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What’s in season in August (and exactly how to eat it)

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What’s in season in August (and exactly how to eat it)

As I write this, I am savoring every last bite of a perfectly juicy watermelon that I paired with mint and feta cheese for perhaps the simplest salad ever. At this time of year in Texas, melons are out of this world, so it seems like a fitting way to set the stage for an article on eating with the seasons. I think going to the market knowing exactly what is in season in August makes for a perfect shopping experience.

In the past, I never understood the point of obsessing over seasonal produce. Let’s be honest: Given the global reach of most grocery stores, you can find just about any common fruit or vegetable any time of year these days. Pumpkins, tomatoes, berries, citrus, and asparagus … the list goes on. And, if what you’re looking for isn’t in the produce section, chances are you will find a high-quality frozen option.

But, it turns out that eating seasonally has real health benefits, not to mention it tastes best at the designated time of year as well. Now that I know what fruit is in season in August, not only do I enjoy perfectly delicious locally grown ingredients, but I have a lot of fun going to my local farmers market and choosing the freshest seasonal produce.

Benefits of eating seasonal products

So why should you go the extra mile to eat seasonally? Well, there are a few reasons. But let’s start with the simplest: the product tastes best when it is in season. It’s as simple as that.

If you want incredibly tasty food, you should start with produce that is in season and does not stay frozen as it travels across continents or hemispheres.

But there are a couple of other good reasons to focus on seasonally appropriate products. When fruits and vegetables are in season, they can fully ripen and develop in the sun without any unnatural help. That means more flavor and better quality. And finally, it’s important to eat harvested produce at its best because they retain more of their inherent nutritional value.

A really useful table

Right now, we are in the last month of summer. There’s still a fair amount of typical summer foods in season, but we can also expect to see some foods typically associated with fall on the shelves.

reader summary image

What fruits and vegetables are in season in August?

  • Acorn squash
  • apples
  • apricots
  • blueberries
  • pumpkin
  • Cantaloupe
  • corn
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • figs
  • green beans
  • Kiwi
  • swede
  • lettuce
  • mangoes
  • okra
  • peaches
  • Peppers
  • plums
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • summer squash
  • chard
  • Tomatoes
  • watermelon
  • winter squash
  • zucchini

With that said, it’s important to note that seasonal produce varies depending on your location. For example, tomatoes were at their best for us in Austin in late June, but they appear to be at their best right now for more northern (and temperate) cities like New York and Oregon.

Recipes to cook this month

Alright then it’s easy to know the correct information, but it is completely different to put it into practice. So to give it a boost, we’ve rounded up some of the tastiest recipes that use the prettiest fruits and veggies of the season right now.

Scroll down and we’d love to hear what seasonal recipes you’re cooking up this month.

How to buy strawberries

A fresh strawberry has a strong fragrant flavor and vibrant color. Look for berries that are firm to the touch, medium in size, and without bruises.

What to cook with strawberries

Why we love it: There is nothing like this tasty combination, it is earthy, bright and spicy, a real feast for the senses. It’s a restaurant-quality recipe that we can’t get enough of.

Hero ingredient: Creamy goat cheese complements the rich flavors of this salad.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy butternut squash

When it comes to finding your vegetables in season in August, you might be surprised to see pumpkin on the list. Keep your eyes peeled for a pumpkin that feels heavy for its size. You’ll want one with a thick neck and a small bulb, as these produce the most meat.

What to cook with butternut squash

Why we love it: This recipe is not only delicious, but perfect for those of us who loathe the physical labor of having to peel and chop squash. It is as beautiful as it is delicious and easy to make.

Hero ingredient: Another ingredient for August: figs!

Get the recipe here.

How to buy apricots

Ideally, we would pick our apricots directly from a tree. But instead, try to find firm, plump apricots with just a little softness. Avoid those that are pale orange or yellow, they should have a deep orange-gold color.

What to cook with apricots

Why we love it: You won’t regret turning on the oven for these hot, fresh apricots. Once the sugars caramelize, it creates a deep sweetness that is perfectly juxtaposed with the creamy vanilla mascarpone. They are so simple and they beautifully highlight the best of summer products.

Hero ingredient: Pistachios and toasted coconut give this delight a delicious nutty crunch.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy eggplant

Look out for eggplants with smooth, shiny skin. Test for maturity by pressing a finger lightly against the skin; if it leaves a trace, the aubergine is ripe. Smaller eggplants tend to be sweeter, less bitter, have thinner skin, and fewer seeds.

What to cook with eggplant

Why we love it: It’s the perfect alternative when you’re craving the delicious flavors of an eggplant parmigiana but want to skip the carb filling. It couldn’t be easier to make either, just toss it on the grill and fill with classic Caprese fillings.

Hero ingredient: The toasted pine nuts add a flavorful and crunchy touch.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy mangoes

Surprisingly, color is not the best indicator of ripeness when it comes to picking a mango. You will want to gently squeeze the mango and choose the ones that have a slight effect. They become softer as they mature and sometimes have a fruity aroma on the stem.

What to cook with mangoes

Why we love it: If you crave Thai flavors like lime, peanuts, and herbs, then check out this glorious soba noodle salad. You can grill a steak and toss it on your salad or keep it light and vegetable and top with a creamy avocado for a touch of richness.

Hero ingredient: The crunchy coconut takes this salad to the top.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy watermelon

When it comes to choosing the perfect watermelon, its coloring helps indicate how ripe it is. Choose a melon with a strong and consistent pattern. The green stripes should be a deep, dark green, and the pale stripes should be a light ceamy yellow. You should also give it a hit. Touch the watermelon: if you hear a deep, hollow sound, it indicates that it is juicy and ripe.

What to cook with watermelon

Why we love it: It’s a refreshing, classic, and ultra-summery salad that’s perfect for those long, hot August nights. The subtle flavor of the cucumber and the creaminess of the feta cheese enhance the salad without overpowering these sweet and smooth flavors.

Hero ingredient: A shallot adds a bit of crunch, sharpness, and aroma.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy figs

You’re going to want to give your figs a puff. Ripe figs should smell fresh, not stinky or fermented. Choose soft figs but avoid soft ones.

What to cook with figs

Why we love it: This salad is perfection on a plate, if you ask me! The creamy burrata and sweet, delicious figs make for a simple yet incredibly refined dish. The fresh mint adds a bit of herbaceous shine and ties it all together. I will eat this over and over again!

Hero ingredient: Candied walnuts add a little crunchy sweetness that can’t be beaten.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy peaches

Gently squeeze your peach, you want to feel a little soft. Avoid peaches that are wilted and be sure to smell them to make sure they have a nice, classic peach scent.

What to cook with peaches

Why we love it: There is nothing easier (or more delicious) than these Honey Grilled Peaches and Cream. Camille recommends buying them on the firmer side so they will hold their shape and won’t fall apart when hitting the hot racks.

Hero ingredient: Give your peaches a pinch of flaked sea salt to really enhance the entire dish.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy tomatoes

Look for a tomato that feels firm but has a slight high. It should be very aromatic near the stem and have a good weight for its size. Make sure to avoid tomatoes with blemishes, dark spots, or bruises.

What to cook with tomatoes

Why we love it: There is nothing better than this perfect cake. It has a base combination of cream cheese and goat cheese, making it ultra creamy and spicy. It beautifully highlights the sweet, sunny quality of the tomatoes, and makes for a delicious summer dish.

Hero ingredient: All the bagel seasoning adds a twist.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy zucchini

Look out for small, firm zucchini with bright green skin. The smaller the better, as zucchini turn bitter as they grow.

What to cook with zucchini

Why we love it: If you are a carbonara lover, you will definitely want to try this twist on the classic pasta dish. It’s a creamy dream that’s packed with greens, texture, and flavor.

Hero ingredient: Frozen peas are Camille’s favorite vegetable shortcut for pasta, they add color, nutrients and kids love them.

Get the recipe here.

How to buy blueberries

Evaluate your blueberries to make sure they are uniform in size, soft, dry, plump, and firm. A reddish tinge could mean they are not fully ripe, so make sure they are a deep purple or almost black hue.

What to cook with blueberries

Why we love it: There’s no better way to start your morning than with a delicious oatmeal, and this baked recipe is easy, healthy, and delicious. It’s basically a cross between bread pudding and banana bread – ideal!

Hero ingredient: The seeds and nuts help give you tons of energy to fuel you in the morning.

Get the recipe here.

This post was originally published on August 8, 2020 and has since been updated.

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