5 Ways to Cook Fresh Summer Dishes All Year Round
Summertime is prime time for fresh produce. Whether you get yours from a local farmers market or another source, it’s the ideal season for fresh meals and recipes.
Why? It’s an incredibly bountiful time of year where you can find all manner of delicious and ripe fruits and vegetables.
Sadly, that means when summer wraps up, you have to wait the rest of the year and into the next to get your hands on a lot of those fresh goods again. This puts a damper on things if you love to cook summer recipes and meals. Some of those meals you can’t cook in other seasons, even if you wanted to because the ingredients just aren’t available. Unless you preserved everything, in which case you’re always in luck!
What if your cravings aren’t in line with the season though? What if you can’t help but want a steaming plate of Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki? Mediterranean veggies, at least fresh, are out. What if you want a delicious salad with cherry tomatoes?
Believe it or not, all hope is not lost. There are some things you can do to prepare even your favorite summer meals in other seasons. We’re going to take a look at some of the most popular recipes, and help you out.
Getting Your Hands on Fresh Produce
It’s important to remember that while local markets have restrictions on season and distance at times, there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to recipes that call for fresh summer produce. You could use something that makes you think of summer, as opposed to something that grows in summer.
Consider seafood, for example, or more specifically lobster, which is very popular in summer cooking. There are certain companies that ship fresh seafood and lobster to your door year-round. Once you have the seafood, there are ways you can then preserve the produce, even in the off-season. You can use cans and jars to preserve the produce and meat in a particular solution. You can pickle them or even mix them with other ingredients like vinegar or oils.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways to prepare the best summer produce.
- Preserving Eggplants in a Delicious Way
Eggplants are a perfect example of fresh summer produce that may not be available year-round, unless you know how to preserve it! Most eggplant meals call for olive oil and various spices, which is good for you. That means it will be much easier to preserve the food and use it later in its original taste.
One of the best recipes for preserving summer eggplants is to roast them slowly in olive oil. Then, when finished, you store them in jars with the appropriate ingredients, including basil and mint. It makes for an absolutely delicious meal when you’re ready to use them, even during later seasons!
- Strawberries Keep Well in Vinegar
Look, if you’ve never tried it before, this recipe and mixture is going to sound, well, not enticing we’ll say that much. But you can store fresh strawberries in a vinegar mixture for up to three months at a time. The result is not only delicious but makes for an excellent snack even out of season. The strawberries taste will be as fresh as the day they were stored.
Making the concoction couldn’t be easier. Simply chop up your strawberries, mix them with equal parts white wine vinegar, rice vinegar and sugar then cover and chill. For best results, you’ll want to let it cool for at least 24 to 48 hours before eating.
When you’re ready to use the mixture, just strain it using a sieve. You’ll want to separate it into another clean jar or container.
As you’d expect, the vinegar is great on fresh salads, baked and grilled chicken, or even quinoa.
- Relish Your Bell Peppers and Tomatoes
Bell peppers and tomatoes are another pair of fresh, delicious veggies that just don’t taste the same outside of summer. There is a way to preserve them, however, and reuse them in recipes later in the year!
You can turn them into ChowChow, a tangy and satisfying vegetable-based relish. It produces a sweet, Southern-Style relish that can be used on just about anything from hot dogs to fresh corn bread!
- Brandy Those Peaches
Ah, peaches, there’s nothing quite like them. Sadly, when they’re out of season they’re tough to find fresh, and it doesn’t help that they’re even tougher to preserve for those down periods. But alas, there is a way, fellow fresh food lovers!
You can make brandied peaches and store them in jars or cans for the off-season! Ever had them before? You’ll love it. They are fantastic. You can mix them with parfait and yogurt, ice cream, cakes, and even grilled meats!
For added flavor, mix some pure vanilla in the concoction if the recipe doesn’t call for it.
- Pickled Okra
You can pickle just about anything, can’t you? Then again, there’s no guarantee the finished product will turn out delicious or tasty. Luckily, that’s exactly the case with pickled okra.
You can use them in salads, mixed meals, and they even work great as a cocktail addition. Seriously, ever had a vodka martini or Bloody Mary with a little pickled okra in it? It’s amazing, give it a try!
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
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