By Julia Howard
At home, when the weather gets hot, we often turn to cool meals and eat al fresco outside on the patio. It’s time for hearty summer salads, refreshing chilled soups, cold drinks and smoothies, and grilling flavorful fish, seafood, meat, and poultry.
Summer eating becomes a way to connect with our immediate environment and the seasons – a ritual that we savor in Upstate New York. For inspiration, Diane Whitten, Food and Nutrition Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Saratoga County, reminds us that fresh food is the best food. “In the summer, it’s so much easier to eat healthy with fresh produce,” says Whitten. “At the farmers’ market, the produce is so fresh and flavorful that it calls out to you. You can’t get it any fresher,” she adds.
Produce sold at the farmers’ market is harvested sometimes within hours of being placed on market tables and sold to customers. “Because it’s so fresh, fruits, vegetables, and herbs are flavorful on their own with little added ingredients,” explains Whitten.
In following the farmers’ market tradition of eating fresh, Diane Whitten shares three of her favorite in-season summer recipes: chilled cucumber soup, green peanut butter and banana smoothie, and sesame snow peas. These recipes feature in-season ingredients available at this week’s markets.