Summer is THE season to escape, let loose, and have fun. So why not do the same with your cooking? These 10 unique seasonal ingredients will inspire you to jazz up your favorite summer meals and impress your friends.
Cucuzza is a summer vegetable popular in Italy. Also known as Snake Squash, cucuzza is pretty similar in taste and texture to zucchini. It turns bright green when cooked, making any dish you use it in POP with color. Think of it as a cooler alternative to zucchini.
Serve cucuzza in fresh summer pasta, vegetable tarts, salads, or soups!
2. NASTURTIUM LEAVES
Nasturtium leaves and their flowers are popular in the gourmet cooking world, but that doesn’t me you can’t use them in your everyday cooking! Their peppery flavor will add a fiery bite to any salad or sandwich. The stunning green leaves will also add a magical look to and dish, making it look like it just came out of a fairytale.
Nasturtium leaves are a beautiful finishing garnish for your favorite summer recipes.
3. PRICKLY PEAR
Prickly Pear bursts with tropical fruit flavor. Once the skin is removed and seeds strained, you have a bright magenta puree ready for adding to your favorite summer drinks and desserts. It tastes like a combination of cucumber, watermelon, and strawberries…what’s not to like!? It’s great added to lemonade, cocktails, or smoothies. Prickly Pear also makes KILLER ice pops and sorbet.
Get creative and use Prickly Pear puree in your favorite fruit recipes.
4. RASPBERRY WASABI MUSTARD
Want to really WOW your friends and family? Add this jar of Robert Rothschild Raspberry Wasabi Mustard to your hamburger-hot dog condiment selection. It will take your backyard cookout from traditional to intriguing.
It’s sweet, fruity, and fiery, perfect for adding a different kind of kick to your grilled meats, sandwiches, and salads. I like it in vinaigrettes and stirred into egg salad.
It’s an effortless way to make summer eating a little more exciting.
5. LOBSTER BUTTER
Got Lobster Shells? DO NOT throw them away! Instead, infuse their delicious scent and beautiful color into butter. Then you can add lobster flavor to any dish!
Toss it into pasta, spread on a sandwich, or even melt and brush it over grilled meats or vegetables! If you’re a lobster fan, this method extends it’s cooking life and reduces waste.
6. PICKLED SALMON
Before you keep scrolling, give this funky food a chance! Pickling is a great way to preserve your fresh-caught salmon so you can eat it year-round!
It tastes slightly sweet and has a super velvety texture. Use it in salads, top them on your cream cheese bagel, or serve them on a cheese board!
7. PEACH CHIPOTLE SALSA
Found in a local New Jersey Farmer’s Market, Peach Chipotle Salsa can also be made at home. It’s smokey, fruity, and just plain awesome to use instead of boring ‘ol tomato salsa.
Its uses are endless, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. On nachos, scrambled eggs, or ice cream. It’s one of my favorite summer condiments, I always buy 3 jars to keep me stocked for the year.
Kaya is a coconut jam popular in Southeast Asia. It’s sweet and spreadable, perfect on toast with a cup of coffee. But don’t stop there. Its caramelly, coconut flavor works wonderfully in desserts that call for jam, like thumbprint cookies and pastries.
I like to use it on PB&Js and oatmeal. Buy a jar and see just how easy it is to incorporate into your everyday eating.
9. COCONUT RUM SEASONING
Pepper Palace has a rub and seasoning reputation to uphold, and their Coconut Rum Seasoning puts them at the very top of the game. This sweet and savory spice blend has a hint of coconut, rosemary, and yes, RUM!
It’s great on chicken and seafood but also pizza, roasted veggies, and popcorn. Treat it like any other seasoning, except this one adds a little buzz.
10. PAPAYA BARBECUE SAUCE
If you want to give your summer cookout a tropical twist, use Papaya Barbecue Sauce. It’s fruity, spicy, and tastes pretty darn close to the real thing.
Papaya Barbecue Sauce is great slathered on chicken or ribs as well as any seafood you fancy. You can also spread it on burgers, sandwiches, or even whisk it with some oil for a salad dressing.
I hope this list inspires you to cook and bake a little differently this summer. It’s a great time to explore and experiment with a whole new world of seasonal ingredients.
Have you tried any of these ingredients? Let me know what you’ve made and leave a comment below!