Summer Produce

Introduction

Hy-Vee Cooking Guide
Summer Produce

It's like a farmers market in here.

Not a fan of slicing onions? How about shucking and cleaning corn ... or spiralizing zucchini ... or cutting up pineapple? Next time you're in the produce department, browse our selection of already chopped and washed Hy-Vee Short Cuts, and start saving time during meal prep

Uses: Stir-fries, grilling, packing healthy snacks, fajitas, soups, and healthy breakfasts.

If you like knowing your food is locally grown, look for the Hy-Vee Homegrown logo and signs throughout the produce department. It means the produce was grown within 200 miles of your store. Late summer is generally the best time to find our Homegrown picks. 

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While some grocery chains have discontinued selling the "ugly" produce, Hy-Vee is not giving up on the so-called imperfect produce. Hy-Vee Misfits are perfectly edible but might not be the perfect size or shape. Buying Misfits is a great way to help offset the 6 million pounds of fresh produce that goes unused each year. 

Summer's Juicy Fruits

If ever there was a time to eat more fruit, it's summer. Fill your basket with berries, melons, peaches, and more. And look for the Homegrown label to see which fruits were grown locally. 

Eat your antioxidants. These disease-fighting gems are full of 'em. To keep berries fresh, store them unwashed in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Uses: Smoothie bowls and parfaits, or get a little more interesting with savory sauces and sandwiches. And of course, desserts.

Most melons will have a sweet aroma when ripe. Look for ones that feel heavy for their size. While cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew are classics, don't let summer slip away without trying specialty melon varieties

Uses: Skewer with feta cheese, wrap in prosciutto, or garnish cocktails.

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Nectarines are a subspecies of peaches and have a similar sweetness and intoxicating fragrance. The biggest difference is that nectarines lack the fuzzy skin. Both are either "clingstone," meaning the pit sticks to the flesh, or "freestone," meaning the pit separates easily. White peaches and white nectarines are known for being less acidic, but still just as tasty.

Uses: Grill, make overnight oats, or bake in a galette or pancakes.

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Pineapples are the only fruit that contain a special enzyme called bromelain, which works as a meat tenderizer and also has anti-inflammatory properties. For the most straight-forward way to cut a pineapple, watch this

Uses: Use pineapple as a marinade and topping in these fajitas, or grill to make a smoky pineapple margarita or BBQ kabobs.

Pro Tip: Skip the cutting altogether and get the Hy-Vee Short Cuts pineapple chunks.

Grilled to Peach-fection

This is why you should always have peaches around during grilling season.

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Cream of the Crop

It's true you can find most of these veggies year-round, but come summer, they're at their peak. Plus, many of them are sourced from local farms across the Midwest.

To keep corn as fresh as possible, wrap unhusked ears in a plastic bag and refrigerate until you're ready to prepare it. Learn how to quickly shuck and cook corn in this video tutorial

Uses: Add corn to fritattas, use as a bed for kabobs instead of rice, grill it and top it with crunchy chips, add it to salads, or wrap in foil with shrimp for a shrimp and corn boil on the grill.

Pro Tip: Hy-Vee Short Cuts ears of corn are husked and ready to go. 

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Tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and contain a good amount of vitamins C and A. Heirloom tomatoes are ones that have been in existence for at least 3 generations. Remember to store tomatoes at room temperature, not in the fridge.

Uses: Try them skewered and grilled, roasted and blended in soup, as a topping on a ricotta tart, or tossed in salad, but not a boring salad, a Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Chicken Salad

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Summer squash, such as gold bar and zucchini pictured here, have thin, tender, edible skins. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and are now commonly spiralized to make "noodles."

Uses: Peel into long ribbons for salad, bake into pizza crust or chocolate muffins, or roast to make veggie fries.

Sometimes called string beans, green beans (and yellow wax beans) have a tender-crisp texture and mildly sweet flavor. 

Uses: Gently cook to retain texture. Pair them with blue cheese and walnuts, pickle them, or there's the holiday staple, green bean casserole

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Wait for It ...

Don't think of August and September as the end of summer, think of them as hatch pepper season!

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Freshen Up

If summer had a flavor, it might be basil. Or mint. Or mint lemonade! Fresh herbs just have a way of brightening almost anything.

All the cool kids are cooking with this fresh herb. Fresh mint adds a subtle but refreshing sweetness to salads, fruits, savory Greek dishes, and cocktails.

Uses: Try using fresh mint in lemonade, iced tea, yogurt dip, on lamb burgers, and of course, in a mint julep.

Basil is a member of the mint family and has a peppery-sweet taste that reminds most people of summer. The best way to keep basil fresh is to buy the whole plant from the produce department. Keep it in a sunny spot and water regularly. 

Uses: It's famous for pesto, but also try it in salad dressing, cocktails, and in orzo

If you thought basil was versatile, you haven't met oregano. Fresh oregano has an assertive, woodsy flavor, but somehow works magic in everything from pizza sauce to taco meat to dipping sauces, and more. 

Uses: Make frozen herb cubes for fast and flavorful cooking, drop fresh oregano into soups, or use to top scrambled eggs.

If you've ever made a stew and thought it was missing something, it was thyme. It has a flavor that's earthy but almost citrusy. To remove the leaves, hold a sprig at the top and slide your fingers down to strip off the leaves.

Uses: Add to dinner rolls or garlic bread, spaghetti or spaghetti squash, and cocktails or spritzers.

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With its pinelike, woodsy flavor, rosemary is more potent than most herbs, and its flavor is not subdued by cooking. Since it can be on the overpowering side, a little goes a long way.

Uses: While it's great for seasoning roasted vegetables in the fall, we especially like it in tea and bourbon.

Pro tip: Add rosemary stems and sprigs to coals just before grilling.