All-Star Ingredients: Mid-Summer Produce Picks

All-Star Ingredients: Mid-Summer Produce Picks

In July, farmers’ markets are brimming with a bounty of summer produce. There are herbs in abundance, in addition to cucumbers and all kinds of beautiful berries. Instead of highlighting the usual summer favorites, we’re taking a look at some of this month’s unsung heroes.

We find fresh apricot to be a true summer treat. Dried apricots have a slightly sulfurous flavor, while fresh are sweet with just a hint of sour. This makes them a tad more sophisticated than sweet peaches. Their tender skin is edible (so no need to ever peel) and the pit usually pops out easily when halved. Use apricots in any recipe calling for other stone fruit such as peaches, plums, or nectarines, including the Peach Crumble and the Seared Bacon with Peach Salad on the CHEF iQ App.


If you buy red bell peppers in the middle of winter, you know they can be a bit pricey. Come summer, however, they are in abundance. Not only that, but your garden, or your neighbor’s garden, will soon be overflowing with chile peppers. Whether you like them hot or sweet, this is the time to indulge. We would be remiss not to mention our delicious recipes for classic Sausage and Peppers and our Mexican take on stuffed peppers.


Swiss Chard 
Because it’s so often lumped into the category of “winter greens,” Swiss chard often gets overlooked as a summertime vegetable. While it’s true that it needs to be planted in the cool of spring, the big, crinkly leaves—often with bright red stems—are harvested in June and July. Heartier than spinach but more tender than kale, chard is usually cooked but can be enjoyed raw. Pro tip: Since the stems take a little longer to cook, prep them and start cooking them before you add the leaves. Swiss chard’s earthy, minerally flavor pairs well with cheese and cream—making it great in a gratin. We also like it with sweet and sour flavors. Swap it for the kale in the Kale and Tofu Quinoa Bowl, which also features miso, rice vinegar, and honey, and see for yourself.