“When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.” –“The Ant and the Grasshopper,” Aesop’s Fables
I can’t deny it any longer.
Summer is winding down.
Hard to believe August is nearly halfway done! Where did the summer go? Speaking of summer, has anyone been paying attention to the Summer Olympics? (I haven’t really been giving them much thought this time around . . . )
Now, let me make this clear: I positively adore fall. The colors, the brisk air . . . it’s my favorite season (right behind spring). But summer has the ripest melons, the juiciest berries, the biggest zucchini, the reddest tomatoes, the cheapest cucumbers, the . . . well, you get the picture.
Yes, fall’s bounty is splendid—many of my favorite fruits and veggies proliferate then, too. Nevertheless, to sit on my stoop in shorts and a t-shirt, watching butterflies jostling together amid the lush, green shrubbery and the tiger lilies nodding in a breeze scented with freshly mown grass is a joy I’m loath to let pass too quickly.
I’m sure you’re as eager as I am to keep the flavors of summer going strong. Here are two ways to ensure this glorious season seeps into your meals and brightens your palate as a nippy wind forces you to drag sweaters out of your attic and rains a flurry of gold and red leaves to your lawn.
Stock up and save for later.
Where I live, farmers’ markets are overflowing with bags and buckets of fruits and veggies for $1-$2 each. Snatch up deals on produce in your area and start stockpiling! Don’t despair that you went a little overboard in the cucumber department—whip up something beyond the usual cucumber salad. (I’m quite pleased with how my cucumber chutney turned out.) Pickle, preserve, or just plain freeze the harvest of summer. Months later, you’ll be reveling in the mingling of summer and fall as the fireplace burns, cider bubbles on the stove, and melon and tomato muffins waft from your oven.
Sip a tropical smoothie or chew on a summery fruit salad between bowls of oatmeal and soup.
I love me some oatmeal. A bowl of hot soup on a cool, blustery day is scrumptious and soothing. But some days, you yearn for a meal besides the usual cold weather clichés.
Why not a smoothie? They’re fast to blend up (when you don’t have a blender that’s falling apart!). Your house is warm and cozy. Close your eyes, sit back on the couch, and enjoy a green tahini coconut smoothie bowl. Before you know it, you’ll be right back in the sunny and balmy days of July on a gray and chilly November morning.
And though mashed sweet potatoes make a great chicken salad, why not mix up your autumnal menu with splashes of summer splendor you’ve stashed in that freezer of yours? Thaw out berries and peaches bursting with just-picked sweetness, mix in fresh cauliflower, and throw together a zesty cauliflower fruit salad for lunch instead of a bowl of butternut squash soup.
How about you? What are ways you keep summer’s bounty going strong long into fall? Do tell. I’d love to hear your ideas.