Cooking with Summer Ingredients
Warm-weather ingredients and the dishes that love them
The Latin name for this fruit, praecoquum, means literally “early ripening peach.”
The color of a bell pepper depends on the variety and the stage of ripeness. Almost all peppers start out green and ripen to another color. Red, orange, and yellow peppers are riper, sweeter, and pricier than green peppers.
This berry is native to North America and has been used in recipes since Colonial times.
This melon is named after one of the papal villas near Rome, though most of the fruit marketed as cantaloupes in the U.S. is in fact muskmelons. You can use them interchangeably.
This petite stone fruit is native to the Balkans and has been cultivated in the Mediterranean for more than 2,000 years. Choose cherries that are firm but not hard, with a nice shine.
Corn begins converting its sugar to starch the moment it’s picked, so eat it right away!
Cucumbers are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, likely native to India. Columbus introduced them to the New World in 1494. Their flesh can be more than 90 percent water.
Until the Renaissance, Italians believed eggplants to be poisonous; the Italian word for eggplant, melanzana, derives from the Latin mala insana, “apple of madness.”
Nectarines are thought to be a mutant of the peach. Their name comes from the Greek word for “sweet liquid,” nektar.
Peaches originated in China, where they grew wild as a small, sour, rather hairy fruit. Yum.
Although references to plums are found in ancient Egyptian and Etruscan cultures, the Chinese were the first to cultivate this stone fruit.
Similar to other wild berries, each individual raspberry is actually a cluster of small fruit sections surrounding a central core.
Varieties such as crookneck, pattypan, and zucchini come in all kinds of fun shapes. Look for small ones (they are less watery) that are brightly colored and firm.
At different points in history, tomatoes had a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac and a deadly poison. We now know they’re neither, but they’re awfully good in a salad.
Watermelons, native to Africa, have been cultivated since 2000 BCE in Egypt. A ripe melon will sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle.
Zucchini is now available year round, but this and other soft-skinned squash are at their best during the spring and summer months.