Summer: The perfect time to go accidental!

posted Jun 20, 2013, 8:35 PM by Merrin McGregor   [ updated Jul 17, 2013, 5:36 PM ]

Sweeter. Tastier. Sneakier. 

With summer upon us, it’s a foolproof time to begin going ‘accidental’ with your cooking. The bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables available in your farmers market, supermarket and backyard garden sets an ideal scene for knowingly incorporating endless cups of in-season produce into your meals.

Accidentally getting enough cups of fruits and vegetables in the summer is so easy; in fact, it can literally be as easy as pie (or tarts). A favorite at this time of year is local strawberries—whether in jam, shortcake, pie or tarts, local strawberries are a special treat that must be embraced for the short time they’re available.

One of my family’s perennially favorite ways to enjoy fresh strawberries is this simple recipe for fresh strawberry tarts, topped with whipped cream and misleadingly packed with 6.5 cups of fruit. Oops! Try to resist licking the plate. 

So what’s in season? 

Usually it’s pretty easy to tell what’s in season by noticing which produce look most fresh and plentiful (and is probably on sale!) at your supermarket. If you need a little help, Epicurious offers a handy interactive tool for seeing what’s in season where you live. In most areas asparagus, peas, spinach, rhubarb, berries and cherries are all fresh and ready to be incorporated into your fruit and veggie plots...and tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, melons and peaches will be arriving soon to get in on the action. 

Go local.

Haven’t paid a visit to your local farmer’s market yet? Now is the perfect time to get in the habit: find a farmers market in the US or find a farmers market in Canada in your area. Farmers markets make a great outing for the whole family and a feast for the senses, as well as an easy way to support farmers and local businesses. Plus, markets offer the freshest local produce, ensuring you get the sweetest, most nutrient-packed fruits and veggies available.

I encourage you, through Vegetables Accidentally, to eat and cook with in-season produce whenever possible. (A winter supermarket tomato just can’t compare to one fresh from the garden in July!) Particularly for those ‘green’ Accidental Cooks, in-season fruits and veggies offer an extra sweet victory and a sly helping hand to keep mealtime tricks tasty.

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