Pams Prep Kitchen: A Guide to Eating Seasonally in Spring & Summer
Fresher, sweeter and cheaper – seasonal produce is simply all-round goodness. But how do you know what's in season? And how can you make the most of all that abundant fruit and vege? We're here to show you just how easy and affordable it is to eat seasonally this Spring and Summer.
When purchased and consumed around the time of local harvest, fresh fruit and vege is likely to be tastier and more nutritious than your usual imported or out of season ingredients. Less transport and storage time means more time to be naturally ripened by the sun, allowing for premium produce all spring and summer long.
Eating and shopping seasonally means following nature’s natural rhythm of production and eating what’s in abundance. We’re usually spoilt for choice in New Zealand, with our local supermarkets stocking all kinds of produce all year round, but just because it’s available doesn’t mean it’s in season! Although we’re grateful for tomatoes in winter and strawberries in autumn, nothing quite beats them when they’re in their prime. Juicy and fuller in flavour, eating seasonally elevates your dishes and adds to your healthy lifestyle during the warmer weather. After a long winter full of hearty, wholesome meals eaten indoors, it’s definitely time to take advantage of those lighter options!
We get so excited seeing all of the seasonal produce start to fill the shelves when the weather gets warmer. From asparagus, tender courgette, corn and tomatoes to juicy stone fruit and sweet berries. Here’s to colourful fruit bowls and abundant veggie drawers for a fraction of the price!
The first sign of spring marks the beginning of asparagus season. Asparagus is in abundance throughout spring and summer - first in stores from October and finishing up their season around January. Delicious in everything from shaved into raw salads, tossed in pastas, served on the side of a light roast and even grilled on the barbeque - these tender stalks of green goodness are super versatile and easy to cook with. Even finger-licking good just simply blanched for 2 mins and tossed in salt and lashings of butter!
We love asparagus in our Green Shakshuka - perfect for a spring weekend brunch!
Full of nutrients with a delicate flavour and firm flesh, courgettes are plentiful this time of year. Courgette, also known as zucchini, is in season throughout spring and summer, first in stores from October and finishing up their main growing season up until May. Use them in a wide variety of dishes – stews, stir-fry, grilled kebabs, stuffed or even raw as zoodles in salads. Soaking up the flavour of what they’re paired with, courgettes are a favourite spring veggie for all types of cooking! Try them in our tasty Onion, Courgette and Salami Tart for an easy meal full of goodness and flavour!
Juicy, ripe, and full of flavour, fresh tomatoes can elevate summer cooking and add a rich wholesome flavour, or zesty burst of freshness depending on their preparation. Cheapest, and at their seasonal prime during summer, these versatile vegetables are a staple in home cooking. Although tinned tomatoes are accessible and affordable and great to have in the pantry, nothing quite beats a homemade fresh tomato sauce for seasonal pastas, stews or curries. Pams has multiple varieties of tomatoes, with each type having its own perfect place in your cooking. From fresh, grilled, or roasted, tomatoes can make a dish without breaking the bank!
One of our favourites for summer is our BBQ Camembert Bruschetta - full of fresh flavour, paried with yummy Camembert cheese, this is sure to be a hit at your next family barbie!
Corn is the star of seasonal summer produce, with juicy golden kernels being found in so many of our favourite dishes. Eaten right off the cob, or shaved into fresh salads and BBQ sides, corn is almost unbeatable during the warmer months. Corn is a crowd pleaser and should always be taken advantage of during the warmer months! Keep them wrapped up in their natural casing in your fridge or even your cool pantry until ready to be shucked and prepared how you like!
Fritters, Mexican Corn Cobs, freshly shaven kernels sprinkled over summer pizza, or even just simply smothered in butter. We especially love the bursts of yellow in our Sweet Corn Summer Pasta.
Summer Stone Fruit
When the weather is warmest, nothing quite captures the essence of summer like juicy, sweet stone fruit. Peaches, plums, nectarines and cherries – these gems are at their seasonal peak during the months of December to March. Delicious in sweet dishes like crumbles, pies and trifles, as well as being the hero as grilled or fresh slices in BBQ spreads and salads. Our Peach Caprese Salad will definitely be the star of the show at your next get together.
Super tasty, flavour-packed and fragrant, we love our berries in the summer! Full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C, these little bites of goodness are scrumptious additions to a whole range of dishes. There’s nothing quite like a burst of berry when the sun is shining. These fruits are cheaper in the summer months while they’re in season, when local harvests are abundant. Our seasonal Pams range of fresh berries includes strawberries & blueberries.
If your fridge is overflowing with berries, or your kids went overboard at a berry picking farm, then we recommend making your own simple jam. Super easy and quick to do, having sweet homemade jam on hand never disappoints – your morning toast will taste even more delicious! Or, whip up our delicious Simple Berry Cobbler for an after-dinner treat!
Spring & summer are the perfect times of the year for pickling & preserving. Produce is in abundance, and instead of wasting any veggies you have excess of, why not whip up an easy pickle brine to store them in! With no canning necessary and ready to eat after just 24 hours, these quick pickles keep well in the fridge for a few months and are a great way to reduce waste and increase flavour!
A basic brine is equal parts vinegar and water, with salt & sugar. Bring this mix to the boil on the stove, add your favourite aromatics for flavour, and pour over your prepared vegetables in a sterilized jar. Screw on the lid and store in the fridge for up to 3 months. We love to make quick pickles with green beans, asparagus, courgette, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, capsicums - you name it! You can even quick pickle in-season cherry tomatoes – the options are endless.
Try out some of our tips & tricks, or get creative with it to make your family’s favourite flavour combos!
• Add stems of fresh herbs to your vegetables in the jar before pouring over the brine – try dill to make a dill pickle.
• Add a tablespoon of your favourite spices to your brine – we love aromatics such as coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, peppercorns or a pinch of turmeric.
• Add a few cloves of fresh crushed garlic, some sliced fresh chillies, or slices of fresh ginger for a boost of flavour.
Delicious, healthy and packed full of flavour - pickled vegetables are the perfect condiments for topping the warmer month’s dishes with. Great in salads, sandwiches, burgers or for just a quick snack right from the jar!