June is the ultimate shoulder season between spring and summer, offering up the last of early spring fruits and vegetables and the beginning of summer’s abundance. Now is the time to grab the last of spring’s favorites before they’re gone. It’s also the perfect time to start indulging on perfectly ripe berries, which fortunately show up week after week, advancing our taste buds through a rainbow of choices. Read on for our favorite farmers markets finds for June.
Berries come into season right about mid-May to June, depending on your location and climate. California-grown strawberries are available in grocery stores across the country starting in early May, but it’s best to purchase locally grown berries, which are sweetest immediately after harvesting and rarely require additional sweeteners. Hot temperatures in spring mean earlier berries.
How to Store Berries
Choose just-ripe berries for eating fresh and slightly unripe berries for preserving and jams. Berries do not keep for long, so plan to eat within two days of purchasing. If you must store them for longer, set berries out in single rows between a layer of paper towel, which will help inhibit decay from the fruits touching.
How to Use Berries
Berries and cream is a perfect dessert that doesn’t need explaining. and berries are a natural for all kinds of simple summer desserts.
But savory options also abound for berries. Smash berries into a paste and blend with oil and vinegar for a fruity salad dressing.
Roast berries until slightly dehydrated which concentrates their flavor. These partially dried fruits can be folded into meatloaf and meatballs, used as a simple garnish for roasted fish, or tossed into a salad with fresh fruits for a textural element that is surprising and pleasant. You can also steep berries in vinegar or booze for a homemade preserve that is simple to make.
Go crazy perusing our big basket o' berry recipes.
Artichokes are the flowers that bloom from tall perennial plants that come into season late spring through early summer. They may be harvested early and eaten whole as baby artichokes, or left on the stalks to mature into fatter globes that need some cleaning. As artichokes grow, they develop spikes on their leave tips and the inner core, or heart, becomes thickly covered in fine hairs that can be scooped out with a small spoon. Look for artichokes that are compact with thick, fleshy leaves. Store artichokes in the fridge, wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel and stored in a plastic bag, which helps to keep them moist.
How to Use Artichokes
Simply prepared, artichokes can be steamed in a shallow pool of water until the leaves easily come off when pulled. Dip the bottom of the leaves into melted butter or seasoned aioli, working your way to the heart and stem, which can be eaten whole. They also make crowd-pleasing dips, and are great stuffed, too!
Baby artichokes are delicious when roasted. Do as the Italians do and cut them in half, tossing them with olive oil, garlic, mint and white wine and then roast until tender.
Sooo many artichoke recipes.
Sugar Snap and Shell Peas
A cool season crop, snap peas and shelling peas are planted and harvested in spring – few will make it past June. Snap peas (and snow peas) can be eaten whole; their pods are sweet and tender. Shelling peas, like English shell peas, have thick, fibrous pods that are meant to be shucked. Frozen green peas are made from this variety of plant. Choose firm, green pods when buying from the market and steer clear of any pods that are wrinkled (from dehydration or age) or have softened ends – a sign of early decay. If stored properly, peas can last for a week or more. Hold peas in a small brown paper bag or wrap in a linen cloth and store in the crisper trays of the fridge.
How To Use Peas
Snap peas are wonderful eaten fresh. Chop them into thin slivers for salads, dip whole pods into onion dip for snacking or eat them plain. They cook quickly and can be blanched for one minute then tossed in butter and herbs. When the pods are blistered under the broiler, snap peas turn into a charred, savory side dish.
Shell peas must be shucked, pods composted, and then briefly cooked. Raw, they contain thick starches that aren’t very sweet or tasty. Like snap peas, blanch shell peas for one minute until bright green in color and toss in butter and herbs or plunge into an ice water bath to cool quickly, adding to salads. These cooked peas can also be pureed into sauces, as a condiment or a side dish. Blanched shell peas can be used in place of or as a partial substitute for chickpeas in most recipes. Try them in hummus or falafel.
Green pea recipes for miles.