(BPT) - There’s nothing quite like enjoying fresh produce throughout late summer and fall. If you enjoy cooking — or eating! — you can celebrate the most delicious seasonal foods by focusing on where they come from, and what flavors taste best together.
Here are some ideas to make the most of the wide array of seasonal produce, wherever you live.
1. Visit your local farmers markets
Nothing tastes better than food that’s just been picked, so access the freshest food you can find. When you visit a farmers market, talk to the farmers to find out what they’re most excited about, and which crops are doing the best right now. Some farmers may also have other foods like fresh eggs, cheese and meats for sale.
2. Grow — or pick — your own food
It’s not too late to grow some of your own produce or herbs. Whether you plant outdoors or indoors, there are kits available to get you started with a small pot first, if you’ve never had a green thumb. It can be very satisfying to cook with your own home-grown herbs, fruits or veggies.
If you can’t grow your own, how about picking your own? Many areas feature farms or orchards where you can go pick berries and other fruits — so you know exactly where your food comes from.
3. Discover new ingredients
Whether you’re at a farmers market or the grocery store, look for at least a few ingredients you’re unfamiliar with. It can be a wonderful adventure to taste new foods and learn how to cook with them. You can broaden your palate as well as your horizons by exploring the building blocks of cuisines from around the world.
4. Test new recipes
To make the most of the season, search for recipes featuring your farm-fresh ingredients. From salads and soups to cooked veggies that serve as sides — or even main dishes for a plant-based menu — it’s never been easier to find new ways to use ingredients. Search with a phrase like “recipes using x, y and z” and you’ll discover plenty of ideas for cooking with your ingredients.
5. Pair your foods with flavorful wines
Meals taste even better when you serve wines that bring out the best in your food. You can try a variety of wines from Flat Top Hills, which are designed to elevate everyday occasions. These fruit-forward wines are food-friendly and easy to match with seasonal ingredients. For example:
You can find all of these wines and more to help bring this season's ingredients to the next level at FlatTopWines.com.