Welcome to August, that intolerably hot time of year that’s probably deserving of a name other than just “summer.” While you’ve been busy planning trips to the beach and freezing (another batch) of popsicles to stay cool, we’ve put together your to-cook list based on what fruits and vegetables are at their very peak this month. Behold: Here are six foods in season in August—and what you should cook with them.
What’s in Season: Summer Squash
Bright, colorful summer squash are sweet, tender and abundant at farmers’ markets in August—and they’re as versatile as vegetables come. From yellow crooknecks to vibrant green zucchini, serve them grilled, roasted, sautéed or even raw.
What to Make: Grilled Squash and Sausages with Sauce Verte
Use any mixture of squash—pattypan, zucchini and crookneck all work well—in this grilled squash and sausage dish. Bright-tasting green sauce helps perk up Italian sausage (and happens to work equally well with grilled chicken and fish).
What’s in Season: Blackberries
Plump, bright berries are summer’s sweetest gems, and varieties like blackberries being to peak in July.
What to Make: Blackberry-Buttermilk Sherbet
For an astoundingly vibrant flavor, use fresh blackberries in this frozen dessert. Refreshing, slightly tangy and not too rich, this frozen treat makes a perfect summer dessert for those evenings you don’t want anything too heavy.
What’s in Season: Corn
Corn is at its best when just picked—you can usually find the freshest ears at the farmers’ market. Look for ears with green husks and no signs of browning or drying. They should feel cool, never noticeably warm. The silk, or tassels, should be pale yellow and moist. The kernels should be tightly packed in even rows and look plump and juicy.
What to Make: Crab and Corn Cakes with Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce
Corn pairs well with the crabmeat in these crispy cakes because it does not mask the seafood’s delicate flavor.
What’s in Season: Eggplant
Although eggplant is often associated with cool-weather comfort foods, it’s actually at its best and most abundant in late summer. Look for young eggplants with delicate skins; they’ll be less bitter than their more mature counterparts.
What to Make: Grilled Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds
If you like Middle Eastern food, try this easy grilled eggplant dish. Fanning out the eggplant on the serving plate makes a stunning presentation. Tahini gives the dish some creaminess, and pomegranate seeds bring sweet crunch and color.
What’s in Season: Shelling Beans
The month of August is when fresh version of shelling beans finally begin to come into peak season. Shelling beans, or shell beans, are any of the 500 varieties of beans grown around the world who’s pods are removed before eating. While you can find these bean varieties all year round in dried and canned form, their taste and creamy texture are far superior when you find them available fresh.
What to Make: Pork Chops with Cranberry Beans and Thyme
Pork and beans are a well-known, much-loved pairing. Try taking them to a new seasonal level by leveraging creamy and plump cranberry beans in fresh form. (If you can’t track down fresh cranberry beans, no worries: Just about any shell bean will work here, from flageolet to Jacob’s cattle to lima.)
What’s in Season: Tomatillos
Don’t be deterred by the husks on these fruits, which look like unripe tomatoes—simply peel the papery husks off the tomatillos and rinse them under warm water to remove their sticky coating. Tomatillos—known in Mexico as tomates verdes—have a bright, tart, herbal flavor that works particularly well in a salsa verde (green salsa).
What to Make: Chilaquiles with Tomatillo Sauce and Eggs
Here, crisp corn tortilla wedges are simmered in a salsa verde, creating a rich and savory base for scrambled eggs.
If you’re as seasonally-obsessed as we are, tell us: What are you into cooking right now?