7 Items to Pick Up at the Market Now

August 29, 2013

The end of summer is quickly approaching -- now's the time to get in all of the summer bounty you can before it’s gone! Head to your local farmers market and stock up on these 7 summer treats. It wouldn't hurt to brush up on your fun produce facts either; you probably have another BBQ or two to attend, and trust us, everyone is tired of talking about the weather.

1. Eggplant 
At the market, select eggplants that feel light in your hand -- heavier ones are more likely to have overly-developed seeds. 

Cook: Italian Pickled EggplantYotam Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce, or Eggplant Parmesan.

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Eggplant, from Food52

2. Corn
Did you know that every kernel on an ear of corn gets pollinated separately? So some kernels can get passed over if the wind, rain, or plant location aren’t just right. (Don’t worry, we’ve got tips for choosing perfect ears, no peeking required.)

Cook: Summer Corn Cakes, Grilled Corn with Basil Butter, or Amagansett Corn Salad.

Corn, from Food52

3. Okra
If you’re squeamish about slime, it’s best to cut the okra as little as possible.

Cook: Grilled Okra with Sriracha Lime Salt, Burnt Okra with Sauteed Potatoes and Basil, or Spicy Oven Roasted Okra.

Okra, from Food52

4. Tomatoes
You probably already know that tomatoes are fruit -- botanically speaking at least. Legally though, they’re vegetables, thanks to a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in 1893 designed to keep tariff laws in order. 

Cook: Heirloom Tomato and Lemon Mascarpone TartBrown Butter Tomatoes, or Sarah Leah Chase's Scalloped Tomatoes.

Tomatoes, from Food52

5. Stone Fruits: Peaches, Plums, & Nectarines 
Stone fruits are either freestone or clingstone, and those names pretty much say it all. The flesh in clingstone varieties cling to the stone (pit), while the flesh in freestone varieties easily separate from the stone.  

Cook: Chilled Tomato Peach Soup, Late Summer Plum Cake, or Tomato, Nectarine and Mozzarella Salad.

Stone Fruits, from Food52 

6. Summer Squash
Ready to really take it up a notch at your next social gathering? Start telling people that summer squash are just like dogs. You can either walk away and leave them to question your sanity, or you can go on to explain that like dogs, they can reproduce between varieties in the same species (but not the same family -- you can’t cross a zucchini with a watermelon). Don’t even get us started on hand-pollination.

Cook: Tuscan Grilled Zucchini & Summer Squash, Zucchini-Lemon Cookies, or Zucchini Crumble.

Summer Squash, from Food52

7. Melons
A spoonful of cantaloupe seeds might not sound all that appealing, but they don’t need to be relegated to the compost bin. All melon seeds are edible -- try roasting them just like pumpkin seeds and enjoy them as a snack.

Cook: Summer Melon Salad with Harissa, Feta, and MintWatermelon Paloma, or Quick-Pickled Cucumber-Melon Salad.

Melons, from Food52

Photos by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • EdieBSure
  • TheKosherGasgtronome
  • Lindsay-Jean Hard
    Lindsay-Jean Hard
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


EdieBSure August 29, 2013
I learned in my college botany class that the tomato was a berry.
TheKosherGasgtronome August 29, 2013
I picked up some okra and i really want to make spicy pickled okra, similar to Wickles brand...but I couldn't really find a suitable recipe...any recommendations?
Lindsay-Jean H. September 1, 2013
Marisa McClellan has a recipe for pickled okra in her book Food in Jars. You can get a signed copy of the book here - (and if you're in a rush, you can find the recipe here -
TheKosherGasgtronome September 2, 2013
Thanks so much for your reply
I actually followed a bread and butter pickle recipe, and then added dried Japones, and fresh Serrano to boost up the spicyness.