doof.
Chutneys are not a super common condiment here in the States. But, around the world this sweet and sour topping is considered an integral part of many a meal. This recipe from Shockingly Delicious takes succulent purple plums to the next level with a bit of freshly grated ginger, vanilla and black pepper, making it a perfectly punchy add-on to a sandwich, toast or even savory entrees like roasted pork tenderloin or grilled lamb chops. Get the recipe on Shockingly Delicious.
Don’t be confused by the name. We aren’t talking about mustard here. Mostarda is considered a cousin to chutney, but instead of achieving its sweet/sour balance from aromatics like onions and garlic, it pulls on mustard seeds and other strong spices to amp up the flavor. This variation from Food in Jars is an ideal recipe to pull on in August when peaches are in high abundance and perfectly ripe. Use on your next cheese plate with a bold, sharp cheddar or tangy goat cheese and your friends will swoon. Get the recipe on Food in Jars.
Shrubs have been experiencing a big resurgence in the beverage world recently for their clean and pure flavors. Made by combining a fruit-based simple syrup with vinegar and then mixing with water or alcohol, shrubs are ideal summer beverages that refresh and quench without weighing you down. The Peach & Berry Summer Shrub from Oh So Beautiful Paper mixes a peach and berry shrub syrup with rum and ginger beer for a sweet/spicy combination that is hard to resist. Get the recipe on Oh So Beautiful Paper.
Pesto is almost too easy to prepare and is an ideal vehicle for using up all those of leftover bunches of herbs in your refrigerator. Also, anything that comes together in five minutes in the food processor is good by me. This classic preparation from Alexandra Cooks can be easily modified depending on the herbs and ingredients you have lying around. Leftovers from a batch can also be frozen in ice cube trays for quick use at a later date. Get the recipe on Alexandra Cooks.
Many would argue that the best part of a Bloody Mary is the vodka. But, if we’re being honest here, I’d say the pickled vegetable toppings are the real stars of the show. Take these Dilly Pickled Green Beans for example from food writer Karen Solomon. Her recipe takes green beans to the next level with the addition of dried chili flakes, fresh dill and raw garlic to a basic vinegar brine. An awesome garnish to any Bloody Mary or just a fun, healthy snack option for a hot summer day. Get the recipe on Solomon’s website. (For more creative ways to preserve your produce for year-round use, check out Solomon’s two cookbook titles, “Asian Pickles” and “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It.”)
Maddie LaKind is a personal chef, caterer and writer living in Ravenswood. For more information about her services, visit her website, madonfood.com.
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