STORAGE TIPS: All of these summer crops can be stored in the refrigerator.
APPEARANCE: A mix of green, red, yellow, purple, white, and striped colors with a bell or teardrop shape.
PREPARATION: Cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds before using.
BAKE: Cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds, bake the peppers by themselves for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven, then stuff with cheese, rice, beans, and vegetables and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
SAUTÉ: Add oil to a skillet over medium-high heat, add strips of peppers and stir frequently until crisp and tender for ~6 minutes.
APPEARANCE: A dark green skin with small to large cylinder shape.
PREPARATION: Wash thoroughly. Skin can be eaten or peeled.
QUICK PICKLE: Slice the cucumber crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of water, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, and 1/3 cup vinegar until sugar dissolves. Add the cucumbers and let sit in the fridge overnight before eating.
PICKLE: Slice cucumbers, sprinkle with salt and store in a cool place until salt dissolves. After the salt dissolves, bring 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup vinegar to boil in a saucepan. Rinse the pickles with some of the boiling water and drain, then rinse again. Finally, put the pickles into hot jars and fill almost to the top with the water/vinegar liquid. Cool and store jars in the fridge. After 3 weeks the cucumbers will be pickled.
APPEARANCE: A mix of dark purple, light purple, striped, and white colors with long, skinny, or pear shape.
PREPARATION: If the eggplant is really big and the seeds are noticeable, cut into thick slices or chunks, place in a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes and rinse with cold water. This process will draw out any bitter juices.
ROAST: Preheat the oven to 400 °F. After cutting the eggplant lengthwise or into circles, drizzle eggplant with olive oil and roast for 10-20 minutes, flip and cook for another 10-20 minutes.
SAUTÉ: Cut the eggplant into chunks or rounds, toss with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan on medium heat, add eggplant once oil starts to shimmer, and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
APPEARANCE: A mix of green, yellow, and striped colors with flat or long cylinder shapes depending on the variety.
PREPARATION: Wash thoroughly. Both the outer skin and seeds inside can be eaten.
SAUTÉ: Cut the top stem off and discard. Cut squash lengthwise in half and then into semicircles. Add to a pan with butter or oil, salt, and pepper, and cook for 10-15 minutes.
ROAST: Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Cut the squash into desired shapes, drizzle with olive oil, and roast for 15-20 minutes.
APPEARANCE: Long, fuzzy, slender-shaped pods with green or purple colors.
PREPARATION: Okra is known for its slimy texture. Here are tips to help reduce the sliminess:
- Keep the pods whole
- Use acids–lemon juice, tomatoes, vinegar, etc.
- Cook on high heat *Slice and soak in ice water before using.
- Embrace the sliminess by throwing okra in a stew (like jambalaya) as a thickening agent!
- Fry it
Extra storage tip: Place okra inside a brown paper bag before storing in the fridge.
APPEARANCE: A papery outer skin, or husk, with a light green globe-shaped fruit inside.
PREPARATION: Remove the husks and rinse tomatillos before using. Cut and puree in salsas, boil for about 10 minutes then add to sauces or chili, or sauté over medium heat in oil until soft.