As I write this, I’m savoring every last bite of a perfectly juicy watermelon that I combined with mint and feta for perhaps the simplest salad ever. This time of year in Texas, melons are out of this world, so it feels like a fitting way to set the scene for an article about eating with the seasons.
I used to not understand the point of obsessing over seasonal produce. Let’s be honest: given the global reach of most grocery stores, you can find almost any common fruit or vegetable at any time of the year these days. Squash, tomatoes, berries, citrus, and asparagus… the list goes on. And if what you’re searching for isn’t in the produce section, chances are you can find a high-quality frozen option.
image by kristen kilpatrick
image by kristen kilpatrick
Benefits of Eating In-Season Produce
So why should you put forth the extra effort to eat seasonally? Well, there are a few reasons. But let’s start with the most straightforward one: produce tastes better when it’s in season. It’s as simple as that.
If you want incredibly flavorful food, you should start with produce that’s in season and not kept frozen as it travels across continents or hemispheres.
But there are a couple other good reasons to focus on seasonally appropriate produce. When fruits and vegetables are in season, they’re able to fully ripen and develop in the sun without any unnatural assistance. That means more flavor and higher quality. And finally, it’s important to eat produce harvested in its prime because it retains more of its inherent nutritive value.
A Really Helpful Chart
Right now, we’re in the final month of summer. There are still a good number of typical summer foods in season, but we can also expect to see some foods typically associated with fall on the shelves.
August produce: acorn squash, apples, apricots, blueberries, butternut squash, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, green beans, kiwi, kohlrabi, lettuce, mangoes, okra, peaches, peppers, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelon, winter squash, and zucchini
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that seasonal produce varies based on your location. For instance, tomatoes were at their prime for us in Austin at the end of June, but seem to be at their prime right now for more northern (and temperate) cities such as New York and Oregon.
Recipes to Cook This Month
Okay, so it’s easy to know the right information, but it’s a whole different matter to actually put it into practice. So to give you a nudge, we’ve rounded up some of the tastiest recipes that use Austin’s prettiest fruits and veggies.
Scroll on, and we’d love to hear what seasonal recipes you’re cooking up this month.
Smoky Beet & Strawberry Salad with Gorgonzola
Butternut Squash & Figs:
Roasted Butternut Squash Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Figs, and Pesto
Honey Roasted Apricots + Vanilla Bean Mascarpone, Pistachios & Coconut
Eggplant & Tomatoes:
Charred Caprese Eggplants
Mango & Coconut Soba Noodle Salad
Watermelon & Cucumbers:
Watermelon Salad with Cucumber & Feta
Fig & Burrata Salad
Honey-Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream
Heirloom Tomato Tart
Lemony Pasta Carbonara with Peas & Zucchini
Coconut, Banana & Blueberry Baked Oatmeal