There’s no better time to savor the bursting flavors of fresh produce than summertime. We’ve rounded up tips, tricks and recipes to help you take advantage of some of our favorite seasonal veggies. Did we mention they all pair well with mushrooms?
Choosing the Best Produce
When it comes to picking up the best produce at your local grocery store or farmers market, a general rule of thumb is to look over the entire fruit or vegetable to make sure it’s free of significant bruising and blemishes.
Here’s what else to look out for:
- Carrots: Pick carrots that are free of roots and have a smooth skin.
- Celery: The stalks and leaves should be green.
- Corn: Husks should be bright green in color and free of slimy silk.
- Cucumbers: The skin should be green all around and free of any yellow coloring.
- Mushrooms: Select mushrooms with a fresh, smooth appearance. The surfaces should be dry, not dried out, and plump.
- Peppers: Choose peppers that appear shiny and feel firm.
- Tomatoes: The stem of tomatoes should smell earthy and overall should feel heavy. Avoid any tomatoes with wrinkled skin.
- Zucchini: Choose zucchini that’s under 8 inches in length, has bright skin and feels firm near the stem.
Storing Your Produce
There’s no universal way to store produce, but it’s important to know how each vegetable should be stored to ensure you are maximizing its freshness and shelf-life.
- Carrots: Before storing in the fridge, cut off the top or the leaves from each carrot.
- Celery: Wrap celery in aluminum foil and place in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
- Corn: Place corn, husk intact, in a loose plastic bag in the fridge.
- Cucumbers: To avoid cucumbers turning mushy before enjoying, wrap each cucumber in a paper towel and store in a sealable bag. While cucumbers can be stored in the fridge, the countertop is the best place.
- Mushrooms: Store mushrooms in original packaging or in a porous paper bag for prolonged shelf life. Some mushrooms may keep for up to one week in the fridge.
- Peppers: Keep bell peppers in the veggie drawer of the fridge.
- Tomatoes: Store tomatoes at room temperature.
- Zucchini: Store zucchini in a paper bag in the fridge for up to five days.
Washing Your Produce
Remember: Wash all produce before enjoying. Generally, most produce can be rinsed under cold running water. Whether you use a brush is up to you. Afterwards, gently wipe dry using a clean cloth or paper towel.
There’s much debate about the correct way to wash mushrooms! The “dirt” you see on mushrooms is actually peat moss which is edible, but can be easily brushed off. We recommend avoiding soaking or running your mushrooms under water for too long. You can give a light rinse to closed-veiled mushrooms (where the gills are not visible), but avoid getting visible gills wet, as they will absorb the water and can become soggy.
Our expert opinion: Give your mushrooms a quick rinse and pat dry with a paper towel or simply brush off any debris with a damp paper towel.
Cooking With Your Produce
Now that you have all your fresh vegetables, it’s time to put them to delicious use.
Mediterranean Mushroom-Zucchini Boats
What’s summer without grilling? Add these mushroom zucchini boats next time you fire up the grill for an easy and flavorful dinner.
Marinated Mushroom 7-Layer Salad
No boring salads here! This layered salad combines oodles of fresh veggies and herbs. Even better, marinated white buttons add the finishing touch for a bite of tanginess and meaty texture.
Pepper Burrito “Bowls”
Discover a new family favorite with these customizable stuffed peppers filled with portabellas, red onion, tomatoes and corn.
Blended Asian Beef Bowl With Cucumber and Carrot Salad
To put it simply, this recipe is packed FULL of flavor! Tangy cucumber and carrot salad complements an umami-rich crimini mushroom and ground beef blended base.
Blended Bison and Mushroom Burgers
Don’t stop at just topping your blended burger with veggies! Swap the bun for lettuce leaves for double the amount of fresh produce.
🚨 BEFORE YOU GO 🚨
Have you entered the #BlendedBurgerContest yet? Now through June 25, cook an original blended burger for a chance to win. The Mushroom Council and Food Network will be awarding one home cook $10K and one professional* $10K for their blended burgers.
It’s as easy as…
- Develop an original blended burger recipe made with at least 25% chopped cultivated mushrooms** in the patty.
- Submit your recipe and a recipe photo using the official entry form at FoodNetwork.com/blendedburgercontest.
- (Optional): Share a photo and description of your burger on Instagram using #BlendedBurgerContest.
*A professional is anyone who has been employed to develop, cook or commercialize recipes in any manner, including chefs, food preparation professionals, cookbook authors and food product developers.
**Eligible mushroom varieties include store-bought white button, crimini, portabella, shiitake, oyster, enoki, beech, maitake, trumpet and lion’s mane.