A Beginner's Guide to Incorporating In Season Produce

A Beginner's Guide to Incorporating In Season Produce

With summertime upon us, there are plenty of interesting fruits and vegetables in season, from rhubarb to summer squash. Adding in new, unfamiliar produce can be a real challenge (especially for newbie cooks), but this easy guide can help you successfully shake up your diet with some funky produce. Taken from my own adventures in learning about rhubarb, this guide applies to anyone trying out any new kind of produce.

 

  • After you decide on which kind of produce you'd like to master, search for just the right recipe. For me, it was important that the recipe be simple and the final product be something that I could easily envision becoming a part of my cooking routine. I know from past experience that I tend to put off meals that require lengthy, grandiose recipes, sometimes until the produce has even gone bad. My choice: Recipe 4 Living’s Rhubarb Custard!  
  • If you’re on a tight grocery budget, don’t break the bank trying to incorporate your new produce. It’s easy to decide on a recipe that uses esoteric and interesting ingredients, but those fancy spices and foods add up quickly. If affordability is an issue, opt for a recipe that mostly requires ingredients that you regularly use or have in your kitchen.
  • Be sure to find out what features you should be looking for in determining if the fruit or vegetable you’ve chosen is ripe. After a quick online search, I found that rhubarb should be crisp and dark pink or red, with unblemished leaves.
  • If you choose to go to a Farmers Market for your produce, feel free to ask the farmer for advice on how to use your chosen produce. He or she may have great tips that you never found online or in your cookbook! Some farmers are also open to letting you have a sample of the fruit or vegetable before you buy it.
  • Be patient with yourself when you cook with your new produce for the first time. As always, getting a recipe just right can take several attempts, particularly with unfamiliar ingredients or baking recipes.   
  • Trying out new things is a great way to grow as people and, when you’re tackling a new kind of fruit or vegetable, to improve cooking skills. Whether you’ve chosen rhubarb or eggplant, enjoy the challenge and know you’re getting even more benefits than the knowledge of how to prepare a great new dish.

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