All good things must come to an end, including fresh summer produce. With less than one month left of the season, we’re stocking up and freezing our favorite produce to keep bright summer flavors within reach for the rest of the year.
Last month, we published an article about why and how we shop seasonally. The TL;DR is that food tastes so much better when it’s in season. With a higher nutrient and vitamin content, it offers a more complex and punchy flavor to enhance any meal.
To stock up on what’s in season, head to your local farmer’s market or farm stand.
Farmer’s markets and farm stands are a one-stop shop for ingredients and education. Before you head out, take a minute to jot down your meal plan and target ingredients to avoid aimless wandering.
Pro tip: try to hit the farmer’s market right when it opens or right before close. It’ll be less crowded in the AM, plus you’ll get your pick of the best selection. On the other hand, some farmers will discount their produce at the end of the day, rather than reload all of it back into their trucks. Head over later in the day to see if they’re offering any deals.
Farmers offer a wealth of knowledge on their produce's flavor profiles, how it’s grown, and suggested preparations. Take some time to chat them up and get their recommendations – you’ll be sure to come away a smarter shopper and cook.
Freeze your seasonal ingredients to keep enjoying them into the fall and winter.
The end of summer is the best time to stockpile and freeze the gorgeous, fresh bounty of produce at farmer’s markets (especially now when prices are lower). See below for a few ideas for how to use and store this season’s greatest hits.
Contrary to the ones available year round, summer tomatoes are bursting with flavor! They’re sweet, acidic, and juicy and are perfect raw in a salsa or salad, as the base of a delicious summer pasta, or in a simple red sauce that you can freeze to use throughout the winter.
No need to let your fresh herbs wilt in the fridge! Rosemary, dill, thyme, bay, or sage can be frozen on the stem by spreading in a single layer on a Baking Sheet and placed in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer into an airtight container. More tender herbs like mint, parsley, and cilantro can be removed from their stems and frozen into ice cubes. Basil, oregano, and thyme can also be frozen with oil for use in pesto, soups, and other sauces.
Save your sweet summer corn for later by dropping ears of shucked corn into a Stock Pot of boiling water and cooking for five minutes. Transfer the kernels immediately to a Mixing Bowl of ice water to cool. Then, cut the kernels off the cob with your Chef's Knife, and place in freezer bags to store.
Blackberries are peaking right now and make for an amazing snack or addition to smoothies or pancakes. To freeze them for later, rinse them and pat them completely dry. Lay them out on a Baking Sheet and place in the freezer until your berries are completely frozen. Then, transfer your berries to a freezer bag.
Peaches & Stone Fruit
Perfect for a Fall crisp, peaches and stone fruit can store well in the freezer. First, slice the fruits and discard the pits. Then, sprinkle with sugar to help preserve their texture, and put them in a freezer bag.
Have a favorite seasonal recipe or seasonal ingredient to share? Let us know on Instagram @getequalparts.