Strolling through the farmers market, straw tote in hand, sorting through the rainbow of summer produce is one of the greatest joys of the season. The trouble is, as pretty as rainbow chard and scarlet runner beans are, we’ve got no idea what to do with them.
Lauri Kranz of Edible Gardens LA, has become masterfully in sync with the seasons. She’s built some of the most gorgeous edible gardens we’ve seen, and her latest book has us totally inspired to get out in the garden. While she’s more likely to be pulling plants from her own garden than hitting up the farmers market, here’s what she loves this season and how she recommends we make the most of each item…
Fava Beans. They grow tall and wild, with exquisite flowers that produce the bean pods. They are packed with protein and can be used to make delicious spreads. My favorite recipe is Suzanne Goin’s fava bean puree with feta, olives, and fresh garden herbs.
Scarlet Runner Beans. Beautiful on a trellis with bright red flowers and incredible beans. Shell them or roast them whole to enjoy.
Blackberries. There is nothing like a handful of warm berries just picked on a summer day. I love to pluck them off the vine and eat them in the garden or use them in a crostata.
Mizuna. A gentle spicy green. I like using both green and purple varieties in fresh garden salads.
Arugula. Otherwise known as rocket, this is easy to grow and the spicy green leaves make for wonderful salads. It’s delicious in pasta, too!
Rainbow Chard. Resilient and a good producer, I like to use rainbow chard in stir-fries with garlic, olive oil, and salt.
Red Russian Kale. A wonderful variety of kale that’s versatile in the kitchen. Use for salads or sautés.
Romanesco. breathtaking when coming into harvest with its spiraling heads, romanesco requires patience, but the rewards are great. I love roasting these with pine nuts, currants, and parsley.
Spigarello. The sweet, tender, dark green leaves of broccoli spigarello are native to Italy. Delicious sautéed. One of my favorites.
Green Zebra Tomatoes. A really wonderful, sweet variety. I like slicing them and serving them simply dressed with good olive oil, salt, and basil, plus some crusty bread.
Speckled Roman Tomatoes. I like making long-cooked tomato sauces with this beautiful variety.
Red Cabbage. This purple-headed variety of cabbage is a favorite in our house. I like using it to make a cabbage slaw for tacos.