Dig In To Colourful Summer Salads
Salads don’t need to consist of a few limp lettuce leaves and whatever you have left over in the fridge from last week. Summer provides lots of fresh produce that’s often available at local farm stands and markets, perfect for tasty and creative salads. Check out the produce guide and recipes below to whip up plenty of refreshing, colourful, nutritious salads.
What’s in Season?
Test whether tomatoes are ripe by giving them a gentle squeeze; if they are soft and brightly colored, they’re ready to eat.
Berries, including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are in season during the summer months. Not only are berries more cost-effective during the summer months, they also taste better and last longer than when purchased in the winter.
Half a medium avocado contains around 130 calories, so it may be best to eat in moderation.
Stone fruits, which include nectarines, peaches, and plums, are super tasty during the summer. Test to see if they are ripe by gently squeezing them: They should feel firm, but give slightly under the pressure. They ripen nicely in a fruit bowl, so it’s okay to buy them slightly under-ripe. Stone fruits contain beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A in the body.
Summer squash, including zucchini, pattypan, and cousa, are all in season in summer. Unlike winter squash, summer varieties have a soft, thin skin, which is edible and great for grilling. Add them either raw or cooked to salad. They are rich in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants in the body. Most of the carotenoids are concentrated near the skin, so it’s a good idea to leave them on.
All colors of sweet peppers are in season during the summer. Each variety is a good source of vitamin C. Red peppers are high in beta-carotene, vitamin K, and folate. When peppers are ripe, they will feel firm. When they become soft and wrinkled, they are overripe. Peppers are a fabulously versatile vegetable; they can be eaten raw or cooked and are a healthier alternative to chips when served with dip.
Lettuce, watercress, and arugula are all in season during the summer. They serve as a great base for salads and provide high levels of folate, a B vitamin that helps prevent neural defects during pregnancy as well as a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia. Arugula has a strong, peppery flavor that adds zest to any salad. It contains a host of vitamins and minerals, including folate, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K. Look for leafy greens that are vibrant in color. If greens wilt or turn yellow, they are probably a little past their prime. If you have a head of lettuce that starts to wilt, cut off the bottom and place the leaves in a bowl of water for 30 minutes.
Melons, including honeydew, watermelon, and cantaloupe, have a lovely smell when ripe. To test for ripeness, smell melons. With a watermelon, tap it – if it sounds hollow, it’s ripe. Melons add a nice sweetness to salads without loading on the calories (a half-cup of cantaloupe, for instance, has just 60 calories). They taste really good in salads that contain prosciutto and similar salty meats.
So Many Types of Lettuce
When you go to the market or the grocery store, you will find lots of different types of lettuce. But what do they taste like?
This graphic gives you a general idea of their different flavour profiles.