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Okra, Thyme, and Other Fresh Produce for June

Okra, Thyme, and Other Fresh Produce Ripe for June

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This late in spring, there are so many fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs ready to be harvested. Some you may be familiar with and enjoy every year, while others may be unchartered territory. If you haven’t tried some of these unfamiliar foods, now is the perfect time.

This time of year is a fabulous time to visit your local farmers’ market. Farmers throughout the country grow different varieties of oldies but goodies or foods you may never had the opportunity to try. (Load your farmer's market tote with Cilantro, Sorrel, and 8 More Fresh Produce Picks for May.)

Photo: Corbis Images

Green Peas

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Also called English peas, these green treasures come in their own pretty packages. The pods aren't edible, but inside you’ll find tender, luscious peas. Although shelling can take some time and patience, it’s totally worth it. Enjoy munching on them raw or use in any recipe that calls for frozen peas.

Photo: Corbis Images

Thyme

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One tablespoon of this member of the mint family has a mere three calories, but packs in eight percent of the recommended daily amount of the antioxidant vitamin C. It also has smaller amounts of vitamin A, iron, and manganese. Choose fresh thyme that has bright green leaves and avoid those that are wilted. To store, wash, shake off excess water, wrap in a paper towel and then place in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to seven days.

Photo: Corbis Images

Lavender

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You may be used to seeing lavender in hand soaps and body washes, but this relative of mint can be used in cooking too. Both the flower and leaven are edible and have a pleasant, yet slightly bitter taste. Lavender, nicknamed “the herb of love,” compliments citrus and fruit flavors. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes like salads, lamb dishes, and cocktails.

Photo: Corbis Images

Spring Broccoli

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This late spring veggie is perfect for broccoli salads. Just don’t forget to use the stalks too—they're also packed with nutrients and taste delicious. One cup of fresh broccoli provides 30 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. They also contain over 100 percent of your recommended daily amount of vitamins C and K. (Take advantage of this season's fresh produce with 10 Colorful Salad Recipes for Spring.)

Photo: Corbis Images

Dandelion Greens

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We;re not talking about the dandelions that overgrow on your front lawn! Some farmers grow different, larger varieties for their tasty greens. Dandelion greens have a slightly bitter taste that isn’t overwhelming, so try chopping them and adding to salads and pizza, or sautéing them with a touch of olive oil and garlic.

Photo: Corbis Images

Cherries

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There are more than 900 varieties of cherries grown around the world. They vary in sweetness, color, and flavor. When you’re at the market, look for Bing cherries which are red, Rainier cherries which are yellow with a pink blush, and Morello cherries with bright red skins and a sour flavor. Whether sweet or sour, cherries tend to make a fabulous dessert. 

Photo: Corbis Images

Garlic Scapes

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Only in season a few weeks, garlic scapes can be found at your farmers’ market or CSA (community supported agriculture) box. So take full advantage of these delicious, curly green shoots now. Scapes grow off the bulb of garlic and have a mild garlic flavor and hearty texture. Sauté them and toss with pasta or in omelets. You can also chop them like scallions and use as a garnish.

Photo: Corbis Images

Limes

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Limes are the most acidic of all citrus fruit. Both limes and lime juice can be substituted in most any recipe that calls for lemons. Try squeezing fresh lime into any non-creamy soup to liven up its flavor, adding lime juice to your favorite store-bought or homemade guacamole, or adding fresh lime juice to a stir-fry. (Did you know that limes are one of the Top 50 Summer Diet Foods for Weight Loss?)

Photo: Corbis Images

Kohlrabi

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This relative of cabbage may be funny looking, but it’s also underappreciated. The outer skin can be purple, green, or white, while the inner flesh is white and crisp—and the bright green leaves are edible. Kohlrabi can be sautéed, boiled and mashed, or sliced and baked. It pairs well with vegetables like potatoes, radishes, carrots, and onions.

Photo: Corbis Images

Okra

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Okra is one of those veggies people either love or hate. Oftentimes, okra is overcooked, which gives it a slimy texture—and makes haters out of some folks. If you’re not an okra fan, perhaps it’s time to give it another go. This time, wash the pods carefully and soak for 30 minutes with water and a splash of lemon juice (this helps avoid the sliminess).

Photo: Corbis Images

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