Every season brings unique flavors – and cravings for different foods and drinks. But there’s hardly a season as inspiring as summer. That’s because there are so many great foods that come of season during summer, from corn on the cob to fresh fruits. And to beat the heat, it’s awesome to cool down with refreshing foods, from cool desserts to chilled beverages. With summer weather, it’s time to get outside – from the pool to the beach, from picnics to grilling – which means you need fresh ideas for food. Summer will be gone before you know it. To enjoy it fully, here’s a list of the 10 top must-have summer foods to enjoy.
Grilling – A great way to enjoy summer food is grilling. Besides adding deliciously unique flavor, it keeps the heat – and the mess – outside. The stars are you favorite meats, brats, and fish – try marinating them overnight to add a unique flavor.
Be creative. In addition to your favorite meats, try grilling just about anything you might cook: corn on the cob is amazing off the grill. Or try marinated vegetables, Italian antipasti style, usually a big hit.
Salads – There’s no better season than summer to enjoy a salad. In winter, produce is trucked 1,000s of miles, leaving it less than fresh. But in summer, you can get salad locally grown, from farmers’ markets, or even your own garden. Be creative – choose from a variety of dressings. Better yet, make your own: they’re cheaper and tastier. To add color and flavor, use tomatoes, carrots, yellow peppers – or even fruits and edible flowers – to create a rainbow of colors.
BLTs – Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches are a summer hit. Powered by the delicious flavor of bacon, the lettuce and tomatoes add a cool and healthy summer zest. BLTs are savory and garden fresh, all in one. For the best sandwich, use thick sliced bacon and homegrown tomatoes. Try sourdough or potato bread – delicious!
Fresh Fruits – Delicious and nutritious? Almost too good to be true. Fruits are tasty, which is why so many desserts and sweets take their flavor inspirations from them. But they’re super healthy to boot – most berries, for example, are packed with anti-oxidants, which slow aging and fight cancer. Summer is the best time to get a wide variety of fresh fruits generally not available in winter. Enjoy chilled half crescents of watermelon, sun-kissed cherries, fresh picked blackberries or chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Corn on the Cob - Perhaps no food tastes like summer as much as corn on the cob. Whether boiled or grilled, whether enjoyed au naturel or buttered and seasoned, corn is delicious – and uniquely fun to eat. As an added plus, scientists believe that two anti-oxidants found in corn might boost your skin’s natural sunscreen – and fight cancer!
Water-Full Foods – In summertime, temperatures soar, people head outdoors, and chances are you’re involved in summer activities. It’s easy to get dehydrated. An easy way to stay hydrated is to eat foods packed with water. There’s no better – and delicious choice – than watermelon, which is 92% water. Staying hydrated keeps your body cool, mind sharp, and mood stable. It also contains a skin-protecting anti-oxidant.
Iced Tea – In summer, it’s great to switch from hot beverages to cold. Iced tea is a delicious choice. Try cold brewing, steeping the tea overnight. Experiment with healthy sweeteners such as honey, agave or stevia. Plus tea is packed with anti-oxidants that may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes, and give you stronger bones and healthier teeth and gums.
Iced Coffee – When the heat picks up, you still want your morning pick me up – but without the heat. Iced coffee is a great way to start your summer mornings. An added plus, caffeinated coffee might reduce your chances of getting skin cancer. Indeed, the more you drink, the lower the risk.
Snow Cones – Bright, colorful, and cool, and fun for kids of all ages! To make your snow cones extra awesome, use all natural fruit juices or concentrates. They’ll be just as sweet, but with healthy vitamins and minerals your body craves.
Ice Cream – This cool summer favorite is a great way to end a summer day. For extra fun, get an ice cream maker, and have fun crafting it at home. It will be tastier, with fewer additives, and you can enjoy any flavor you can conceive of; some exotic flavors I’ve seen range from Guinness and rosewater.
This is a guest post by Mark Lynch. Mark recommends reading more must have summer foods, recipes, and for the truly food passionate person check out information on culinary arts school on Chefs.edu.