summer corn, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, cucumber, berries, peaches, sweet potato, and tomatoes
summer corn, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, cucumber, berries, peaches, sweet potato, and tomatoes

Your Summer Produce Guide

Summer is a great time of year to play with fresh produce. Markets and gardens are bursting with vibrant fruits and vegetables in their prime: sweet corn, juicy ripe tomatoes, jewel-like berries, and many, many more. In this Summer Produce Guide, you will find expert tips for buying, preparing, and storing summer fruits and vegetables, plus the best pairing suggestions and recipes.


cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon
Sweet, cooling and best enjoyed raw, you will find many melon varieties, such as Cantaloupe, Honeydew, and Watermelon.

How to Select Melons

Big or small, the melon should feel heavier than it looks. Tap the underbelly of the melon. A hollow sound means that it is brimming with juices and at the peak of ripeness. A dull sound indicates that the melon is under- or over-ripe. With cantaloupe, a musky, sweet smell will tell you that it’s ripe. With watermelon, a creamy yellow spot, where the melon rested on the ground, will tell you that the watermelon is ripe.

Top Melons Flavor Pairings

Best Melons Recipes

Chile Peppers

chile peppers
From dried to fresh, chile peppers range from mild to hot and come in many varieties, colors, and sizes. Techniques: raw, roast, sauté Cooking Tip: Try adding at the end of a cooking process.

How to Select Chile Peppers

Look for firm and glossy peppers with taut, unwrinkled skin and fresh green stems. Select deeply colored peppers over lighter colors. With bell peppers, count the number of points on the bottom: Male peppers have 3, tend to be bitter, and are best for cooking; Female bell peppers have 4 points, tend to be sweeter, and can be enjoyed raw.

Top Chile Peppers Flavor Pairings

Best Chile Peppers Recipes


strawberries and blackberries
Sour and sweet raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Techniques: baked, poached, raw, roasted

How to Select Berries

When shopping, choose berries that are plump and bright in color. Avoid containers that are wet or stained, which may be a sign of over-ripe fruit. Enjoy berries raw or cooked quickly as mold can develop within a few days.

Top Berries Flavor Pairings

Best Berries Recipes

Sweet Corn

sweet corn
Sweet and juicy, corn is often white or a combination of pale yellow and white. Techniques: boil, grill, roast, sauté, steam

How to Select Sweet Corn

Feel along the husk for plump and plentiful kernels without gaps. Look at the tassels on the top to make sure they are brown and sticky; if they are black or dry, it’s an older ear of corn. The husk should be bright green and wrapped tightly around the corn, an indication of freshness; it may even still be damp.

Top Sweet Corn Flavor Pairings

Best Sweet Corn Recipes

Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes
Sweet and starchy, sweet potatoes are harvested end of summer and should be stored at room temperature. Techniques: bake, boil, deep-fry, fry, grill, mash, roast, sauté, steam

How to Select Sweet Potatoes

Look for small to medium size sweet potatoes, which are sweet and creamy. The skin should be smooth, firm, and even-toned. Look for deep tones, which indicate the potato is richer in anti-oxidants.

Top Sweet Potatoes Flavor Pairings

Best Sweet Potatoes Recipes


Sweet, astringent and cooling. Slicing varieties are longer and shorter varieties are used for pickling. Techniques: grill, pickle, raw, salads, sauté, soup, juice

How to Select Cucumbers

Look for dark green, firm skin; yellowing is a sign that the cucumber is overly ripe. Since cucumbers aren’t hardy, they should be purchased weekly as needed rather than stored beyond a few days in the refrigerator.

Top Cucumbers Flavor Pairings

Best Cucumbers Recipes


Summer peaches are an incredibly fragrant, juicy treat with a sweet, slightly tart flavor. Techniques: bake, broil, grill, poach, raw, roast, sauté

How to Select Peaches

Look for color as a sign of maturity; avoid peaches that are still green or mostly yellow, and instead look for shades of orange and red. Gently squeeze the peach, if the flesh starts to give, it’s ripe and ready to eat. You can also inhale the scent of the peach, which will be very fragrant when ripe. Check for bruising and choose peaches with taut skin.

Top Peaches Flavor Pairings

Best Garlic Recipes


garlic heads
Botanical relative to chives, leeks, onions, and shallots. Garlic is sweet when cooked and pungent and spicy when raw. Techniques: grill, raw, roast, sauté

How to Select Garlic

Purchase loose garlic so you can feel the head. Look for a firm texture where the cloves are tight and snug; cloves that are spread out indicate overly ripe garlic.

Top Garlic Flavor Pairings

Best Garlic Recipes

Green Beans

green beans on the plant
Sweet and crunchy, green beans have a great, fresh flavor. Techniques: boil, grill, pickle, sauté, steam

How to Select Green Beans

Select firm and crisp green beans and avoid any that are limp or mushy. The best green beans will snap easily when bent in half. Do not select green beans with enlarged pods. Green beans can be harvested when they are 4 to 7 inches long and about the diameter of a pencil.

Top Green Beans Flavor Pairings

Best Green Beans Recipes


ripe tomatoes
Sour, sweet and acidic, summer tomatoes are gorgeous on the plate and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Techniques: bake, broil, confit, fry, grill, roast, sauté, stew

How to Select Tomatoes

Ripe tomatoes will easily free themselves from the plant. Look for plump, heavy tomatoes with smooth skins and no blemishes. Smell the tomato near the stem; It should have a strong, earthy, sweet odor.

Top Tomatoes Flavor Pairings

Best Tomatoes Recipes

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