Summer in the Tri-State means an abundance of locally grown produce. You can find watermelon and sweet corn at a farmers market or homegrown tomatoes at a pop-up stand. Fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables are the star of restaurant menus and back yard cookouts.
As a dietitian, I know the reasons why fruits and vegetables are so good for you. They are naturally low in calories and loaded with vitamins and minerals and other compounds needed for optimal health. But don’t forget how great they taste!
I think summer is the perfect time of year to encourage patients (and everyone else) to eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great time to expand the ways people cook and eat in-season produce.
Yes, you can chop up many fruits and vegetables and eat them raw. Yes, you can toss a ton of fresh produce into a bowl and create an amazing salad.
But what about grilling fruit, flavoring water and tea with fresh berries, or using vegetables to make chips?
Tips on grilling fruits and vegetables
It’s amazing how the grill can really enhance the flavor of fruits and vegetables. Grilling fruit brings out its natural sweetness and evaporation intensifies the taste of vegetables by condensing the sugars.
Learn about new food
Most of us know what to do with corn on the cob and tomatoes, but what about beets and eggplant? If you want information on a new-to-you fruit or vegetable (like how to store it, prep it or use it), check out Purdue Extension Food Link
. It provides facts, but also recipes for beginners and seasoned cooks looking for something new.
I personally avoided kale in the grocery store for years due to my lack of knowledge about preparing it. But once I discovered kale chips, I realized I found an easy way to incorporate this nutritious vegetable into my diet. A recipe for crispy, crunchy kale chips appears below.
What is in season?
Growers in the tri-state area produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. To help you know what food is in season, check out the Indiana Seasonal Produce Chart
. For example, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are best during July and August. Consider using these berries to add flavor to a pitcher of water or tea at a family gathering.
Where can I find fresh produce?
There are several farmers markets available in the Evansville area including the following:
Market on Main
Wednesdays, 9:30 - 1:30, through September
The Ford Center plaza
Henderson Farmers Market
Days and times may vary.
Warrick County Farmers Market
Saturdays 7:30am – 12:00pm, through October
Boonville Square, Harold Gunn Pavilion
Historic Newburgh Farmers Market
Saturdays 8:00am – 12:00pm, through September 14
Corner of State & Water Streets, Newburgh IN
- 1 peach (per person)
- 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored cooking oil (per peach) – such as grapeseed oil or canola oil
- Optional: 1 tablespoon brown sugar (per peach) *For less added sugar, try a Brown Sugar Blend such as Truvia or Splenda brand brown sugar blend and use 1 ½ teaspoons instead of 1 tablespoon.
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (per peach)
- Cut the peaches in ½ and pit them.
- Prep all other ingredients and have them ready to go at the grill.
- Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat: you should be able to hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds before pulling it away from the heat. If you have the grill going to cook something else that requires more heat, use the areas around the edges that are cooler for the peaches. Another tactic is to cook dinner, let the fire cool down, and then grill the peaches.
- Lightly brush the peaches with the oil, being particularly aware of coating the cut sides well.
- Set the oiled peaches on the medium hot grill. Make sure the peaches aren’t touching so the hot air of the grill can encompass each piece.
- Cook the peaches until grill marks form, turning as necessary to mark all cut sides for the best presentation. Turn the peach halves over, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar or brown sugar blend, if using. Cook until the peaches are tender, but not falling apart, about 8 minutes total.
- Serve grilled peaches hot, warm, or even at room temperature.
- Mix up the fruit and add plums, or other orchard fruits to the grill. You cook them the same way.
- Use cardamom instead of cinnamon.
- Create butter richness by adding a pat of butter along with the brown sugar or brown sugar blend for even more of a glazed effect.
- Can top with vanilla ice cream or for a lighter addition, try light vanilla yogurt, Greek yogurt or No Sugar Added vanilla ice cream
Adapted from: https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-grill-peaches-4068951
- 16 cups kale (tough stems removed, leaves torn into pieces)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Trim kale by removing the tough stems and tearing the leaves into pieces. Clean thoroughly under running water.
- Position racks in upper third and center of over, and heat to 400 degrees F
- Thoroughly pat kale dry with a clean kitchen towel, and transfer to a large bowl.
- Drizzle the kale with oil, and sprinkle with salt.
- Use your clean hands to massage the oil and salt onto the kale leaves to evenly coat.
- Spread a layer of kale over two large rimmed baking sheets. Make sure the leaves don’t overlap. If the kale won’t fit on the two sheets, then make the chips in batches.
- Bake until most leaves are crisp (8 – 12 minutes). Halfway thorough baking, switch the pans back to front and top to bottom. If you are baking just one sheet, start checking after 8 minutes to avoid burning.
Visit the Purdue Extension Office website
and search “kale” to find preparation and storage tips, as well as “how to” videos with more tempting recipes like Kale, Quinoa & Cherry Salad
Grilled Zucchini & Squash
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 medium yellow summer squash
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for grill
- 2 tablespoons Grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked paper
- 2 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parley
- ½ cup Italian croutons crushed
- 1 cup refrigerated marinara sauce, optional
Source: Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market July/August 2018 Crave Magazine
Roasted Veggie “Tostadas”
- Cut zucchini and summer squash in ½ crosswise. Cut each ½ lengthwise into quarter. Place spears in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine olive oil, Parmesan Cheese, Italian seasonings, garlic, and black pepper. Drizzle oil mixture over spears; toss to coat.
- Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Coat grates with oil.
- Cook zucchini and summer squash on the grill for 6 minutes or until tender, turning once.
- Sprinkle spears with parsley and crushed croutons. In a small bowl, microwave marinara sauce on medium for 30 seconds or until warm. Serve squash spears with dipping sauce if desired.
For the veggies
- 1 red onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2 red bell peppers cored, seeded and sliced
- 1 zucchini medium sized, halved (longways) and sliced into half rounds
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the beans
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ jalapeno seeded and minced (if you like spice, add it all)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or 1/8 teaspoon regular chili powder and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 – 15 oz. cans black beans rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup water
For assembly and serving
- 14 small corn tortillas warmed
- 1 1 /2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 1 lime
- Light sour cream or fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- Avocado or guacamole
For the veggies
- Preheat the broiler to high. Toss the onion, sliced vegetables, garlic, olive oil, and salt together on a baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, approximately 10 – 12 minutes (if the veggies are wet they will take longer)
- Keep the broiler on to finish off the tostadas at the end.
For the beans
- Heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeno and spices, and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
- 2. Add in the black beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated all the way through, 4 – 5 minutes. Add in the water, turn off the heat, and mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork, until somewhat smooth (some bean chunks are okay)
For assembly and serving
- Put a layer of warm tortillas on a baking sheet. Top them with a smear of the black beans, a handful of the veggies and then top off with the grated cheese. Put them under the broiler, just until the cheese melts and begins to turn brown, 1 – 2 minutes (watch closely). Repeat in batches until all ingredients have been used.
- Squirt the lime juice over top of the tostadas and serve with light sour cream (or non-fat plain Greek yogurt), avocado, and cilantro.
Adapted from: www.100DaysofRealFood.com