Every 1-2 months, Diversivore launches two new thematic features. This month’s Ingredient Page feature is dedicated to the spectacular summer produce that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Keep coming back for updates and recipes related to this theme, or subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out on anything new.
I took up preserving when I moved to the Vancouver area. The incredible bounty of local summer produce was so astonishing but so fleeting, it left me wanting to find ways to use as much as possible in the time I had available. And while I’m incredibly happy that I started doing that (and my garage is full of jams, pickles, chutneys, and whole preserved fruits), I’m still trying to figure out how to make the most of the season. While I’m all over the peaches, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes and melons, it’s easy to let some of the less common fruits and veggies slip through the proverbial cracks at this time of the year. So this month, Diversivore’s Ingredient Pages are going to be dedicated to some of the unsung heroes of the summer produce bonanza.
Don’t get me wrong – the summer classics are classics for a reason, and you’ll probably see quite a few of those tasty treats starring in recipes over the next few months, but it’s worth seeking out some of the forgotten treats and odd-balls. Not only can they be really fun to work with, they often provide novel flavours that can enliven your summer cooking in ways you might not imagine. Just think about heirloom tomatoes – they’re all the rage now, but it wasn’t too long ago that people would do a comedic double-take at a big purple-and-green ridged tomato sitting on a market shelf. Once the world rediscovers these foods, good things start to happen.
Rediscovery is actually a poignant part of why I chose this theme for the summer. Many adventurous cooks (myself included) embrace novelty and seek out new foods, but it’s worth remembering that most of these aren’t truly new. The proliferation of modern convenience food and international marketing led to a push away from local and seasonal food in favour of widely available, easily transported foods. That left a lot of the more delicate, rare, or highly local foods in the lurch. But now that we’re seeing a shift back towards the local/seasonal mindset, we have a chance to once again embrace some spectacular foods that would otherwise not end up on the average grocery store shelf. And if enough people embrace these foods, we’ll start to see change even at the big box stores; thanks to changes in eating habits, I can now get black radishes, chayote squash, and hami melon at many of the big chain grocery stores here. That was unthinkable twenty years ago.
So I hope you’ll join along with me this month as I set out to rediscover some forgotten summer produce (like the jostaberries in the banner image above). Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and to regularly check in on the Ingredient and Pantry Pages here on the site, as new content is always being added. If you’ve got a summer fruit or veggie that you think warrants a little more recognition, let me know in the comments below, send me an email ([email protected]) or get in touch on social media (@diversivore on Twitter, FB, and Instagram). And don’t forget to hit up your local farmer’s markets, and talk to your local grocer about what they have access to – there may be more than you realize!
And one last thing…
I’m also very happy to say that July 1st marked Diversivore’s 6 month birthday! Half a year! WOOHOO! thanks to everybody who’s joined along with me so far – your support and input have meant a lot to me. Here’s looking forward to the next 6!