Farmer’s Market Eats To Make Summer Last
By Maude Standish
Despite loving three-day weekends, Labor Day always feels a bit like getting stabbed in the back by a friend because it means saying goodbye to Summer Fridays, beach towels and white pants. (To be fair, by the end of the summer, white pants often have more mustard stains than appropriate and deserve to be retired.)We just want summer to never end. One of the best ways to hold on to the last days of summer is to head down to your local farmer’s market, gather some your favorite seasonal produce and enjoy the tastes of summer one last time. Here are a few ways to add a taste of summer to your Labor Day barbeque.
Drink Summer Up
There is nothing like biting into a peach to remind you of the lazy, hot days of your childhood. Luckily, in late August, farmer’s market stalls are abundant with peaches. Head Mixologist at New York City hotspot Apotheke Nick O’Conner recommends letting barbeque guests take a break from the backyard keg and sip on his summer peach drink called “August and Everything After.” Mix up!
What You’ll Need
Quarter the ginger and in a blender mix it with 4 oz of water to create. Add ¼ oz of the ginger water to the shaker. Cut and muddle four chunks of peaches and add to the shaker. Add 2 oz of vodka. Add ¾ oz of fresh squeezed lime juice. Add ¼ oz of local honey. Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass.
Eat Summer Up
Some of the best things about summer are the simple pleasures—dipping a big toe in a lake, walking around on a hot night, the smell of fresh mowed grass. Since summer fruits and veggies are so fresh, you can keep your recipes simple – no need to drench your meal in heavy sauces – and they will still be delicious.
Late summer is a great time for broccoli. Master of unadorned food, Alice Waters, suggests in her book,The Art of Simple Food, that you prepare the vegetable by steaming it with a little garlic, butter and lemon.
First, clean, cut and steam the broccoli. While it is steaming, Waters says you should, “Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a small heavy pan; add 2 or 3 garlic cloves, chopped or pounded, and some salt. Cook just until the butter starts to bubble.” When you see the bubbles, turn off the heat and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture, which you can then pour over your broccoli. The resulting fresh side dish is a great addition to Labor Day parties as a fresh break from all the joys of encased and grilled meats.
No matter how you slice your peaches or steam your broccoli, soon the days will be getting shorter and summer will end. One of the best ways to preserve summer is to, well, literally preserve it. Canning and pickling has become a huge trend recently as many people try both to preserve their heritage and the fresh tastes of summer—meaning that these days you don’t just have to learn from your great aunt, but can find a plethora of canning classes in most major cities.
If you are more a teach-yourself type or can’t find a canning class near you, the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia offers basic canning instructions online and have a wide range of jump-off recipes, such as canning any type of berry from currents to the now abundant blueberries.
Since most fruits and vegetables can be canned, one of the best ways to figure out what it is you want to preserve is to head down to the market and buy lots of what is in season, cheap and local. Late August brings tomatoes, peaches and early apples to the farmer’s markets, so you might want to try the Center’s recipe for Peach Apple Salsa. Sure, canned tomatoes won’t last forever, but they will be good for at least one year. And really that’s all you need to tide you over until you buy your next pair of white pants.