July Seasonal Produce Guide

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Welcome to my July Seasonal Produce Guide. Seasonal produce is cheaper, fresher, more nutritious, and eco-friendly because it doesn’t have to travel as far.

July Seasonal Produce Guide

Summer is here! There is so much produce in season this month. What is in season in July? Produce peaks at different times throughout the US so there will be some variances. But here is a general guide.

Every month I will be sharing a produce guide with seasonal recipe suggestions. Check out my July Seasonal Produce Guide below for more information on how to choose, store and prepare each ingredient

July Seasonal Produce Guide

Apricot, half and piece isolated on white background

Apricots

Apricot flesh is usually firm and not very juicy. Its taste can range from sweet to tart.

Buying

Look for apricots that are golden in color and firm. Avoid apricots that are a pale greenish-yellow color, rock hard, very soft, or shriveled.

Storing

If your apricots are not quite ripe, place them in a paper bag at room temperature for 2 to 3 days to speed up the ripening process. Unripe apricots can be stored at room temperature up to 5 days. Refrigerate ripe apricots in an airtight container for up to one week.

Preparing

Slice a ripe apricot around the natural seam, twist the two halves in opposite directions, and remove the pit.

Recipes

Blackberries

Blackberries

Blackberries are high in fiber and antioxidants. In fact, one cup of blackberries has over twice the fiber content of a cup of brown rice.

Buying

Look for blackberries that are shiny, firm, plump, and a deep black color. Avoid blackberries that are shriveled, leaking, or bruised.

Storing

Blackberries can be refrigerated for up to 6 days. Store in a single layer to avoid bruising.

Preparing

Wash just before use. Blackberries can be frozen for up to one year.

Recipes

blueberries on wooden table

Blueberries

Blueberries are one of only three berries that are native to North America: blueberries, cranberries, and Concord grapes.

Buying

Look for blueberries that are firm, plump, and dark indigo. Avoid berries that are shriveled or show signs of mold.

Storing

Store blue berries in a covered container for up to ten days. Wash just before using.

Preparing

Rinse and drain blueberries well. Check for any remaining stems.

Recipes

  • Blueberry Ganache TartThe Mini Chef These blueberry ganache tarts not only look beautiful but taste amazing as well! The slight tartness of the blueberries complements the sweetness of the white chocolate to make a perfectly balanced and unique filling.
  • Balsamic Berry Arugula SaladCass Clay Cooking This salad screams salad featuring arugula, blueberries, and strawberries. Vegan friendly and easy to make it is a hit on a hot summer day.
  • Blueberry BreadSimply Stacie Blueberry Bread is a delicious quick bread recipe full of sweet blueberry flavor! The perfect way to use your fresh summer blueberries.
Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupes are sweet and juicy and are high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Their high water content also helps to ward off dehydration.

Buying

Cantaloupe should have a sweet smell, yellow-tinged skin, a thick texture rind, and no stem. Avoid cantaloupe that has an overly sweet smell and soft spots.

Storing

Whole cantaloupes can be stored on the counter for up to four days. Cut cantaloupe should be refrigerated and can be stored for up to two days.

Preparing

The surface of a cantaloupe can contain Salmonella. Before consumption, you should wash and scrub the cantaloupe thoroughly. Cut off the stem end about 3/4 inch from the end. Place the melon cut end down on a cutting surface. Cut the melon in half and gently scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut as desired.

Recipes

ear of corn on the cob

Corn

There are six major types of corn: dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn, and sweet corn. Sweet corn is the variety that is sold in stores for cooking.

Buying

Look for corn ears with green husks, fresh silk and tight rows of kernels. Avoid husks with brown spots and dry, yellowed stems. Do not buy corn ears that have kernels with gaps between them and have brittle silks.

Storing

Refrigerate corn in its husk on for 1-2 days. If  corn is unhusked, put the ears in a plastic bag and refrigerate.

Preparing

Keep the ears in their husks until just before cooking.

Recipes

Cucumber

Cucumber

Cucumbers are 95% water. Cucumbers can be categorized into three different groups: slicing, pickling, and seedless/burpless. Slicing cucumbers are grown to eat fresh. Pickling cucumbers are meant to be preserved in a brine of salt and vinegar. They are uniform in length and diameter for even pickling. Seedless cucumbers are sweeter, have a thinner skin, and fewer seeds making them easier to digest. Because of their thinner skin they are more prone to damage and bruising so they are often wrapped in plastic when sold at grocery stores.

Buying

Look for cucumbers that are firm, blemish free, and dark green in color. Cucumbers should also be heavy for their size.

Storing

Refrigerate cucumbers in a plastic bag for up to one week.

Preparing

Wash cucumbers just before using.

Recipes

  • Pineapple Cucumber SalsaSuburbia Unwrapped This pineapple cucumber salsa recipe is a sweeter summer salsa than traditional tomato salsa recipes. The fresh pineapple, spicy jalapeno, and tangy lime juice are a delicious flavor combination!
  • Keto Cucumber SaladOh So Foodie Try out this easy and creamy keto cucumber salad recipe made with fresh cucumbers, sour cream, onions, and dill with only 3.6g of carbs and 92 calories per serving!
  • Cucumber Ranch DressingBitz n Giggles Cucumber Ranch Dressing – A creamy, dreamy ranch dressing with a subtle hint of cucumber.
Green and Purple Beans

Green Beans

There are more than 130 varieties of green bean that differ in taste, color, and size. Green beans are high in vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, and fiber.

Buying

Green beans should be brightly colored and snap easily when bent. Select beans of similar size and shape for more uniform cooking time.

Storing

Green beans can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Preparing

Wash green beans in cold water before cutting and cooking. To retain sweetness and crispness, trim both ends but keep beans whole. Older, stringy beans should be cut lengthwise.

Recipes

Sliced Kiwi

Kiwi

Kiwis, also known as Chinese gooseberries, are native to China. They were first grown commercially in New Zealand, where they picked up the name “Kiwifruit.” Kiwis have more vitamin C than oranges. There are three varieties of kiwis:

  • Fuzzy kiwis: The most common variety is about the size of a large egg with a fuzzy brown exterior and bright green fruit.
  • Kiwi berries: These are the size of a grape, with a fuzzless, smooth skin and the same bright green interior.
  • Golden kiwi: These have golden flesh that’s sweet and a bit tropical tasting.

Buying

Look for kiwis that are firm but yield to gentle pressure and are blemish-free. Avoid kiwis that are hard, moldy, spotted, or shriveled.

Storing

Ripen kiwis at room temperature. Speed up the ripening process by placing kiwis in a paper bag with an apple or banana. The additional ethylene gas produced by the apple or banana will speed up the ripening process. To slow down ripening, store kiwi in the fridge.

Preparing

Rinse well before eating. Peel and chop kiwis or slice them in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. If desired the skin is edible, too.

Recipes

  • Dark Chocolate Covered Kiwi PopsRecipe Aroma These dark chocolate covered kiwifruit pops are healthy and delicious treats that are perfect to enjoy on a hot summer day! Not only are these super delicious but so healthy they offer a number of health benefits because of the two main ingredients it takes to make these.
  • Tropical Fruit Salad with Lime and CoconutFlavor the Moments Tropical Fruit Salad with Coconut and Lime is a delicious blend of tropical fruit tossed with fresh lime juice and coconut flakes with no added sugar! 
  • Kiwi LemonadeSweet and Savor by Shinee Sweet and sour, cool and refreshing, nothing beats a cold glass of refreshing lemonade on a hot summer day. Try this kiwi lemonade for a refreshing tangy change!
Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi can be either green or purple and can be eaten raw or cooked. The word kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip” (kohl as in cole-slaw, and rübe for turnip. The flavor is a cross between broccoli, radish, and cabbage. It is in the brassica family—like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Buying

Look for kohlrabi that is firm, blemish-free, and about 3-5 inches in diameter. Avoid kohlrabi that is larger than 5 inches in diameter because it can be woody.

Storing

Before refrigerating, cut off the leaves, wrap them in a damp paper towel, and place in a plastic bag. The leaves can be refrigerated for three to four days. The bulb can be refrigerated for a month or more.

Preparing

Wash just before use and use a vegetable peeler to peel away the tough outer skin. The greens can also be sauteed or steamed like mustard greens. Kohlrabi can be added to soup, made into fritters, roasted, sauteed, or steamed.

Recipes

Lettuce

Lettuce

Lettuce is most often used raw in salads and sandwiches but it can also be grilled. Lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and iron.

Buying

Look for fresh crisp leaves that are tightly bunched. Avoid lettuce with wilted or brown leaves.

Storing

Lettuce should be loosely covered and can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Preparing

Rinse lettuce under cold water. Use a salad spinner or pat the leaves dry to remove excess moisture. Slice, chop or tear as needed.

Recipes

Mangoes

Mangoes

Mangoes are sweet, juicy, and are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamins C, and beta-carotene. They are also one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world, with a majority of them coming from India. Mangos are stone fruits, meaning they have one hard seed surrounded by fruit.

Buying

Mangos should yield to gentle pressure and be without blemishes or dark spots. They should also have a sweet fragrant aroma. Color has little to do with ripeness and can vary depending on the type of mango.

Storing

Mangoes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Place mangos in a paper bag to speed ripening. Freeze chopped and peeled fruit in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out for up to 3 months.

Preparing

Mangos contain a large, flat pit. To cut a mango, insert the knife into the mango’s flesh until you reach the pit. Slice horizontally against the pit, then continue along the other three sides. To remove the flesh from the skin, score the flesh by cutting just until you reach the skin. Turn the skin inside out and use a paring knife to remove the flesh from the skin.

Recipes

Okra

Okra

Okra is a green, finger-shaped vegetable that is very popular in southern cooking. Okra can be grilled, sauteed, fried, pickled, or stewed. It is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. 

Buying

Okra should be dry, firm and without blemishes. Okra should also be fuzzy like a peach. Avoid okra that is soft, wet, or moldy.

Storing

Okra pods can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Preparing

Wash and remove the stem. Slice as desired. Cook okra with vinegar or an acidic food to prevent it from becoming slimy.

Recipes

  • Seafood OkraLow Carb Africa This Seafood Okra recipe is a delightful blend of fried okra, shrimps, clams and codfish, spiced with rich, irresistible flavors that will hook you in from the first bite!
  • One-Pot Cajun PastaStrength and Sunshine An easy One-Pot Cajun Pasta dinner recipe that’s allergy-free, gluten-free, and vegan! A healthy meatless dish filled with bell pepper, okra, tomatoes, and loads of flavorful spices and herbs all mixed together with your favorite pasta!
  • Bhindi Sabzi (Okra Stir-fry)Indian Ambrosia An easy okra stir-fry that requires just a few ingredients. It’s simple, it’s easy to make, it’s healthy and it tastes yum with warm naan bread.
3 peaches

Peaches

The peach is closely related to the almond. The inside of a peach stone tastes remarkably similar to an almond. Peach stones are often used to make a cheap version of marzipan, known as persipan.

Peaches are divided into two types clingstones and freestones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not. Both types can have either white or yellow flesh. Peaches with white flesh are typically very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness.

Buying

Look for peaches that are firm but yield to gentle pressure. Avoid peaches with blemishes, bruises, and any hint of green (green is an indicator that the peach was picked too early and will not ripen.)

Storing

Store ripe peaches at room temperature for up to 2 days. Keep peaches separated and do not allow them to touch. Peaches stored too closely together will ripen more quickly and encourage spoiling. Ripen peaches in a brown paper bag and watch them closely as they can ripen within 24 hours.

For long term storage, here is more information on how to freeze peaches.

Preparing

Wash peaches just before use. If cooking peaches, remove the skin as it can become tough when cooked. To remove the skin, cut an X through the skin of each peach. Drop peaches into boiling water for 1 minute and then plunge into ice water. The skin should peel easily. Once peeled, eat or cook immediately.

Recipes

Bell Peppers

Peppers

Peppers come in many different colors including green, yellow, orange, red, brown, white, light purple, and dark purple. The bell pepper is the only member of the genus Capsicum that does not produce capsaicin, a chemical that can cause a strong burning sensation when it comes in contact with mucous membranes. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C.

Buying

Bell peppers should be firm with glossy skin. Avoid peppers that are shriveled or have soft spots.

Storing

Bell peppers can be refrigerated for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash peppers and remove the stem and seeds. It is easier to cut peppers if you keep the interior of the pepper facing up and the more slippery skin side down on the cutting board.

Recipes

Plums

Plums

There are over 2000 varieties of plums that come in a range of colors. Plums can be red, purple, blue-black, green, yellow, or amber. A plums flavor can range from tart to sweet. The skin in particular tends to be tart and surrounds sweeter juicy flesh.

Buying

Look for plums that are heavy for their size, smooth, and without blemishes. Avoid plums that are shriveled or have spots and discoloration. Ripe plums will be slightly soft. You can ripen firm plums in a paper bag at room temperature but you should avoid plums that are excessively hard as they were harvested prematurely and will never ripen properly.

Storing

Plums should be ripened at room temperature until they begin to soften. Ripe plums can be refrigerated for up to four days. Before eating allow plums to return to room temperature for maximum juiciness and sweetness.

Preparing

Wash before eating. Cut along the seam and twist open to remove the pit.

Recipes

Raspberries

Raspberries

There are over 200 varieties of raspberries bearing fruits that are black, purple, red, orange, or yellow.

Buying

Look for raspberries that are plump, dry, and firm. Avoid raspberries that are soft, shriveled, or moldy.

Storing

Refrigerate unwashed raspberries in a single layer in a moisture-proof container lined with paper towel for up to 3 days.

Preparing

Gently wash and pat dry just before using.

Recipes

  • Raspberry Lemon NapoleonsSavvy Saving Couple Freshly made whipped cream is tucked in-between tasty lemon pudding and fresh raspberries nestled in between flaky puff pastry. Each Raspberry Lemon Napoleon pastry is dusted with powdered sugar for a deliciously easy bakery-quality treat at home.
  • Scottish CranachanChristina’s Cucina A no-bake Scottish dessert that’s light and creamy and laced with whiskey-soaked oats will be a new favorite!
  • Raspberry Lemon SconesFood Meanderings These tender and flaky raspberry lemon scones are made without buttermilk. With a hint of licorice and the perfect balance of sweet and tart, they make a great breakfast or brunch dish and are wonderful for taking along to a potluck!
Strawberries

Strawberries

Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Strawberries are frequently eaten fresh, as part of a mixed fruit salad, topping a dessert like a fruit tart or cake, or in a savory salad. They can also be cooked into jams and compotes or baked into cakes and breads.

Buying

Look for brightly colored plump strawberries with fresh green caps. Avoid strawberries that are wilted, moldy, bruised, or have white or green parts.

Storing

Strawberries can be refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. Take them out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before consuming. They taste sweeter when at room temperature.

Preparing

Just before eating or cooking strawberries, swish in a bowl of cold water to clean. Do not soak the strawberries. Hull (remove the leaves and green caps) and slice strawberries as desired.

Recipes

  • Rhubarb Strawberry JamHilda’s Kitchen Blog Rhubarb Strawberry Jam is easy to prepare and so delicious! The tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries are the perfect pair in this old fashioned favorite. It’s perfect to spread over buttered toast and surprisingly, it requires no pectin to thicken.
  • Vegan & Gluten-Free Strawberry CrispThe Granola Diaries This delicious Vegan & Gluten-Free Strawberry Crisp recipe is sweet, refreshing, and a deliciously simply crowd pleaser. Perfect for Summer BBQs, dinner parties, or a casual weeknight dessert!
  • Strawberry Frozen YogurtFlavours Treat This sugar-free, easy and creamy sweet treat is made with just 4 ingredients and comes together in 5 minutes. Nothing could be as easier as this refreshing and intensely fruity frozen yogurt.
Summer Squash

Summer Squash

Summer squash sometimes called yellow squash unlike winter squash has thin edible skin. They can be eaten raw or cooked and have a mild sweet flavor.

Buying

Look for smaller squash that are firm and blemish free. Larger squash can be woody. Avoid squash that is soft and shriveled.

Storing

Squash can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Preparing

Wash and trim the ends. Peeling is not necessary.

Recipes

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is less bitter when it is raw rather than when it is cooked. Swiss chard is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

Buying

Swiss Chard should have dark green leaves and brightly colored stems, Avoid swiss chard that is dried out and brown.

Storing

Swiss chard can be kept in the refrigerato9r for up to five days.

Preparing

Swiss chard can be eaten raw or cooked. Before using chard, cut the leaves away from the stems and wash leaves in cold water. Rinse stems and trim off any blemishes. Swiss chard stems are tougher than the leaves and require a longer cooking time of an additional five minutes.

Recipes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Nothing beats the flavor of a fresh tomato. I spend year avoiding tomatoes at the grocery store waiting for them to be in season and available at the farmers market. There are approximately 7,500 tomato varieties. Yellow and orange tomatoes are usually less acidic than red tomatoes. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, vitamin C potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

Buying

Tomatoes should be bright in color with smooth skin. Avoid tomatoes that are too soft or bruised.

Storing

Tomatoes should not be refrigerated. They should be stored at room temperature and consumed within a few days. Unripe tomatoes will continue to ripen at room temperature.

Preparing

Remove the core of a tomato by cutting around the stem end with a small serrated knife. Remove the skin by scoring the bottom of each tomato with an X, place the tomato in boiling water for 10-30 seconds, then dip it quickly in cold water. The skins will peel right off.

Recipes

  • Best Summer Cherry Tomato SaladCurry Trail This fresh tomato salad is simply the best and easiest summer salad you’ll ever make! This salad is ideal to be served with anything from the grill! It tastes absolutely delicious after it has been marinated for an hour.
  • Stuffed Tomatoes with SpinachTwo Sleevers If you’ve never had stuffed tomatoes, you’re in for a treat! My low carb stuffed tomatoes recipe is filled with spinach and cheese, but there are so many variations for you to try.
  • Cherry Tomato Caprese SaladThe Travel Palate This Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad is a quick and easy side dish that’s perfect for the warm summer months! Tastes great with grilled meats or just some sourdough bread!
sliced watermelon

Watermelon

Watermelon has sweet, juicy flesh and is usually deep red to pink in color, with numerous black seeds, although seedless varieties do exist. The fruit is often eaten raw while the rind is usually pickled. The seeds have a nutty flavor and can be dried and roasted, or ground into flour. Watermelon is 91% water.

Buying

Look for watermelons that are symmetrical in shape, heavy for their size, and dull not shiny. Watermelons should have dried stems and yellowish undersides. Watermelons develop a large, creamy yellow spot (or field spot) on the rind during the growing process. That yellow spot means the watermelon had time to ripen in the sun and is ready to eat.

Avoid watermelons that have bruises, cuts, dents, and are light for their size.

Storing

Store whole watermelons at room temperature. Refrigerate cut watermelon in an airtight container and use within 4 days.

Preparing

Wash, rinse, and dry a watermelon before cutting it.

Recipes

Zucchini

Zucchini

Zucchini is considered a summer squash. Meaning its prime season is May to August. Summer squash has a thin, soft skin and soft edible seeds, whereas winter squash has hard skin and seeds. Zucchini can grow really big! The biggest one ever recorded was 7 feet 10 inches. Most zucchinis would grow to be as big as a baseball bat but they are usually picked when they are much smaller because as they grow they become tough and fibrous.

Buying

Look for zucchini that are no longer than six inches and one to two inches in diameter. Zucchini should have firm, shiny, and slightly prickly skin, be free of cuts and blemishes, and have at least one inch of stem attached. Avoid longer and bigger zucchini they tend to be tough and fibrous. Also, avoid zucchini that are soft or have cuts and blemishes.

Storing

Store zucchini, unwashed, in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If  zucchini starts to wilt, use immediately. Cooked zucchini should be covered, refrigerated and used within two days. To freeze zucchini, slice into rounds, blanch for two minutes, plunge into cold water, drain, and seal in airtight containers or baggies. Frozen zucchini may be kept up to one year.

Preparing

Wash zucchini just before preparation. Peeling is not necessary.

Recipes

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