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Top Ten Harvest Picks

Top Harvest Picks

Summer’s bounty is upon us, bringing with it a riot of fresh, good-for-you produce. Here’s how to make the most of what the season has to offer.

The Ultimate Guide to Harvest Season

Apples       Blueberries      

Corn

     Cucumber       Eggplant 

Apples 

Blueberries 

Corn 

Cucumber 

Eggplant 

Green Beans

Peaches Peppers Tomato Zucchini

Green Beans 

Peaches 

Peppers

Tomatoes

Zucchini






Apples

Apples

Nothing screams harvest season like a bushel of shiny apples. It’s especially fun to pick your own.

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
Crisp on the outside, sweet-tart on the inside, an unadorned apple is one of fall’s simplest pleasures. Kids love them in slices with a dab of peanut butter…no need to even sell them as a healthy snack. Adults will appreciate slices served alongside firm, sharp cheeses and a glass of chilled white wine.

Cooked
Heat renders apples soft, sweet and mellow—perfect for all manner of pies, crisps, cakes and crumbles. For a quick and cozy treat, slow-bake apples whole with a sprinkle of cinnamon and walnuts, then garnish with whipped cream.

Preserving
Apples can be canned into applesauce, apple butter and apple jam and jelly.  In every case, choose apples that are naturally sweet, so they require less sugar.  When making preserves, peel apples before cooking.

Freezing
Select full-flavored apples that are crisp and firm, not mealy.  Wash, peel, core and slice. To prevent darkening, blanch slices for 2 minutes in boiling water. Freeze on a cookie sheet then pack into containers.

Purchasing
Available canned as apple butter, applesauce and pie filling.

Great Apple Recipe Ideas!

Apple Recipe  Apple Recipe  Apple Recipe  Apple Recipe  Apple Recipe 

Apple-Pear
Salad
 

Apple Crisp 

Scrumptious
Apple Pie
 

Southern Apple
Crumble
 

Mini Apple
Crostatas
 



Blueberries

Blueberries

One serving of this super fruit contains almost 25 percent of the daily requirement of immunity-boosting vitamin C. A tasty way to build up reserves!

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
Brightly-flavored fresh blueberries work well with both sweet and savory dishes. Layer with yogurt and granola for a healthful breakfast, toss with mixed greens and grilled chicken or salmon for a summery salad, or top with sweetened whipped cream for a simple, delectable dessert.

Cooked
Blueberries maintain their sweet flavor, beautiful hue, and spherical shape when heated, making them a perfect choice for the beloved blueberry muffin and other baked goods. This versatile berry can also be reduced with sugar and lemon juice into a topping for pancakes, waffles, and French toast, and ice cream.

Preserving
Blueberries can be canned in the form of jam, jelly, syrup or juice.  Add lemon juice to retain the fruit's flavor and color.

Freezing
Select only ripe berries. Remove any leaves or stems.  Do not wash blueberries, which can result in tough skin.  Pack berries into containers, leaving headspace.  Wash before using.

Purchasing
Available canned in their juice and frozen whole.  Wild blueberries, often from Maine, tend to be smaller and sweeter, making them ideal for baking.

Great Blueberry Recipe Ideas! 

Blueberry  Blueberry  Blueberry  Blueberry  Blueberry 

Blueberry-Lemon
Tart
 

Fresh Blueberry
Pie
 

Easy Blueberry
Pancakes
 

Blueberry & Orange
Spinach Salad 

Lemon-Blueberry
Cupcakes 



Corn

Corn

Corn-on-the-cob, albeit the most fun, is just the beginning of what this golden grain can do.

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
Raw corn provides a sweet, delicate crunch to fresh salsa, simple tomato and corn salad, and savory relishes. Removing the kernels is easy: Simple peeling back husks and silks, stand cob upright, and slice length-wise with a knife.

Cooked
No picnic or barbecue would be complete without sweet corn on the cob. Remove the husk and silks before boiling ears in water…just don’t go too long…it only takes 2 minutes (then let stand for 10) or you’ll lose that golden sweetness. Add frozen kernels to corn muffins, vegetable soups, and creamy chowders. Or steam and serve with a dash of cayenne pepper for a warming dish on a chilly night.

Preserving
To can corn, remove husk and silk.  Blanch for 3 minutes in boiling water before cutting kernels from the cob to about 3/4 their depth.  Fill jars with kernels and cover with cooking liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace.  Do not shake or press down.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired.

Freezing
Remove husks and silks, then rinse cobs.  Blanch for 4 minutes. Cool and cut kernels from cob about 2/3 their depth.  Seal in containers or resealable bags.  To freeze whole cobs, blanch for 7 to 10 minutes, cool, and package.

Purchasing
Available canned in whole kernels or cream-style, and frozen in whole kernels.  Look for "sweet" on the label to ensure the best flavor when cooked.  Quick Picks: Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ Niblets® frozen corn.

Great Corn Recipe Ideas!

Corn  Corn  Corn  Corn  Corn 

Oven-Steamed
Herb Corn
 

Savory Corn
on a Stick

Roasted-Corn
Salsa
 

Grilled
Southwestern
Corn
 

Grilled Béarnaise
Corn & Potato
Packs
 



Cucumber    

Cucumber

Mild tasting and 90 percent water, cucumbers are actually technically a fruit. But come on, most of us usually prepare it as a vegetable.

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
Keep dishes cool as, well…a cucumber, by adding slices to a Greek salad, pureeing into a refreshing summer soup, or serving with spicy Middle Eastern plates for a palate-soothing crunch. Choose green, unripe cucumbers, because once they ripen to yellow, they tend to be bitter.  

Cooked
Cooking cucumbers intensifies their flavor. Try quickly sautéing with olive oil for a simple accompaniment to poultry or fish, or take a cue from Julia Child and bake them with butter, green onion, and herbs.

Preserving
Always choose fresh, crisp, not overly ripe "pickling cucumbers."  Most traditional dill and bread-and-butter pickle recipes require cukes to be cured for several hours in a solution of vinegar and seasonings.  Quicker, unprocessed "refrigerator" pickles will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Freezing
Forget about it...cucumbers do not freeze well.

Purchasing
Enjoy them in season as cucumbers are not sold frozen.

Great Cucumber Recipe Ideas!

Cucumber  Cucumber  Cucumber  Cucumber  Cucumber 

Creamy
Cucumbers
 

Basil & Crabmeat-
Topped
Cucumbers
 

Cucumber
Salad
 

Cold Cucumber
Soup
 

Easy
Refrigerator
Pickles
 



Eggplant

Eggplant

A late-summer purple star (no, we're not referring to Prince), eggplant shines in ethnic-inspired dishes.

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
Although safe to consume, raw eggplant tastes bitter—owing in part to its seeds, which contain nicotinoid alkaloids, a close relative of tobacco.

Cooked
Eggplant has the distinct ability to absorb the flavors it’s cooked with so use it to add substance to vegetable sides, grilled sandwiches, and pasta sauces. Salt the eggplant first to remove bitterness and excess moisture. Blend oven-softened eggplant with chickpeas for a new twist on hummus, or chopped leftovers with garlic and olive oil for a chunky spread.

Preserving
Wash and peel, then slice or cube eggplant before canning.  To remove any bitterness, sprinkle with salt and let stand 1 hour.  Press the eggplant to remove excess juice, then rinse well.  Blanch for 5 minutes in boiling water, drain and reserve liquid.  Pack into jars and cover with hot liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace.  Eggplant can also be pickled in vinegar and spices.

Freezing
Wash, peel and slice 1/3-inch thick. Blanch for 4 minutes in 1 gallon of boiling water containing 1/2 cup lemon juice.  Cool, drain and seal in containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Purchasing
Not readily available frozen or canned, but may be found jarred as a condiment or relish at specialty grocery stores.

Great Eggplant Recipe Ideas!

Eggplant  Eggplant  Eggplant  Eggplant  Eggplant 

Summer
Vegetable Pasta
 

Roasted
Vegetable Chili
 

Ratatouille
Salad
 

Eggplant
Parmesan
 

Roasted
Vegetable Pizza
 



Green Beans

Green Beans

Of the more than 130 snap bean varieties grown in the world, green beans are the sweetest.

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
Always choose beans that are green, crisp, and firm. For fresh summer salads and crudités platters, blanch beans for 4 to 6 minutes in boiling water until crisp-tender, then rinse with cold water to maintain the vegetable’s bright color.

Cooked
In addition to green bean casserole, try stir-frying, grilling, or adding beans to pasta or potato salad. Fresh herbs, toasted nuts, lemon juice, or caramelized shallots lend interest and more complex flavor to simply steamed beans.

Preserving
Wash beans and trim ends.  Leave whole or cut into 1-inch pieces.  Fill jars tightly with raw beans. Add 1 teaspoon of canning salt per quart to the jar, if desired.  Add boiling water, leaving 1-inch headspace.

Freezing
Wash beans in cold water and trim ends.  Blanch for 3 minutes. Drain, cool, and package in containers or resealable bags.

Purchasing
Available canned, and frozen whole, cut, and French-style.  Quick Pick: Green Giant® Cut Green Beans.

Great Green Bean Recipe Ideas!

Green Beans  Green Beans  Green Beans  Green Beans  Green Beans 

Garden Bean &
Onion Salad
 

Green Beans
with Browned
Butter
 

Green Beans with
Lemon Herb
Butter
 

Green Beans
with Pickled
Onions
 

Gemelli with
Fresh Green
Beans


Peaches

Peaches

“How do I know if a peach is ripe and ready to use?”

Get answers and tips on all your peach questions:

Pick up a peach and look at it. If it feels rock hard and looks green, then it’s not yet ripe enough to eat. Hold the peach and very lightly squeeze it. It needs to feel a bit soft as you touch it, then you know it is juicy and ripe to eat. Peaches need to have a sweet, peachy aroma to be ripe.

Peaches come in different varieties, some being white and some have are rosy so color is only one ripeness indicator.

If peaches aren’t ripe, keep them at room temperature until they soften and give a sweet aroma. Once they are ripe, they can be refrigerated for several days before using.

Preserving
Peaches can be preserved into butter, jam, jelly, chutney, salsa and pie filling.  Blanch and peel before canning, sprinkling with lemon juice or ascorbic acid to avoid discoloration.  Always use firm but juicy fresh peaches.

Freezing
Peaches can be preserved into butter, jam, jelly, chutney, salsa and pie filling.  Blanch and peel before canning, sprinkling with lemon juice or ascorbic acid to avoid discoloration.  Always use firm but juicy fresh peaches.

To freeze peaches, select only well-ripened fruit.  Wash, peel and slice peaches.  Sprinkle lemon juice or ascorbic acid over fruit to prevent browning.  Add 2/3 cup sugar to each quart and gently mix until dissolved.  Pack into containers, leaving some headspace.

Great Peach Recipe Ideas!

Peach  Peach  Peach  Peach  Peach 

Peach Cobbler 

Canadian Bacon &
Gouda Salad
 

Peachy Custard
Dessert
 

Fresh Peaches with
Amaretto Sauce 

Fresh Peach
Salsa
 


Peppers

Peppers

Although readily available year-round, bell peppers are at their best when fresh from a farm or garden.

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
Dubbed the “sweet pepper” for its flavor when ripened to red, yellow, or orange, the more bitter, unripened green pepper is equally suitable for snacking raw. Slice and serve with a creamy dip, stack on sandwiches, or add to green salads for color and crunch. 

Cooked
The mild-tasting, versatile bell pepper can be sautéed, stir-fried, stuffed, baked, grilled, or roasted with minimal seasoning or attention required. Simply remove the stem and seeds before cooking, then cut into desired shape and size before cooking. Roast them in bulk under the broiler or on the grill. Add sweet, smoky slabs to sandwiches or antipasto platters, or blend into pasta sauces.

Preserving
Select only firm, fresh peppers for canning. Remove cores and seeds, then blanch for 3 minutes.  Allow peppers to cool before flattening or cutting into quarters.  Fill jars loosely with peppers, add boiled water, leaving 1-inch headspace, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt if desired.

Freezing
Select only firm, fresh peppers.  Wash and remove stems and seeds.  Cut peppers in half or into 1/2-inch strips or rings.  Package raw, leaving no headspace.

Purchasing
Not readily available frozen, but can be found roasted in jars.

Great Pepper Recipe Ideas!

Peppers  Peppers  Peppers  Peppers  Peppers 

Chicken & Sweet
Pepper Stir-Fry
 

Grilled Bell Pepper
& Cheese Pizza
 

Pepper & Olive
Tomato Sauce
 

Green Beans with
Colored Peppers
 

Grilled Black Bean
& Rice Stuffed Peppers
 



Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Adored by many for its delicious versatility, the “love apple” reaches its juicy peak in summer. 

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
A red, ripe, falling-off-the-vine tomato needs little more than a sprinkling of salt to make it sing. Layer thick slices with basil leaves, Buffalo mozzarella, and a drizzle of olive oil to make for a simple, yet striking, caprese salad.

Cooked
Tomatoes take well to heat, softening in texture and deepening in flavor. For a quick pasta sauce or grilled steak accompaniment, sauté cherry tomatoes until the skins burst and the juices release. Beefsteak tomatoes have the same effect when cut in half and grilled.

Preserving
Before canning, boil tomatoes for 1 minute, then plunge into ice water.  Slide off skins and remove any soft spots.  Fill jar with whole or cut tomatoes, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to prevent spoilage and retain red color.

Freezing
To freeze fresh tomatoes, peel, seed and chop them; do not drain.  Place tomatoes in plastic containers or bags and freeze up to three months.  Use in recipes as you would canned tomatoes.

Purchasing
Not readily available frozen, but can be found canned in a variety of styles and seasonings.  Quick Picks: Muir Glen® Organic Whole Tomatoes, available in a variety of flavors.

Great Tomato Recipe Ideas!

Tomato  Tomato  Tomato  Tomato  Tomato 

Fresh Tomato &
Onion Salad
 

Fresh Tomato
Salsa
 

Penne Pasta &
Fresh Tomatoes
 

Fresh Tomato
Sauce
 

Fresh Tomato
& Garlic Penne
 



Zucchini

Zucchini

A prolific favorite among the summer squash family, this firm, fibrous vegetable has Italian roots.

Preparation Tips:

Fresh
Raw zucchini is a fine accompaniment for more flavorful dips and spreads. Small, farm-fresh zucchini tend to be more tender, making them ideal for snacking. 

Cooked
Heat is zucchini’s best friend, whether it's breaded and fried the Italian way, stewed with peppers and tomatoes into a French ratatouille, or simply sautéed with butter and finished with a squeeze of lemon. For a refreshing twist, sprinkle grilled slices with mint leaves and red pepper flakes. It’s also a favorite ingredient in moist sweet breads.

Preserving
Due to zucchini's porous texture, it's better to freeze this vegetable.

Freezing
Choose only young squash with tender skin.  Wash and cut in 1/2 inch slices. Blanch for 3 minutes.  Cool, drain and package, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Purchasing
Not readily available frozen or canned.

Great Zucchini Recipe Ideas!

Zucchini  Zucchini  Zucchini  Zucchini  Zucchini 

Zucchini Bread 

Impossibly Easy
Zucchini Pie
 

Zucchini & Tomato
Skillet Dinner
 

Baked Zucchini
Sticks

Herbed Carrots
& Zucchini
 


 

Bumper Crop

What To Do With a Bumper Crop
 

Fresh produce presents a unique challenge due to its perishable nature…and often bountiful yield. If you find yourself with a bumper crop this season, share the wealth with Feeding America. 

Many of the food banks in this nationwide network accept fresh produce donations from local gardeners and farmers. Fruits and vegetables that keep and travel well, such as squash, cucumbers, and peppers, are best. For a food bank near you, visit http://feedingamerica.org.



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