From Radish to Eggplant: August Produce to Savor

Ah, August. The month of weeklong vacations, beach barbecues, the stillest heat there ever was, and the last few weeks of summer freedom. Luckily, the winding down of summer doesn’t have to mean the winding down of vegetable season, and plenty of our July favorites–corn, cukes, and tomatoes–are still widely available.

Here, we add to our list of seasonal summer vegetables to bring you some of the later bloomers—these vegetables are all available in the second half of summer, even continuing into fall. We’ve also shared some of our favorite ways to cook them, as well as yummy recipes that highlight these delicious summer vegetables.

Gorgeous Seasonal Produce for August

Wax Beans
Known for their distinct pale yellow hue, wax beans have a sweet, nutty, mild flavor. Prepare them as you would regular green beans—blanching is a great option to keep the beans crisp and fresh, or try roasting them en papillote (French for “in parchment”) for a deeper flavor.
Try: Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Wax Beans & Red Quinoa en Papillote with Shallot Butter, Barley-Wax Bean Salad with Golden Beets & Heirloom Cucumbers

Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas, like snow peas, are classified as mangetout, or French for “eat all.” This refers to the edibility of the shell of the pea, unlike the English peas that have a tougher, more fibrous shell. Sugar snap peas add a crunch and a freshness to any summer dish—try sautéing them with shiitake mushrooms for a vibrant side to any meat or fish.
Try: Poached Salmon with Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms, Sugar Snap Peas & Red Rice

Radishes are generally classified as either ‘spring/summer’ or ‘winter’ radishes, depending on when they’re harvested. Summer radishes are most commonly thought of as the small, round European radishes that are best eaten raw or lightly cooked—crisp and peppery, these roots add a clean bite to summer favorites like our seared chicken paillard.
Try: Summer Corn & Vegetable Chowder, Chicken Paillards topped with Endive, Radishes & Haricots Verts

Summer Squash
Summer squashes include crookneck, patty pan, and other heirloom varieties, ranging in color from yellow and orange to deep greens. You can also eat the squash blossoms, the beautiful orange flowers available only in the summer months; these have a delicate flavor that’s complemented wonderfully by brown butter, as in our  gorgeous gnocchi dish.
Try: Fresh Gnocchi with Squash Blossoms and Lemon Brown Butter, Stuffed Squash with Caesar Chicory Salad

Pea Shoots
The tendrils and leaves of the traditional garden pea plant, pea shoots are harvested just a few weeks after sprouting, when they’re still tender and bursting with the flavor of fresh peas. Pea shoots make a great base for salads, and are delicious in sandwiches, pastas, and even as a substitute for basil in pesto. For an Asian twist, try them sautéed in garlic, as is often done in Chinese restaurants.
Try: Baked Quinoa “Falafel” with Radish & Pea Shoot Salad

Though many of us are only familiar with deep purple eggplants, they actually get their name from a white, egg-shaped variety. You can also find green and purple- white striped eggplants, which are sometimes referred to as “graffiti” eggplants. Be sure to check out the Japanese and Chinese varieties, which are in season now, too—skinnier than globe eggplants, these are a little firmer and the best type for grilling.
Try: Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Eggplant, Eggplant Rollatini with Lemony Ricotta & Garlic Bread

A Summer Dinner: Seared Trout with Peach & Arugula Salad

Let’s talk about why sweet and savory are so good together.

In this dish, sweet peach, spicy arugula, and fragrant tarragon conspire to turn crispy trout into an extraordinary dinner. And while spicy arugula and fragrant tarragon (and fingerling potatoes! and almonds!) are good on their own, it’s the peaches here that set the dish apart. 

To make a dish more tasty than usual, it helps to have its flavors hit several different notes. Two of those are sweet and savory.

We tend to think that sweet tastes below in dessert, after we’ve eaten our due savory courses. But if you think about some of the most delicious delicacies, you’ll find the two combined. Chocolate covered pretzels boast are better because they offer both sweet and savory notes. Many chefs pair melon or figs with salty prosciutto. Many Southeast Asian dishes, like these noodles, contain more sugar than you’d imagine, to balance out the sour, salty, and bitter notes that are instrumental to every dish.

So, back to the peach.

In summer, ripe peaches give off the scent of honey. Their juices are incredibly sweet, meant to drip off your chin when you take a bite. All those sugary notes provide just the complement to the other savory flavors in this dish: those rich almonds, that spicy arugula, that tangy dressing. By the time you’ve piled the salad high on top of the crispy trout, you’ll have made a meal that’s balanced, both in terms of health and flavor. Enjoy!

We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this summer. This week, the topic is peaches! You can see the other bloggers’ delicious creations by following the links below.

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Peach Kiwi Salsa
Chez Us: Upside Down Peach Bourbon Cake
The Heritage Cook: Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone Filling
Virtually Homemade: Peach Cobbler Muffins
Made By Michelle: Mint Peach Popsicles
Taste With The Eyes: The BLP Sandwich (Bacon, Lettuce and Peach)
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Healthy Peach Crisp Smoothie
Red or Green: Spiced Peach Daiquiri
Feed Me Phoebe: Peach Lassi
Domesticate Me: Grilled Halibut Tacos with Peach Salsa
Weelicious: Kenya’s Peach Cake
Blue Apron Blog: Seared Trout with Peach and Arugula Salad
The Sensitive Epicure: Grilled Peaches with Greek Yogurt, Honey, Lime Zest and Vanilla
Daily*Dishin: Blackberry Cheesecake with Fresh Peach Topping
Devour: Chia Seed Pudding with Peaches
FN Dish: 5 Unsung Sides of the Summer Peach

Barley-Wax Bean Salad with Golden Beets & Heirloom Cucumbers

Cucumber varieties fall into one of three categories. First, there are slicing cucumbers. Next comes pickling cucumbers. And, finally, we’ve got burpless. And tell us – who would choose pickling or slicing when you’ve got a type called burpless? Burpless cucumbers have fewer seeds and a more mild taste than the other varieties. (You might have already tried burpless cucumbers in the form of an English cucumber in our chickpea-cucumber salad or our avocado-cucumber maki.)

These heirloom burpless cucumbers are one of four vegetables that really make this grain salad great. We make and eat a lot of grain salads in the summer, from farro & frisée salad to tabbouleh. With a grain as their base, these salads hit a perfect balance between being light and leaving you totally satisfied.

To make this barley number, we chose four gorgeous vegetables to start: wax beans, healthful yellow beets, a big red onion, and the infamous burpless cucumber. We took those ingredients, prepped and trimmed them, and then threw them into a big mixing bowl with barley–a nutrient-rich, quick-cooking grain that adds chewiness and heft to the salad.

After we dress the salad and arrange the pretty yellow beets on top, we add the final touch: shavings of pecorino cheese. Pecorino Romano adds nuttiness and an extra point of umami to the crunchy, crispy cucumbers and summery wax beans.

We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this summer. This week, the topic is cucumbers. You can see the other bloggers’ delicious cucumber creations by following the links below.

The Lemon Bowl: Japanese Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Burmese Cucumber Watermelon Composed Salad
Domesticate Me: California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing
Taste With The Eyes: Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi with Shrimp and Minari
Devour: Cucumber and Mint Lemonade 
Haute Apple Pie: Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Cucumber, Carrot and Onion Refrigerator Pickles
Red or Green: Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho
Virtually Homemade: Cucumber Tomato Bruschetta
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Neer Mor — Zested South Indian Buttermilk with Cucumber
Weelicious: Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Blue Apron Blog: Barley Salad with Heirloom Cucumbers & Golden Beets
The Sensitive Epicure: Pimm’s Cups and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
FN Dish: Pickles Past the Jar

How to Choose and Store Your Summer Tomatoes

All summer long, we gorge on tomatoes. We eat them raw, with olive oil and salt, in thick slices on burgers, baked in a crostata, chopped and seasoned in a panzanella, and on top of any salad. We feast our eyes and our stomachs on yellow cherry tomatoes, giant multi-colored Mr. Stripeys, and heirloom Jersey tomatoes. Many farms now grow many heirloom varieties of tomatoes, which come from older seeds and over have more flavor than the newer brands. Those are the kind we look for to send to you.

While it’s hard to go wrong with summer tomatoes, here’s your summer guide to help ensure that your tomato consumption is very, very right.

What’s your favorite way to eat summer tomatoes? Tell us in the comments!

The Look

Tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The most traditional look is round, red, and medium-sized. But don’t shy away from trying tomatoes that are less apparently perfect. Some heirloom strains look positively ugly–brown-ish, cracked, and uneven. Yet those are often the tastiest types, and you don’t want to miss out. Whether yellow, red, orange, or purple, a tomato’s skin should always lie firm on the surface, with no mushy parts. Beyond that, stay open-minded when assessing the aesthetics of a tomato and make it a point to sample any fine- or ugly-looking specimen you see.

The Scent

While the look of tomatoes has a huge range, all excellent tomatoes have one characteristic in common: they smell great. The scent of a perfectly ripe tomato will make you think of summer: a combination of grass, dirt, sunshine, and fruit. If you don’t get a summery whiff from your tomato, especially right around the stem, the flavor may be lacking too. Head to the next farmstand.


Keep your tomatoes on the counter in a cool, shaded spot. Never put tomatoes in the refrigerator. We’re serious! Never. When tomatoes go in the fridge, their flesh chills and becomes unappealingly mealy. At the same time, their flavor vanishes. This is not good. You’ll need a whole lot of salt to spruce up a refrigerated tomato. Don’t make the sacrifice. The optimal temperature for tomato storage is 60 to 65°F. Since that range can be hard to find in the summer time, we recommend you look for the coolest spot in your kitchen apart from the fridge and store the tomatoes there. Then, plan to eat them within two days, while they’re fresh.


Recipes for tomatoes abound! We’ve already shared tomato jam, panzanella, tabbouleh salad, crostata, and salmon burgers, We’ll be sending out many more wonderful tomato recipes all summer long. If your tomato craving can’t wait for your next Blue Apron box, here’s what we recommend: take a great tomato, slice it, sprinkle on salt, pepper, and olive oil and eat with a slice of fresh mozzarella. There is hardly anything better.

Dinner Conversation: Farmers’ Markets Everywhere and Veggies in Your Meals

Each week, we round up posts, videos, and even playlists to entertain you while you cook, and provide conversation fodder for tonight’s Blue Apron dinner. We hope you enjoy!

Veg Out – Daily Muse
5 ways to add more veggies to your everyday meals so that all that produce you bring home from the beautiful farmstands this season doesn’t go to waste. Plus, vegetables taste amazing and are good for you.

Farmers’ Markets Everywhere – Gardenista
The North Carolina, Portland, Oregon, Michigan City farmers’ markets are brimming over with produce, and Gardenista is sharing these beautiful posts helping us tour faraway markets vicariously, watching what’s in season in different parts of the country.

Pina Colada for Breakfast? – Oh My Veggies
The tropical cocktail gets a makeover as a delicious-looking breakfast shake. As a happy bonus, this coconut-and-pineapple smoothie features healthful oatmeal, making it a truly complete, yet summery, breakfast.

How Diane von Furstenberg Eats – The New Potato
Interviews with the fashion design icon and her personal chef, Jane Coxwell, about how to eat well and live better. We like this rhubarb dessert in particular–it’s light, fresh, and not too sweet after a delicious dinner.

The Summer Food Checklist – Whole Foods Market
Everything you need to know before you picnic, barbecue, or set off on a road trip, from fun ideas to the best gear to useful food safety tips. All part of your #BlueApronSummer!

From Corn to Cukes: A Guide to July’s Produce

Who doesn’t love #summer? Days at the beach, nights at the bonfire, fireflies, fireworks, barbecues, and sunshine. And, of course, the wonderfully fresh produce.

Grown locally instead of imported, the fruits and vegetables of summer taste even better having been harvested practically in your own backyard. And there’s no better place to find what’s in season than your local farmers’ market or farm stand, where not only can you see what’s being grown, but you can meet the people who plant and gather the vegetables you’re about to eat up.

Here, we bring the farm stand to you, rounding up the best of what’s in season, and sharing some delicious dishes you can cook up with these July favorites. All that’s left is to fire up the grill—summer is finally here!

Gorgeous Seasonal Produce for July

The saying “cool as a cucumber” is especially true in summer, when the cucumber’s high water content (96 percent!) can provide important hydration. Cukes are best eaten raw, especially in light salads—be sure to store them in the refrigerator to keep them crisp and cool. You can also easily turn them into delicious homemade pickles. Look for short, slightly prickly cucumbers known as kirby cucumbers–they’re sweet and crunchy and our favorites. 


Zucchini and Summer Squash
A quintessential summer vegetable, zucchini just screams to be grilled—the flesh becomes smoky and tender, the skin burnishes, and the natural sugars caramelize. Give zucchini the center stage in grilled zucchini tacos, or dress in a vinaigrette for a simple summer side dish. Zucchini fall within the summer squash family–one of our favorite families, ever. And summer squash come in shapes and colors beyond green zucchini: you’ll see long yellow squash, squash light green squash–known as gray squash–and pretty little bright yellow sunburst squash.


Corn is another great grilling vegetable, though we often don’t think of it as being so. You can place the cobs directly on the grill to char the kernels (like we did here), or wrap them in either foil or their own husks—either way, you’ll have a sweet, smoky, delicious treat to enjoy all summer long. Corn is also an essential ingredient in succotash–a summery vegetable sauté. Fields of corn grow higher and higher through July and August, the yellow or white kernels getting ever sweeter. Then you’ve got tons of options: cut the kernels off or leave them on; grill the corn in the husk or outside of it. Top with butter or with mayo and Mexican cheese. Yum.


A member of the onion family, shallots actually grow in bulbs like garlic, and it’s easy to find them fresh from the field this time of year. Their subtle flavor is great for dressings and sauces, like in our shallot tarragon butter, or try them in the place of an onion, for all the sweetness without any of the kick!

From teeny cherry tomatoes to sprawling heirlooms, the variety of tomatoes available in the summer months is astounding. Tomatoes will generally be sweeter, firmer, and more fragrant than they are in other months, making them a great option to eat raw, like in our panzanella salad. When buying tomatoes, look for ones that gift off a strong tomato-y scent–they’ll have the most flavor. And, though it’s not intuitive, the uglier the tomato, the tastier it will be, so look for ones with crags, dark colors, and not-perfectly-round shapes.


Green Beans
Summertime calls for crisp, crunchy green beans, perfect when mixed with flawless summer basil into pasta with pesto. The best way to achieve this is through blanching, which will keep the beans perfectly fresh, crisp, and a beautiful bright green in color; blanching also retains the multitude of vitamins that green beans boast, including vitamins A, B6, and C.

How to Tell If An Avocado Is Ripe

HERE’S HOW is a series where we share the best useful tips from our cooking adventures. We’ll answer questions before you have them and illuminate food mysteries with a blend of science and legend. Today, we’re talking avocados–how to know when they’re perfectly ripe.

In this week’s vegetarian box, we adorn Grilled Zucchini Tacos with delicious homemade guacamole. If you’ve ever dipped a corn chip into a bowl of fresh guacamole, you know why the dip is so good: it contains avocados, the most satisfying vegetable we know. (It is, however, really a fruit.)

When we send out avocados for Avocado Tartines or Cucumber-Avocado Maki, we make a point to order them “sushi ripe” from our purveyors. That means the avocados arrive ready to eat, soft but not too soft, and exquisitely creamy. Ripe avocados should be stored on the counter and used within two days.

Here’s how to investigate any avocado and tell when it is perfectly ripe. Our goal? That you’ll never try to cut into a hard, under-ripe avocado again.

The Look

You can get your first gauge on the ripeness of an avocado just by looking at it. Here’s how: ripe avocados tend to be darker in color than their lesser-ripe cousins. Hass avocados, the most common avocado at markets in most parts of the United States, have a bumpy dark green skin when under-ripe. As soon as they ripen, that green darkens and becomes almost purple. If you’re looking at a big bin of avocados, start picking up the darkest ones first, to check if they feel ripe. Read on to see how to evaluate on texture.

The Feel

Ripe avocados will feel basically firm to the touch. Pick one up and press lightly on the surface to see if the avocado flesh yields. You should be able to press down and sense a little bit of give.  But not too much! If the avocado feels soft to the point of mushy, it’s over-ripe. Throw it back. If there’s no yield, as in the avocado feels like a rock, skip that one too, or place it on the counter to ripen, and keep reading.

The Prep

You can use ripe avocados in several different ways: sliced on a sandwich, cubed in a salad, or mashed into guacamole. To prep, use a chef’s knife to cut through the stem of the avocado and all around it lengthwise. You won’t be able to cut all the way through because of the pit. Unscrew the avocado to separate the halves. Use a big spoon to scoop out the flesh. Then carefully slice it for Beet-Avocado Salad or Fish Tacos, cube it for topping chili,  or simply mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. A ripe avocado will smush into a guacamole-like texture easily, so if you want intact slices, be gentle.


If you accidentally purchase an avocado from your market that isn’t ripe, there are a few tricks to get the vegetable soft and creamy. The first is simply to wait. Push your avocado dinner to later in the week. That may sound low-tech, but this can help with planning, especially if you do all your shopping on Sundays. If you want the avocado ripe sooner, legend has it that storing in a paper bag with a banana will quicken the process!

On the opposite end, if you’re worried about the avocado becoming too ripe, store it in the refrigerator once it’s ripe to freeze the ripening process and preserve it at the perfect ripeness.

Three Limited-Time-Only Vegetables to Try This Spring

We love to visit local farmers’ markets this time of year, as spring produce makes its way from the fields to the vendors’ bins. With April turning into May, we’re obsessing over the season’s fruits and vegetables, incorporating rhubarb into our pork roast, asparagus into our fried rice, and fresh peas into our pasta.

Like spring’s cool,  non-humid weather, the season’s harvest is fleeting. Just as quickly as sugar snaps, fiddleheads, and fava beans appear, they’ll be gone. (It’s not all bad: that only means summer will be here, with its tomatoes, corn, and peppers.) And since they’re as tasty as they are healthful, we’re highlighting these three favorites with tips about how to prepare, cook, and eat these green gems.

Sugar Snaps

WHAT.  Sugar snaps are hybrids of English shelling peas and thin-skinned snow peas, invented by a scientist in 1979. As a happy result, both the pod and peas are edible, the pod adding crispness and the peas bringing sweetness to every bite. HOW. Fresh sugar snaps can be eaten completely, shell and all. Some people do remove the ends and the string, which can be a bit, well, chewy, in your final preparation. The sugar snaps in our boxes have already been trimmed and had the tiny strings removed. MAKE. A quick sauté brings sugar snaps to life without sapping them of their signature crunch. Adding them to a hot pan for no more than 2 or 3 minutes gives the shells a nice sear while leaving the peas inside bright and fresh. Still, we can never resist snacking on a raw pea or two while we’re cooking. In our Chicken with Ramps and Sugar Snap Peas, we pair the sugar snaps with another spring favorite, early-season leeks called ramps.


WHAT. Fiddleheads are prized for their tonic-like qualities, and because they traditionally herald other signs of spring. A member of the fern family, the vegetable is most commonly harvested in the midwest, near the Great Lakes, and in the northeast, where the curled-up tendrils flourish amidst the undergrowth in damp, thick forests.

HOW. Fiddleheads always have to be cooked. Just a few minutes in a sauté pan renders them crisp yet tender, the texture a little bit like a green bean. Another method to use is blanching–a quick bath in salted, boiling water. If you’re feeling adventurous, try breading and deep-frying the fiddleheads for a serious treat. MAKE. With gently sautéed spring onions and garlic, nutty whole grain pasta, and a handful of protein-rich white beans, fiddleheads become the focal point of this springy, light Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Fiddleheads & Spring Onions.

Fava Beans

WHAT.  Hailing from North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, the buttery fava bean is an ancient staple of diets worldwide and an all-time favorite of our chef. To get your fix of food history, though, you’ll have to work for it: favas have to be shelled not once but twice. We like to think of the process as meditative.

HOW. First, shell the beans by unzipping the woody outer pods and removing the beans from within. Cook those in boiling water for just one minute. Rinse them under cold water, then break off the tip of each thin fava shell and pop the bean out from inside, collecting the doubly shelled beans in a bowl. MAKE. Since it’s time-consuming to stockpile a big serving of favas, be sure to bulk up your fava-based meal with other hearty ingredients. Our favas star in this Spring Minestrone with Fava Beans & Asparagus, which is also packed with vegetables, pasta, and Parmesan cheese. You can also throw favas into pastas and salads; their sweet taste matches really well with sharp, salty feta.

Dinner Conversation: In-Season Veggies and Supermarket Aisle #4

Each week, we’ll round up posts, videos, and even playlists to entertain you while you cook and provide conversation fodder for tonight’s Blue Apron dinner. Here’s what we’re reading and watching today:

Exactly which vegetables are in season now paired with gorgeous photography showing what you might do with those fava beans now that you’ve got ’em. – Williams-Sonoma

Our office’s home borough, Brooklyn, inspires three new cookbooks. We can’t wait to browse! – Edible

In this funny cooking competition, chefs have to cook with ingredients from one supermarket aisle. It’s hilarious, and the moral of the story is you’re better off having us stock the pantry than attempting to make dinner from graham crackers, marshmallows, and Spam – Slate

Do cheese and jalepenos belong in muffins? This blogger says yes. And we say that these muffins would be completely welcome beside a bowl of organic turkey chili  – Joy the Baker

It’s grilled cheese month! Try our pizza panini, a cubano croissant, or a Salted Caramel Angry Lobster Fatty Melt – Tasted, Gothamist