This month holds the unique position of straddling summer and fall: With tomatoes and corn at the market situated next to apples and pumpkin, you know it can only be September. While you’ve been soaking up every bit of the summer and ramping up for school, we’ve put together your to-cook list based on what fruits and vegetables are at their very peak this month. Here are six foods in season in September, and what you should cook with them.
What’s in Season: Tomatoes
In some parts of the country, like New York, vine-ripened tomatoes are just coming into season this year. Arguably the most prized summer tomatoes are heirlooms—old-fashioned flavor-packed varieties that have been reintroduced by farmers and gardeners.
What to Make: Fresh Fettuccine with No-Cook Tomato Sauce
This is the only time of the year where cooks can get away with a tomato sauce so simple it doesn’t require any cooking—just ripe, sweet, tangy tomatoes and fresh herbs.
What’s in Season: Okra
Okra has a short season that begins in summer and ends in fall, so take advantage of it while you can. Look for firm pods that aren’t too large.
What to Make: Spicy Slow-Cooker Gumbo
Okra both adds a vegetal flavor and serves as a thickener in this Southern-inspired spicy gumbo, which also conveniently comes together in a slow cooker.
What’s in Season: Chile Peppers
What to Make: Chiles Rellenos
Make chiles rellenos, or stuffed poblano chiles, a Mexican favorite. This particular version—chiles en nogada—is a popular dish both for Mexican Independence Day (September and the holidays.
What’s in Season: Green Beans
Crisp, verdant green beans are a staple this time of year, and are great for taking to cookouts, picnics and parties throughout the month.
What to Make: Deep-Fried Green Beans
Green beans take well to all kinds of cooking techniques like boiling, steaming, sautéing, but we love them lightly dredged in batter and fried, then served with buttermilk ranch alongside.
What’s in Season: Grapes
September is peak grape harvest season, for both eating and drinking grapes. Look for plump, pliable varieties.
What to Make: Focaccia with Grapes & Walnuts
Hearty, versatile focaccia bread is perfect for casual gatherings with friends—just slice into squares, pile in a towel-lined basket, and serve. This autumn-inspired version is plenty flavorful on its own, filled with grapes, walnuts and rosemary.
What’s in Season: Plums
Golden yellow and bright green to pink, fuchsia and scarle3t, there are countless varieties of plums available right now. Some are ideal for jams, others for baking and still others for eating simply out of hand.
What to Make: Brined Pork Chops with Grilled Stone Fruit
Try one of grill master Fred Thompson’s recipes—brined pork chops with grilled summer plums–that makes the most of the season.
If you’re as seasonally-obsessed as we are, tell us: What are you into cooking right now?