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Summer Produce Guide (+ 115 Recipes to Make this Summer)

There are so many seasonal fruits and vegetables to enjoy during the summer season. Here’s a full summer produce guide, including a list of summer fruits and vegetables and 115 of the best summer recipes to make on those hot summer days.  

photo of summer recipe ideas

Cooking with Seasonal Ingredients

Summer is one of the most bountiful times of the year. From corn to squash to berries, there are so many fruits and veggies that can be harvested during the warmer months. 

In the US, summer lasts roughly from late June to mid-September, with July and August being two of the best months for harvesting fresh produce. 

Although it’s tempting to buy the same produce at the grocery store year-round, eating seasonally can save you money. Plus, the food tastes way better! 

I love the way that cooking seasonally becomes simpler. Fresh ingredients just taste so much better when they’re in season that it requires minimal effort to make simple ingredients taste amazing.

Complete Summer Produce Guide

In this post, I’m sharing a complete summer produce guide that includes a list of summer fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. 

Note that the type of produce in season will vary slightly depending on where you live. Below is just a general overview. 

There are lots of summer season vegetables to enjoy! If you have a farmers market in your area, I highly encourage you to do your produce shopping there. 

different colored tomatoes from the garden

Vegetables in Summer Season

The veggies will be fresher than the ones at your local grocery store, and you can feel good knowing you’re supporting a farmer in your area. 

Summer Vegetables List 

Here’s a list of the most common summer vegetables: 

Summer Herbs List

  • Basil (Basil is my favorite summer herb!)
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Tarragon
  • Dill

Preserving Summer’s Fresh Vegetables

Freezing sweet corn preserves its shelf life and means you’ll enjoy the taste of summer year-round! In this post, I’ll explain how to freeze corn both on and off the cob. 

Freezing basil minimizes food waste and ensures you always have some on hand for soups, stews, sauces, and more! This post explains how to freeze basil 4 ways, plus you’ll get access to 10+ basil recipes. For another herb tip, check out How to Quickly Chiffonade Herbs!

Freezing tomatoes is the perfect way to preserve them for using in soups and sauces year-round. This post will explain the best way to freeze tomatoes, whether or not they should be blanched before being frozen, and more! 

Preserve summer tomatoes and peppers by Canning Fresh Tomato Salsa. This home canned salsa is so tasty! It is great to keep on hand in your pantry for any time the craving strikes, or to use as gifting!

Enjoy summer green beans all year long by freezing them! This post explains How to Freeze Green Beans, how to blanch green beans for freezing, how to thaw frozen green beans, and more!  

Preserve the flavors of summer for months to come by learning How to Freeze Zucchini! This post will explain how to freeze zucchini in shreds, noodles, halves, and more. Plus, I’ll share how to blanch zucchini for freezing!   

freshly picked peaches in a basket on a wooden table

Summer Season Fruits

The most common summer season fruits are berries, stone fruits, and melons. You can tell if stone fruits are ripe by gently squeezing them. They should give a little bit beneath your fingers and smell fruity. 

Ripe melons will feel heavy, have a strong smell, and the color of their rind will also indicate their level of ripeness. 

Ripe berries should be vibrant in color, smell strongly, and not be overly mushy.  

Summer Fruits List

Now, here’s a list of the most common summer fruits: 

Preserving Summer’s Fresh Fruit

Freezing raspberries is a wonderful way to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round! This guide explains how to freeze raspberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen raspberries and using them in recipes.

Freezer Raspberry Jam has that fresh raspberry flavor and is a great way to preserve raspberries during raspberry season or use your stock of frozen raspberries from previous summers.

Do you know how easy it is to freeze fresh blueberries? One of the best ways to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round is to freeze blueberries when they’re in season! This guide explains how to freeze blueberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen blueberries and using them in recipes.

Freezing strawberries is a wonderful way to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round! This guide explains how to freeze strawberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen strawberries and using them in recipes.

My Favorite Summer Recipes 

Because there are so many fruits and vegetables in season during the summer months, you have lots of options when it comes to cooking and baking with them. 

Whether you’re on the hunt for a simple summer appetizer, dinner, or dessert, this list of summer recipes covers all the bases.

The Best Summer Recipes

Come check out what's in season during the summer with this Summer Produce Guide, plus learn what to make with all that great seasonal produce!

Apricot Recipes

Slightly tart in flavor, apricots are small in size and have a stone in the middle. Apricots are great for snacking, but they can also be incorporated into many recipes.

Chop up apricots to use in salads and grilled sandwiches, cook down to make apricot jam, or bake in your favorite cakes, muffins, and mores.

I love cooking with apricots because you almost never have to peel them first. Apricot skin is extremely delicate and softens further once cooked.

To browse all of the apricot recipes, head over to search the Apricot Recipe Category.

Avocado Recipes 

Did you know that avocados are technically a fruit? Even though avocados aren’t sweet and juicy like most fruits we eat, they’re still classified as such.

The two most common types of avocados you’ll find at the grocery store are Hass avocados and Florida avocados. Hass avocados have textured, dark green skin and Florida avocados are lighter in color with a smooth skin.

No matter the type of avocadoes you buy, opt for ones that give slightly when you press your thumb into the flesh. That’s how you’ll know they’re ripe enough to eat.

To browse all of the avocado recipes, head over to search the Avocado Recipe Category.

Bell Pepper Recipes

Most grocery stores stock green, yellow, orange, and red bell peppers. You may think the brightly colored peppers come from different plants, but they’re actually the same variety of bell pepper!

Green bell peppers are picked the earliest, and red bell peppers are left to grow for the longest. This also explains why green bell peppers have a sharper, more peppery taste and red bell peppers taste sweeter.

For most recipes, you can use any type of bell peppers you’d like. However, I do try to buy the same color of bell pepper that the recipe calls for since using different colored peppers can affect the flavor of a dish.

Wondering how to make your own roasted peppers at home rather than buying them canned or frozen? Check out these instructions for How to Roast Peppers.

To browse all of the bell pepper recipes, head over to search the Bell Pepper Recipe Category.

Blackberry Recipes 

Ripe blackberries will be brightly colored, plump, and juicy (but not overly soft). They should also smell fragrant.

To extend the shelf life of your blackberries, store them in the fridge. Wait to wash your berries until you’re ready to use them, otherwise they’ll go bad more quickly.

In most instances, blackberries may be swapped in for any berry that a recipe calls for. Just note that blackberries are slightly tart, so you may need to add an extra spoonful or two of sugar to baked goods, for instance, to make up for it.

To browse all of the blackberry recipes, head over to search the Blackberry Recipe Category.

Blueberry Recipes 

Ripe blueberries taste sweet and are extremely juicy. If your blueberries are crunchy or mealy inside, they were picked before they were fully ripe.

Blueberries are heartier berries that will last up to five days in the fridge. They also freeze incredibly well and can be used in cakes, smoothies, salsas, and more.

In the summer, I like to buy blueberries in bulk when they’re on sale. I’ll freeze the majority for later, which saves me money in the long-run. Plus, I get to enjoy the flavor of summer berries well into the fall and winter.

To browse all of the blueberry recipes, head over to search the Blueberry Recipe Category.

Cherry Recipes

Depending on the type of cherry you buy, they might taste sweet and juicy or very tart. I especially love eating sweet cherries raw; they’re great in salads or enjoyed as is.

Sour cherries are best for cooking and baking. Recipes that call for sour cherries usually require granulated sugar or another sweetener to balance out the tartness from the cherries.

Don’t forget to pit the cherries before cooking with them! You can buy cherry pitters online, but it’s just as easy to remove the pits with a metal straw or the end of a piping tip.

To browse all of the cherry recipes, head over to search the Cherry Recipe Category.

Corn Recipes

When picking fresh ears of sweet corn, look for ones that are bright green in color with golden silk. You should also peel back the husk slightly to make sure the corn kernels are plump and not shriveled.

Sweet corn can be grilled, boiled, or cut off the cob and eaten raw. If freezing sweet corn, you’ll need to blanch it before cutting it off the cob and freezing it.

To browse all of the corn recipes, head over to search the Corn Recipe Category.

Cucumber Recipes

Crisp and juicy, cucumbers are best eaten raw in salads, sandwiches, or salsas. Cucumbers are ideal for pickling, either whole (if the cucumbers are small) or in slices.

Look for cucumbers with smooth, green skin. Avoid any that are mushy or starting to turn yellow.

Most cucumber varieties you’ll find at the grocery store can be eaten as is, no need to peel them first!

To browse all of the cucumber recipes, head over to search the Cucumber Recipe Category.

Lime Recipes 

Unlike most citrus fruits, limes are in season in the summer rather than the winter. When zesting limes, make sure to wash the outside first as limes often have a waxy coating on the skin.

Keep an eye out for key limes at your local grocery store. Key limes are smaller in size and have a tarter flavor. Although you can use key lime juice and regular lime juice interchangeably, key limes are so special!

Having a hard time juicing your limes? Check out these tips on how to squeeze the most juice from limes. This comes in handy when making limeade or a key lime pie!

To browse all of the lime recipes, head over to search the Lime Recipe Category.

Peach Recipes

Ripe peaches are very juicy and sweet in flavor. To test the ripeness of a peach, gently press a finger into the flesh near the stem. If the flesh gives slightly beneath your finger, the peach is ripe.

Once they’ve ripened, store peaches in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Conversely, you should store them on the countertop to help them ripen quicker. (It helps if you place them next to a bunch of bananas!).

When cooking with peaches, you don’t necessarily have to peel them first. However, the easiest way to peel a peach is to gently slice an X into the skin, blanch it in boiling water for 20 seconds, then dunk it in an ice path. Once that’s done, the skin should be easy to peel off with your fingers.

To browse all of the peach recipes, head over to search the Peach Recipe Category.

Raspberry Recipes

Raspberries are a delicate berry and they’re prone to spoiling quickly, even if they’ve been stored in the fridge. Freezing raspberries is a great way to preserve their shelf-life and take advantage of sale prices at the grocery store.

Once raspberries have been frozen, you may not need to thaw them before baking with them. Many muffin, cake, and quick bread recipes can be made with frozen raspberries that have been tossed in a little flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter.

To browse all of the raspberry recipes, head over to search the Raspberry Recipe Category.

Strawberry Recipes 

In season strawberries will be a deep, shiny red color. Look for berries that are plump without blemishes (though you can always cut those out if you need to).

Ripe strawberries will have a strawberry scent and be medium in firmness. Hard berries that are partially white are not ripe yet. (Note that berries do not continue to ripen like other fruits once picked.)

Because strawberries are so fragile, be careful when storing so they don't bruise, which will only cause them to spoil faster. They're best stored in a container with airflow. Wash just before using so they stay fresher longer — the excess moisture will cause spoiling and mold.

To browse all of the strawberry recipes, head over to search the Strawberry Recipe Category.

Summer Squash Recipes

Quite a few thin-skinned squash varieties grow in abundance during the summer months. Zucchini, pattypan squash, and crookneck squash are just three of the most common types of summer squash.

Summer squash don’t need to be peeled before being eaten. Wash them under running tap water, dry them thoroughly, then proceed with the recipe as instructed.

I particularly love grilling summer squash. Grilled squash is delicious on its own, but it can also be tossed into salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.

Tomato Recipes 

Cherry, grape, Beefsteak, Jersey, plum — there are so many tomato varieties to pick from! Look for ripe tomatoes that smell fragrant and that don’t have any soft spots.

Tomatoes are best stored at room temperature. Storing them in the fridge affects their flavor and gives them a mealy texture.

If you have tomatoes on hand that are about to go bad, consider turning them into a simple marinara sauce or slow roasting them and packing them in oil.

To browse all of the tomato recipes, head over to search the Tomato Recipe Category.

Tomatillo Recipes 

Contrary to popular belief, tomatillos are not green tomatoes!
Tomatillos have a papery husk that must be removed before cooking them.

Once you take off the husk, you’ll also have to rinse the tomatillos under cold water as they’ll be sticky to the touch.

Unlike tomatoes, tomatillos should be stored in the fridge. You can use them to make various salsas, sauces, and so much more!

To browse all of the tomatillo recipes, head over to search the Tomatillo Recipe Category.

Watermelon Recipes

Although most people stick to eating the sweet flesh of a watermelon, the entire fruit can be consumed. The seeds can be roasted (just like pumpkin seeds!) and the rind can be pickled.

Red watermelons are most common in the US, but keep an eye out for yellow watermelons at your local grocery store or supermarket. They’re slightly sweeter in flavor, plus the color is so fun!

Snack on cubed watermelon as is, or toss it into an arugula and balsamic salad. You can even make gazpacho and other savory recipes with watermelon.

To browse all of the watermelon recipes, head over to search the Watermelon Recipe Category.

Zucchini Recipes 

Because zucchini have more delicate skin, there’s no need to peel them before adding them to a recipe.

You can also transform them into “zoodles,” or zucchini noodles. Use a spiralizer or vegetable peeler to make spaghetti- or lasagna-inspired zucchini noodles.

And I certainly can’t overlook my personal favorite way to enjoy zucchini — in quick breads! Shredded zucchini adds moisture to any quick bread, but you can’t taste it whatsoever in the final product.

I sometimes add shredded zucchini to mac and cheese or other comforting dishes to amp up my kids’ vegetable intake for the day without them noticing.

To browse all of the zucchini recipes, head over to search the Zucchini Recipe Category.

Try these Easy Summer Recipes!

Next time you’re looking for a great summer recipe, browse this list of over 100 recipes using the best summer produce! Leave a comment below and let us know what you’re cooking on these hot summer nights.

On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see photos of the seasonal ingredients you’re cooking up!

Looking For More Produce Guides?

This Fall Produce Guide will tell you everything you need to know about what is in season this time of year along with 50 fall recipes to try.

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean there’s nothing growing! In this Winter Produce Guide, I’m sharing a list of winter fruits and vegetables as well as my favorite winter recipes.  

This Spring Produce Guide tells you everything you need to know about what is in season this during the spring, cooking with spring ingredients, and plenty of spring recipes to try.

Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.

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Tuesday 3rd of August 2021