I love spending time in the kitchen. Being able to cook up something delicious with food from my own garden to share with my friends and family is something that brings me so much joy. Can you relate?
When I cook, I try to use in-season produce, often relying on fresh or canned veggies from my own garden bounty.
What does this matter?
Why should you cook with in-season produce?
And what are some great recipes using in-season produce for each season?
Keep reading to find out!
Why cook with in-season produce?
Fresher, tastier, and more nutritious: that’s what we want from our food, right? When you shop and cook with in-season produce, you access all of these benefits.
When you purchase in-season produce that is grown locally, these items aren’t shipped in from long distances, guzzling gas in the process — which is a win for the planet. Additionally, you support local farmers and can confirm whether the produce was grown with or without chemical pesticides.
How can you find which produce is in-season?
This handy tool shows you which produce is in season for your specific area.
4 Recipes Using In-Season Produce for Each Season
In Middle Tennessee, spring is the perfect time to enjoy your favorite asparagus recipes, since this produce comes into season in April and May. The recipe offers the option of basil or thyme. In our area, thyme first comes into season in April, while basil first comes into season in May.
For the Asparagus:
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Dried basil or thyme* (optional—see “toppings” below for amounts)
Toppings (optional; pick one, two, or your mix of choice):
- Lemon zest and juice
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Thyme: 1 teaspoon fresh or slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon dried
- Basil: 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
- Balsamic reduction or aged balsamic vinegar
- Melted butter
Summer Arugula Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
We love a crisp salad on a hot summer’s day. This recipe relies on in-season produce, like arugula, tomatoes, avocado, and corn. Substitute the pepitas — pumpkin seeds — with squash seeds to make it fully seasonal.
If you’re in Tennessee, all of the fresh ingredients in this recipe, save for avocado, can be grown in the area. So consider adding these to your garden or source the ingredients from your nearest farmers market!
- 5 ounces arugula
- 1 cup cooked Israeli couscous
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1 large avocado chopped
- 1 ear of sweet corn kernels removed
- 1/3 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- Basil vinaigrette for dressing the salad
What marks the turning from the warmth of summer to the cozyness of fall better than a stew? Of this recipe, the only vegetable not currently in season are onions. One option is to chop and freeze your onions from the summer to use in your fall and winter soups. This article explains how to properly store onions.
- 2 pounds stewing beef trimmed and cubed
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 6 cups beef broth
- ½ cup red wine optional
- 1 pound potatoes peeled and cubed
- 4 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 stalks celery cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 sprig fresh
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¾ cup peas
Honey Sriracha Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a cool-season veggie here in Tennessee — and the perfect side dish for any meal. This recipe offers a kick of sriracha to warm you up on cold winter nights.
- 1 lb brussel sprouts trimmed and halved
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp sriracha