Always brings back the memories of our 1st farm-stand (okay, trailer) set-up, and the image of my sister, her belly as big as a watermelon with her 1st son, eating half a watermelon and as many peaches as she could get her hands on in a day.
Tis the season, for the fruits!
One of my favorite times of year. We are fruit maniacs, and are blessed to have easy access through our fields and fellow farmers. My children don't know what it is like to not have blueberries and peaches on demand!
Over the next month, North Carolina's fruit
season is peaking with the availability of:
Peaches (and other stone fruit)
Take advantage! Fruit salad is a super easy, and always enjoyed, summer side.
Just chop and mix fruit and add herbs and spices as desired -- Yes, that's it! I won't insult you by linking a recipe.
Or, pair your fruits with some plain yogurt and this Homemade Granola Recipe for a yummy breakfast, snack or dessert.
So, get out to your local farm-stand or market, and treat yourself! (Where we will be selling)
If you are in the Denton area, check out Persimmon Branch Farm and Campbell's Blueberries for some local goodness.
Onions are perhaps the most flavorful of our Summer vegetables, and their versatility make them one of the most loved as well. Aside from being tasty and easy to cook with, they’re also super healthy. Onions are excellent sources of Vitamin C, sulphur, and antioxidants.
Some studies have also shown onions to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Some of the antioxidants in onions have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and reducing the symptoms of bladder and urinary tract infections as well.
Some studies have shown that the highest concentration of vitamins and antioxidants lies in the outermost part of the onion, so be careful when peeling it not to remove any of this super-healthy part of the onion.
Onions can either be stored fresh or frozen, and both are super easy. To store fresh onions, first select the onions that are the most mature and firm. Do not wash onions before storing. Onions will store best hanging up in mesh bags in a basement or root cellar, optimally where the temperature falls between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also have them in an area that is not very humid and has good ventilation to ensure that onions do not begin sprouting.
There are also some good options for freezing onions. The best option is perhaps to slice them and place them in a freezer bag to use later. Please note that onions can become slightly mushy after freezing, so you will want to use them in cooking rather than eating them fresh.
Another great way to preserve onions for cooking is to peel and puree them in a blender. Then pour the onion puree into ice trays and cover with plastic to freeze (this will help keep the onion-flavor from seeping into your other frozen foods). Remove from trays and place into plastic baggies. Use your onions cubes in soups, gravies, etc. for a quick way to add some flavor to your meal.
Easy Caramelized Onions
1. Cut the onions root to tip: Slice 1/2-inch off the stem ends of the onions and the roots off of the root end. Place the onions cut side down on the cutting board. Cut them in half through the root end. Peel back the peels from the onions.
2. Heat olive oil and butter, add onion slices: Use a wide, thick-bottomed sauté pan for maximum pan contact with the onions. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and butter (about 1 teaspoon per onion). Heat the pan on medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook, stirring every few minutes: Let cook for 30 minutes to an hour more, stirring every few minutes. As soon as the onions start sticking to the pan, let them stick a little and brown, but then stir them before they burn.
French Onion Soup
Beets are traditionally eaten boiled, roasted or raw and even pickled. The greens as well as the root itself are edible. Young leaves are often eaten raw in salads, and adult leaves are more commonly boiled or steamed in a fashion similar to spinach or other greens.
Beets are also high in nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. These nutrients help improve muscle and nerve function, and are also good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Some studies have also shown beets to reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, and act as an anti-inflammatory.
See below for recipes and storage options for beets.
Aside from pickling and canning beets, they can also be frozen if prepared properly. Here’s how:
Simple Roasted Beets
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips
Squash is a fun summer vegetable that is also really good for you. Squash is somewhat sweet and a bit watery, with a thin, edible skin that is typically left on the vegetable when it is consumed. Summer squashes include yellow straightneck, yellow crookneck, patty pan, zucchini, eight ball zucchini and golden zucchini.
Squash is very low in cholesterol and sodium as well as saturated fats and a good source of many vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B6, and C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Squash is also very versatile in the ways it can be prepared and cooked. It is often fried, roasted, and grilled, and can be used in conjunction with many other vegetables. See below for how to freeze squash for the winter!
How to Freeze Summer Squash