As summer progresses, an abundance of delicious produce peaks. From refreshing cucumbers to juicy stone fruits, there are plenty of reasons to savor the end of summer. Here are Zipongo’s favorite late summer fruits and veggies.
As part of the gourd family that originated in Southeast Asia, cucumbers reach their peak during summer. Asian and Middle Eastern varieties tend to be sweeter and have a fuller flavor, while the American version is more finely textured.
How to Buy: Select cucumbers with smooth and colorful skin and avoid those that are yellowing.
How to Store: Wrap cucumbers tightly in plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. Store them in the warmest part of your fridge for up to 10 days.
How to Enjoy: Cucumbers are usually served raw or pickled, but they’re also delicious in sautéed dishes and cold soups. Here are some cucumber recipes to try:
- Creamy Green Gazpacho
- Cucumber Ribbon Salad
- Grilled Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Mint Salad
- Japanese Cucumber Salad
- Tomato and Cucumber Salad
- All cucumber recipes
Photo: Cucumber Ribbon Salad, Rachel Cooks via Yummly
There are many varieties of figs in the market: candied, canned and dried. Fresh figs are almost an entirely different entity, both in taste and texture. Fresh figs tend to be less sweet than their preserved counterparts, and also have a refreshing crunch from their seeds.
How to Buy: Figs are often available from June through early fall. Look out for figs with different colors, like deep purple and beige.
How to Store: Figs are quite perishable so try to enjoy them within a day or two. Or store them in a paper towel-lined container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
How to Enjoy: Try adding figs to your salads or baked goods.
- Honey & Goat Cheese-Filled Fig Muffins
- Sweet and Salty Fig Toast
- Overnight Oats with Figs and Honey
- All fig recipes
Photo: Sweet and Salty Fig Toast by Bon Appétit
An all-time summer favorite, watermelons usually peak between June and August. Watermelons were originally native to Africa but are now grown in many places, including the US.
How to Buy: Pick watermelons that are smooth and symmetrical, with no cuts or dents. Also, try tapping the melon: if you hear a hollow sound, the melon is most likely ripe.
How to Store: Cut watermelon can be stored in an airtight container for a few days in the fridge.
How to Enjoy: The whole watermelon is edible. You can roast the seeds, pickle the rind and serve the flesh fresh. You can add watermelon to both sweet and savory dishes.
- Watermelon-Blueberry Ice Pops
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Strawberry Basil Watermelon Cups
- All watermelon recipes
Photo: Strawberry Basil Watermelon Cups, Tablespoon via Yummly
Stone fruits are available in the US from early June to October. Stone fruits are a large family of fruits that include apricots, plums, peaches and nectarines. They’re called stone fruits because they have a “stone,” or a pit, at the center of them.
How to Buy: Look for stone fruits without any blemishes and wrinkles. Also, try smelling them — fresh stone fruits should smell as good as they taste.
How to Store: Leave stone fruits at room temperature for a day or two to help them ripen. Their texture will become slightly tender when they’re ready. Store them in the crisper drawer of your fridge unwashed for up to five days.
How to Enjoy: Stone fruits are highly versatile: you can add freshly cut nectarines to a salad, make a plum sauce for a savory dish or bake a peach cobbler.
- Apricot-Chile Glazed Salmon
- Grilled Peaches and Burrata Salad
- Grilled Chicken and Nectarine Chopped Salad
- Apricot Ricotta Honey Basil Bites
- Pork Chops with Warm Plum Sauce
Photo: Grilled Peaches and Burrata Salad by The Life Jolie Blog via Yummly