A look at some flavourful, local summer produce options that can be purchased in most grocery stores, and also grown in your own backyard garden!
Summer is finally here in the GTA and I know that each and every one of you is just as excited as I am about the best season of the year.
The longer days and warmer weather are enough to put a smile on anyone’s face, but it’s the local summer produce that really puts the icing on the cake for me.
Why local summer produce? It’s cheaper, fresher and more flavourful and when you purchase Ontario in-season produce you support local farmers and contribute to a healthier environment.
It’s a real win-win scenario!
Now, most of us know that summer is the time for locally grown berries, cherries, peaches and pears but there is more to Ontario produce than those conventional fruit favourites.
In today’s article, I will tell you all about the five types of locally grown summer produce that may not be on your radar, but that you absolutely need to start considering in order to take your dishes to the next level of taste and healthfulness.
Let’s take a look at the 5 types of local summer produce you probably aren’t eating (yet) :
These tiny red and black bulbs are a good source of vitamin C, fibre and iron and are great as a standalone dessert or for decorative use in salads. They are also an excellent baking ingredient for pie, tart or muffin recipes when you are looking for something a little bit more tangy than your standard berry.
This Chinese cabbage variety is a surprisingly good source of calcium and a very useful food for vegans and vegetarians. It can be steamed, but is often served lightly sautéed and makes an excellent stand-alone veggie and more commonly a compliment to stir-fries.
This Reddish-purple Italian vegetable can spice up any dish with its vibrant bitter taste and brilliant reddish-purple hue. I recommend adding radicchio leaves to a salad, grilling it by itself or even being more adventurous and incorporating it into a risotto dish.
Also known as broccoli rabe or raab. Rapini is broccoli’s bitter cousin and a staple in Italian cuisine that is incredibly rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. It is commonly served sautéed with chili powder and garlic and makes an excellent complement to any pasta dish.
Sold in long slender stalks and served finely chopped, fresh green onions are the ultimate addition to soups, salads and stir fries. They pack a powerful flavour and aesthetic punch for minimal calories and will take your favourite dishes to the next level.
There you have it folks. If you are looking to spice up your menu this summer look no further than these five foods which are not only locally produced in the summer months, but also healthy, vibrant and delicious additions to your kitchen portfolio.
Andy De Santis RD MPH
Andy is a Toronto-based registered dietitian and nutrition writer who holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition. You can learn more about Andy and his services at AndyTheRD.com.