30 Ways to Use August’s Best Produce

This month we've got delicious recipes with corn, watermelon, cucumber, green beans and figs

August continues to bring us a range of delicious fresh produce available in supermarkets and local farmers markets. To help you choose the freshest and in season fruit and veg read on. Discover what is in season, how to store them and ways to use them.

Corn


For optimal flavour, try to buy the freshest corn on the cob possible. Corn’s sugars begin to turn to starch the moment the ears are picked, causing once sweet, tender kernels to dry out and lose flavour within a few days. Look for ears with moist (not dried out) bright green husks. The silk at the tip of the ear should be golden brown and look fresh and glossy. Mushy or discolored corn kernels could be a sign of age or poor handling. Refrigerate corn loosely wrapped in a plastic or paper bag no more than one to two days; leaving it in the husk until cooking will help preserve freshness.

Watermelon


Watermelon is at its peak in June through August. Whole melons should be heavy, without any soft spots or cracks. (A pale-yellow spot is fine; it indicates the fruit was picked when ripe.) A ripe melon should smell fresh and sweet and sound hollow when you tap on it, which indicates juiciness. You can store whole watermelon at room temperature for 7 to 10 days or in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. Cover cut watermelon, which will keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. Watermelon is a good source of vitamins A and C, and is packed with the antioxidant lycopene.

Cucumber

Often regarded as a vegetable, cucumbers are actually a fruit. When choosing cucumbers at the supermarket or farmers market, look for ones that are firm, without dents or dark spots. Store whole cucumbers in a loosely closed plastic bag in a vegetable drawer for 3-5 to five days, and wash just before use. Not only are they nutritious, but cucumbers also have fabulous hydration qualities as they are 95% water, so consuming cucumber slices is a great way to stay hydrated this August, or try one of our fabulous recipes below.

Green beans

Aka French beans, string beans, haricot vert. When it comes to these beans, look for green beans that are brightly coloured, and snap easily when bent. Keep the beans in a bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge where they will last up to 1 week. Green beans are a good source of Vitamins B, C and K as well as iron. They lend themselves well being boiled or steamed, but are best when there is still some bite to them, so don’t cook for more than 4 minutes. This also means they will retain their colour and nutritional benefits. Try them in salads, dressed with olive oil & almonds, or scattered with Parmesan.

Figs

There are a number of fig varieties which include white, green, red, purple/black. The most popular in the UK are the purple variety, which are in season from August to October. When choosing figs to buy, opt for plump but feel soft, but with not too much liquid and with no bruising or splits. Keep slightly under-ripe figs outside the fridge until ripe, then store in the fridge. Figs are also best eaten within one or two days of purchasing.

Also still in season;

Tomatoes, Beetroot, Courgette, New Potatoes, Peas, Broccoli, Aubergine, Cherries, Raspberries, Strawberries