The farmers’ market is overflowing with the best of summer fruit and vegetables: cherries, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, zucchini and other summer squash, and so much more. You can eat it all day long, from breakfast (in pancakes and on French toast) to lunch (hello, flatbread) to dinner (put in on the grill or wrap it up in summer rolls). Oh, and of course, fruit is ripe for turning into dessert; may as well put it in your cocktails too.
Once you decide what exactly to make with it all, use these quick and clever techniques to peel, slice, and pit your produce faster and more efficiently, so you can get to the fun part—eating it—even sooner. And preserve some for later too.
Forget endless slicing and paring. Instead, remove the hulls of your strawberries by poking down through the center of the fruit with a drinking straw.
Cut your prep time down. Place your cherry tomatoes between two plastic lids (like the ones on a large yogurt container) and run your knife through them all at the same time.
Make your fruit last and last. Freeze fresh fruit (and herbs) with water in ice cube trays. Pop them out and use them for lemonade, cocktails, and more. It’s an elegant and flavorful way to chill your drinks.
Slicing corn off the cob is a messy but necessary summer task. Make it neater by anchoring the cob on a center of a bundt or tube pan, then slice. The pan catches the kernels and keeps the cob sturdy as you cut.
The ultimate way to reuse your fruit! Once you cube your melon, add the fruit back into the rind with an assortment of other berries and summer fruit. You’ll have a prettier, more seasonal table display without needing to wash an extra bowl for fruit salad: win-win.
These sorbet cups are some of the smartest ideas we’ve come across. Scoop out grapefruit, lemon, or orange rinds and fill them with homemade or store-bought sorbet in bright colors. It’s fun to eat and will have your friends wildly impressed with your kitchen chops.
Squeezing lemons (and limes) with your hands is tedious and messy. Use a pair of kitchen tongs instead: You’ll get more juice out faster and you’ll skip the stinging, messy hands.
We’d happily eat cherry pie all day long, but we’re not that into pitting dozens of cherries. If you don’t have a cherry pitter (who has the space?), use a paper clip instead to quickly and easily remove the pits.
Sometimes after an overzealous trip to the market or strawberry picking, we end up with too much fruit to eat. Don’t let it go to waste! Dry it in your oven to use in granola or just for snacking. Just spread it on a baking sheet and dry it for a few hours (usually around 6) at the lowest temperature possible (200°F for most ovens).
Related Video: How to Slice Watermelon with Dental Floss
Posie Harwood is a New York City-based writer and photographer. She grew up on a farm and likes raw milk, warm bread with butter, and plenty of fresh air. Follow her on Instagram, and her blog 600 Acres.