Great Food Ideas for Summer
Published Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Updated Wednesday, January 27, 2016
If your mouth waters at the sight of the first gardener tilling and planting seeds, hang in there, summer’s on its way. Summer brings abundance from the garden and the opportunity to feed your body "cool" food from your neighborhood. Many upscale restaurants and culinary arts colleges now boast “farm to fork” local seasonal foods in their eateries and classrooms. Some purists grow and deliver goods from their own organic farms. Not only is it good business, it’s good nutrition. Fruits and vegetables tendered by local gardeners are the perfect "cool" foods for hot summer days and nights. In general cool foods are green or greenish like the rows in the garden. Lettuce, watercress and cucumbers are the coolest; but foods high in water content are similarly cool. The best food ideas for summer come in a rainbow of colors and a variety of ingredients limited only by the availability in your hood and your courage to experiment.
You already know the benefits of green and leafy, and perhaps the special touch that comes by sprinkling in cilantro, parsley, dill, mint or other favorite herbs. But if you haven’t yet added rose petals, squash blossoms, violets, borage flowers, or nasturtiums you haven’t transformed your work into a true masterpiece. Check your local extension office to make sure you select healthy and not harmful species.
To stay cool, fill your refrigerator with fruits—whatever is local and ripe. Apricots, sweet cherries, berries, grapes, peaches, nectarines, plums and melons are perfect cool foods whether you eat them for a snack, toss them in with greens, or whip them into a smoothie or iced dessert. If you suffer from allergies, eliminate milk products from your whipped concoctions and choose instead a crème fraise base made in the blender from water, raw cashews, dates and vanilla to taste.
If you are a carnivore and want to stay cool keep in mind that animal based protein is generally more heating and you can stay the coolest by selecting (locally grown) poultry and fresh water fish for your barbecue cravings.
There is nothing cooler for summer eating than locally grown food. Honk and wave at the first gardeners you see, give a shout out to farmers and fishermen. Salute them and be grateful for the cool food they will bring you in the summer months to come.