My favorite thing about summer is the food. I think that’s because it’s more adventurous. There’s a mild risk factor involved with eating outdoors, contending with sun and sand, shooing away bugs, and lighting a charcoal fire that adds fun and excitement to an ordinary meal.
Many of the most popular foods we enjoy at summer cookouts, on the beach or even staying in from the heat are grown right here in Florida. UF/IFAS Extension agents have been busy promoting Florida’s signature summer foods and drawing up healthy recipes to enjoy them!
Highbush blueberries grown in Florida are a versatile treat that can be baked into pies, canned as a jam, or enjoyed with yogurt and granola. But for me, the best blueberries come straight off the bush from a local U-pick. They’re also a superfood rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
Nothing tops off a hot afternoon outdoors quite like a watermelon pulled from the fridge or cooler. They’re a low-calorie source of sweet hydration with enough Vitamin C to earn a place on any MyPlate menu. This year, the demand for watermelon has been so great that Florida farmers are celebrating.
Fresh, ripe mangoes look like a South Florida sunset and taste like a dream of the tropics. They’re the King of Fruits and the best are grown right here in Florida.
Delicious in a ceviche with lime and cilantro or sauted in butter with pasta, bay scallops are a tasty treasure from a snorkel trip to the Big Bend. And if you go scalloping this summer, look for UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant agents, who are passing out free Scallop Sorter tools to prevent harvesting smaller scallops.
Grilling meat over a fire has been a culinary staple in this part of the world since the pirates ruled Tortuga. UF/IFAS Extension has the resources that can make your next BBQ safe and savory.
And while you’re tending the fire, why not grill some fresh vegetables? If you’ve got an edibles garden or visit a farmers market, this is the perfect season for zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms and tomatoes. Slice and dice, mix with a little olive oil, and toss it on the barbie. UF/IFAS Dietician Lakisha Crumpler can show you how: