Summertime is the height of gardening season. It’s when everything we planted in spring comes into fruition, and all that hard work starts to pay off with actual food we can eat.
For some of us, summertime is when an investment in a tomato plant finally gives back. For others, it’s when gardening starts getting overwhelming because… who decided it was going to be fun to sweat out the humidity weeding and harvesting that stubborn raised bed that won’t stop producing?
Summer is also usually the mid-point for our local farmers markets. All the hard work of local farmers and homesteaders shows for these few weeks of the year, and then, before you know it, everything is winding down for the autumn.
Heralding the end of the season is a slow transition of summer to fall vegetables. Look for these late summer veggies at your local farmers market or vegetable stand to catch them while they’re still in season.
Late Summer Veggies
- Okra–These fellas thrive in heat (when properly hydrated) which makes them excellent summer staples. Depending on the climate where you live, a second crop is possible if started a few months before first frost. Try oven-roasting or pickling these guys in early fall for a new twist.
- Eggplant–Who doesn’t love a nice eggplant? For me, these are the quintessential late summer vegetable because they’re so hearty. Every bite is like a little taste of the coming fall. The classic go-to recipe with these is eggplant parmesan, but you could also grill them or make ratatouille.
- Zucchini–Another hearty and versatile veggie, you can either slap these on the grill or grate them down for zucchini bread.
- Summer Squash–Eggplant’s mild and yellow cousin, summer squash goes well with almost every protein you throw at it. Grill it, bread it, bake it, or mix it up with some zucchini in a salad side dish.
- Artichokes–These babies are typically thought of as a spring vegetable, but they can produce a second crop early in the fall as well. Baked artichoke dip is one of my favorite side dishes from childhood. For me, it’s one of those first transition dishes between summer and fall, warm and hearty enough to align us to the season.
What else are you seeing? Comment below with some of your late summer veggie faves.