The longest day of the year might have passed, but warm summer evenings call for the very best of the July produce in season.
July produce builds on the bounty of June, focusing on fresh, light flavors and a colorful palate that’ll bring the rainbow to your meals. From stone fruits and berries to the arrival of summer squashes, July produce knows it’s hot out there – so you can enjoy most of them without ever turning on your oven!
So, here’s my handy guide for what’s in season in July – and the best ways to use it.
What Produce Is in Season in July
For fruits in season July, think sweet, think juicy, and think easily transferable between savory dishes and sweet treats.
Berries: You’ll find gluts of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries at the farmers market in July – and there’s a reason they’re the Kings of July Fruit.
All three of these berries are at their ripest during July. With all berries, the best test of quality is in the color and feel. For blackberries, you want a deep black color – any red or green and they won’t be fully ripe; for blueberries, light to deep blue; and for raspberries – a pink-red color. And when it comes to texture, all these berries should be a little bit firm – stay away from squashed fruit!
Berries are little antioxidant powerhouses and are naturally low in calories. They have been proven to have a myriad of benefits, from supporting the everyday function of our essential organs to keeping our brains sharp.
Melons should be firm when pressed and have a strong color. For honeydew, a soft yellow on the skin, for cantaloupe a light green with darker lines, and for watermelon – a strong, deep green. For watermelons, look out for a patch on the skin – the best ones are yellow or cream-colored (like butter!).
Stone fruits: Even if you didn’t know what fruits are in season in July, you could probably guess that stone fruits are on the list.
So, the most popular during July are apricots, cherries, plums, peaches, and nectarines. If you don’t happen to have a tree at home, it’s best to buy these from a stand or a farmer’s market when they’re at their freshest.
Like berries, stone fruits are renowned for their levels of antioxidants. And you can easily use them in a variety of dishes. Try swapping out peaches in a summer salad with nectarines and burrata, use to make juice or lemonade or to whip up a delicious dessert.
Squash isn’t just for the autumn – my favorite varieties are at their best during the summer months.
Zucchini: Also known as courgette, this neighbor to the cucumber is perfect for making lighter dinners when it’s too hot to turn on the oven. This versatile veggie can be eaten cooked or raw and used in a lot of different ways. For instance, grill them or use them for fried veggie fritters and stuffed boats or in a surprisingly good-for-you chocolate cake (you’d never know the zucchini was there!). Look out for firm green zucchini that have a small green stalk.
Summer squash: Harvested before they reach their peak ripeness, summer squashes are considerably smaller and differently colored from their autumnal varieties. In fact, they look very similar to zucchini. I love making casseroles or frying summer squash and serving it with dipping sauces. It’s an easy (and super delicious) way to get your five-a-day without even realizing it.
Cucumbers: Almost 97% of cucumber is water, which makes this salad staple an extra way to stay hydrated when it’s hot out. Like zucchini and summer squash, your cucumbers should be firm and have a deep green color. Cucumbers are easily used in salads or sandwiches. But I love using cucumbers for more experimental recipes – like lemonade, juice, and, of course, pickles!
July produce isn’t just about fruit – a few more vegetables will join your pantry this month.
Tomatoes: Plump and juicy, tomatoes will have spent the spring months growing – and are now ready for picking. Tomatoes come in all kinds of varieties – I’m partial to heirloom and cherry myself. Plus, you can find them red, yellow, orange, and even green (these are often underripe, so don’t eat them raw). For the summer, I like my tomatoes raw – usually as part of a salad. But if you’ve got a glut, try preserving them by sun-drying, pickling, roasting, or juicing them.
Peppers: Just like tomatoes, red, green, yellow, and orange peppers come in July in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you prefer milder bell peppers or something a bit spicier, they should have a firm texture with smooth skin and a green stalk still attached. They’re easily enjoyed raw with dips or even incorporated into them, like in Ajvar, Muhammara, and red pepper hummus, or can be roasted with other summer veggies.
A few other June produce staples carry over into July that fit into a category all of their own.
Corn: Having come into season in June, corn continues to be popular during July. I recommend getting your corn from the farmer’s market or a stand where the husk should still be intact. Sweet corn can be cooked in a variety of different ways for a summer cookout or as a low-effort side. Grill it, oven roast it with garlic butter, boil it, or even microwave it to enjoy.
Green Beans: The green beans we find in July are the unripe, young fruits of common Fall beans. So they’re usually firmer and crunchier when cooked. One of the oldest vegetables grown in the world, they’re packed full of vitamins that keep our hair, skin, and nails healthy. Plus they are easy to make into a quick side dish for dinner. Sautee or boil them with a little butter or oil and some herbs – and eating your greens will have never been easier!
Some Recipes Using the Best of July Produce
Here are some more of my favorite recipes to make with the fresh produce.
Other Seasonal Guides
If you try any of these recipes for what to cook in July with the July seasonal produce, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!