10 ways to love succulent summer fruit

Chefs know if you want to prepare the best dishes, you have to start with the best ingredients. There’s no better time to experiment with some new recipe ideas than when our gardens are teaming with fresh fare.

From starts and salads to desserts and preserves, here are 10 tasty ways to enjoy the fruits of summer.

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pizza (pictured above)


2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) softened goat cheese
4 cups fresh California strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
coarsely ground black pepper
baby arugula or mixed greens
prepared pizza dough


To make white balsamic vinaigrette: simmer white balsamic vinegar until reduced to 1 1/2 tbsp. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil.

To make aged balsamic reduction: simmer aged balsamic vinegar until reduced to about 4 tsp.

Heat oven to 400°F. On lightly floured surface, divided pizza dough into four pieces. Roll each piece of pizza dough into an 8-inch circle. Place on a baking sheet; bake in 400°F oven 10 minutes or until firm and slightly brown.

Spread pizzas with softened goat cheese. Toss strawberries with white balsamic vinaigrette; arrange strawberries evenly on goat cheese. Bake 10 minutes more. Remove from oven; scatter crumbled goat cheese on top. Drizzle with aged balsamic reduction; sprinkle with black pepper. Garnish pizzas with a few leaves of arugula or mixed greens.

Makes four 8-inch pizzas.

Recipe and image courtesy of California Strawberry Commission. For more information and recipe ideas, please visit www.californiastrawberries.com.

Next: Fruity Leaf Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts.


Fruity Leaf Salad with Goat Cheese and WalnutsRaspberry Goat Cheese Salad with Walnuts recipe


1/2 vanilla bean
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) honey
1/4 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
1/4 cup (50 mL) extra virgin olive oil
4 oz (120 g) goat cheese log
4 cup (1 L) mixed salad greens
4 small pears, cored and sliced
1 cup (250 mL) raspberries
1 cup (250 mL) California Walnuts, toasted


Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the tip of the knife, remove seeds from the bean and whisk them together with the lemon, honey and salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil. Set aside.

Slice goat cheese into 4 pieces with dental floss or a very sharp knife. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and broil just until the edges start to melt, about 1 to 2 minutes.

In bowl, combine salad greens, pears and raspberries. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Arrange salad over four plates, top with warm cheese and sprinkle with walnuts.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe and image courtesy of the California Walnut Commission. For more recipe ideas and information about the health benefits of walnuts, visit www.walnutinfo.com.

Next: Mediterranean Watermelon Salad.


Mediterranean Watermelon SaladWatermelon Feta Cheese Salad recipe

6 cups (1.5 L) mixed salad greens
3 cups (750 mL) watermelon, cubed
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced onion
1/3 cup (75 mL) crumbled feta cheese
3 tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
cracked black pepper

In large bowl, add mixed salad greens, watermelon, sliced onion and crumbled feta cheese and mix to combine. Refrigerate well until later use. Just before serving, toss salad with oil and balsamic vinegar and garnish with pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING:120 calories, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fibre, 3 g protein. % RDI: 7% calcium, 15% iron, 3% vitamin A, 37% vitamin C.

Recipe and image provided courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board. For more recipes and carving ideas, visit www.watermelon.org.

Next: Nectarine Salad with Minted Chili Dressing.


Nectarine Salad with Minted Chili DressingOntario Nectarine Garden Salad with Minted Chili Dressing recipe

Sweet and spicy, this salad combines the flavours of chili, mint and ice wine vinegar with the crispness of nectarines. Add your favourite meat to make it a meal.


1 cup red chili, finely chopped 250 mL
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 125 mL
3 tbsp *Niagara Ice Wine vinegar 45 mL
1 tbsp maple syrup 15 mL
1/4 cup freshly chopped mint 50 mL
2 tbsp chives, snipped 30 mL
Sea salt to taste


1 ea *Boston bibb lettuce, washed and dried 1 ea
1 ea *romaine lettuce, washed and dried 1 ea
1 ea *red leaf lettuce, washed and dried 1 ea
3 Ontario nectarines, cut into wedges 3
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 1/2

Dressing: In a small bowl combine ingredients and set aside.

Salad: Tear lettuces into bite sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Add nectarines and onion. Whisk dressing, pour over greens and toss lightly. Serve on cold salad plates.

Makes 6 servings.

*Chef’s tip: In substitution of lettuces, use 500 g (1 lb) of pre–washed spring mix. In substitution of Niagara Ice Wine Vinegar, may use sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar.

PER SERVING: about 234 cal, 3 g pro, 19 g total fat (3 g sat fat), 16 g carb, 3 g fibre, 0 mg chol, 154 mg sodium. %RDI: iron 16%, calcium 6%, vit A 36%, vit C 128%, folate 46%.

Recipe and image provided by Ontario Tender Fruit via www.newscanada.com. For more fruit recipes ideas, visit www.ontariotenderfruit.ca.

Next: Peach Glazed Ribs.


Ontario Peach Glazed RibsPeach Glazed Ribs recipe

This fool-proof recipe will have parents rejoicing due to its no-fuss preparation method. The peach glaze is not only perfect for ribs, but equally as tasty on chicken, shrimp or pork. For those who want to enjoy the homemade sauce year-round, simply preserve and store in a cool dark place for up to one year.

2 lbs (1kg) pork back ribs, trimmed
3 lemon slices
1 lb (500g) Ontario peaches, pitted and roughly chopped (approximately 3 med-sized peaches)
1/2 cup (125mL) sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp (30mL) soy sauce
1 tbsp (15mL) minced gingerroot

In a large pot, cover the ribs with water; add lemon slices, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a vigorous simmer and continue to cook partially covered for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the meat is tender but not falling off the bones. Drain and transfer to tray or platter. Discard lemon.

Meanwhile, combine peaches, chili sauce, soy and gingerroot in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Preheat the barbecue to medium heat.

Brush the ribs generously with the peach glaze and grill for 10 minutes. Brush the ribs again and grill 10 minutes longer, until the glaze is caramelized. Alternatively, roast the ribs in a 425F (220C) oven until glaze is caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes. Slice into ribs. Serve warm or at room temperature with any remaining glaze.

Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: about 490 cal, 26g pro, 36g total fat (12g sat fat), 15g carb, 2g fibre, 120mg chol, 860mg sodium. %RDI: iron 8%, calcium 4%, vit A 15%, vit C 10%

Recipe and image provided by Ontario Tender Fruit via www.newscanada.com. For more fruit recipes ideas, visit www.ontariotenderfruit.ca.

Is seafood more your style? Try Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Ginger Salsa or Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos with watermelon.

Next: Very Berry Custard Pie.


Very Berry Custard PieSummer Berry Pie recipe

A summer berry pie is a perfect way to make the most of the fresh fruit that’s in season. This version is easy to make and takes less than 45 minutes. (You can save more time by using instant vanilla pudding for the custard instead of making it from scratch too.) Mix and match seasonal berries to your preference, and also consider adding kiwi. With its tangy-sweet flavour, it’s an ideal complement to berries and will add vibrant colour to the pie. More summer pie recipes can be found online at www.tenderflake.ca.

Preparation time: 30-45 minutes
Serves 6-8

1 deep dish frozen pie shell
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50mL) sugar
1/4 cup (50mL) flour
1 cup (250mL) whole milk
2 tsp (10mL) vanilla extract
Peeled and sliced kiwis
Rinsed, well-drained berries (raspberries/blueberries/blackberries)
Rinsed, well-drained, hulled and sliced strawberries

1. Prepare and bake pie shell according to package directions for a baked pie shell. Set aside to cool.

2. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and flour in a medium bowl.

3. Heat milk in saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from heat; add to egg mixture, ¼ cup (50 mL) at a time whisking continuously, until all of milk has been added. Return custard to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously, until custard has thickened to a consistency similar to pudding (5-7 minutes). Place plastic wrap directly onto surface of custard (this prevents a ‘skin’ from forming). Set aside to cool completely.

4. Spoon cold custard into baked pie shell and top with sliced fruit.

5. Serve the same day of making. Refrigerate any leftovers. Before serving, sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar.

(Source: www.newscanada.com.)

On a health kick? Try this Berry pie sweetened with honey on a pecan crust.

Next: Chocolate Meringues with Citrus Raspberry Curd.


Chocolate Meringues with Citrus Raspberry CurdChocolate Meringues with Citrus Raspberry Curd recipe

This dessert is redolent of the season with brilliantly coloured curd and a cascade of fresh berries on a chewy chocolate meringue. Raspberries contain anthocyanins, a group of phytochemicals that are being studied for their ability to fight heart disease and cancer.

Raspberry Curd:

2 cups (500 ml) fresh raspberries
1/4 cup (50 ml) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (25 ml) unsalted butter
2 tsp (10 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 whole egg plus 1 yolk


2 egg whites
1/4 tsp (1 ml) each salt, cream of tartar
1/2 cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (25 ml) cocoa powder
3/4 tsp (4 ml) cornstarch
1/2 tsp (2 ml) each vinegar, vanilla
Fresh raspberries

Raspberry Curd:

Purée raspberries; press through fine mesh sieve. Transfer along with sugar and butter to stainless steel bowl set over pot of simmering water. Whisk until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Stir in lemon juice.

In separate bowl, whisk egg and egg yolk. Whisking constantly, slowly pour a bit of the hot mixture into eggs. In thin steady stream, whisk in remaining raspberry mixture. Return mixture to double boiler; cook, whisking often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened. Pour through fine mesh sieve into clean bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 3 days.


Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace four 3-inch circles on paper; turn paper over. In bowl, beat together egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar 2 tbsp (25 ml) at a time until stiff, glossy peaks form. Using spatula, fold in cocoa powder and cornstarch. Fold in vinegar and vanilla.

Divide meringue among prepared circles, mounding the edges. Bake in 275 F (140 C) oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until crisp on the outside but still soft in the centre. Let cool in pan on rack. Cover with plastic wrap for up to 1 day.

Place meringue on plate. Surround with 2 tbsp (25 ml) of raspberry curd; spoon 2 tbsp (25 ml) of curd in centre of meringue. Scatter fresh berries over meringue and plate. Makes 4 servings.

per serving nutritional information: calories: 282; protein: 5 g; fat: 9 g; saturated fat: 5 g; carbohydrate: 48 g; dietary fibre: 6 g; sodium: 191 mg.

(Recipe by Daphna Rabinovitch originally published in the August 2004 edition of 50Plus Magazine.)

For more sweet ways to enjoy raspberries, try Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cups and Chocolate Cake with Raspberries.

Next: Wicked Watermelon Sorbet.


Wicked Watermelon SorbetWicked Watermelon Sorbet recipe

This healthy and refreshing dessert is a wicked way to cool down and stay hydrated on a hot summer’s day. The soothing flavours of basil and mint, combine beautifully with watermelon to create a low-cal sweet treat.

1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
2 sprigs Thai basil
2 sprigs mint
6 cups (1.5 L) seedless watermelon

In small saucepan, over medium high heat, combine sugar and water until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add basil and mint and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. Pour syrup through strainer.

In blender, combine watermelon with basil syrup. Process until smooth. Pour into an 8-inch square (2L) baking dish. Freeze, whisking occasionally, until semi-firm, about 4 hours. Scoop into food processor and blend in batches, pulsing until smooth. Scoop processed sorbet into a container, cover and return to freezer for at least 24 hours and up to 2 weeks. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before scooping into chilled bowls.

Serves 8.

Per serving: about 80 cal, 0 g pro, 0 g fat, 23 g carb, 1 g fibre, 0 mg chol, 0 mg sodium. %RDI: 2% calcium, 2% iron, 8% vit A, 10% vit C.

Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board. For more recipe ideas, visit www.watermelon.org.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with a twist on a classic fruit crumble — like Debbie’s Nectarine and Plum Crisp or Kellogg’s All-Bran Peach and Raspberry Crisp.

Next: Chunky Grape Salsa.


Chunky Grape SalsaGrapes hanging on vine

1 medium navel orange, peeled and cut into small segments
8 ounces (225 grams) seedless red grapes, stemmed and cut into quarters
1/2 cup (100 mL) chopped red pepper
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped cilantro
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped green onions
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced jalapeños (optional)
1/2 cup (100 mL) Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lime juice

In a medium bowl, mix the orange, grapes, red pepper, cilantro, green onions, and jalapeño if using. Stir in the grape juice and lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more lime juice, if needed.

Serve immediately with tortilla chips, pita or flatbread.

More great recipes and quick and easy tips can be found online at www.welchs.com.

(Source: www.newscanada.com. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Isaac Santillan)

Looking for more ways to enjoy fresh grapes? Try Agnes’ Coronation Grape Buckle, Curried Chicken, Asparagus and Grape Salad and Roasted Grape and Goat Cheese Salad.

Next: Classic Peach Preserves.


Classic Ontario Peach PreservesClassic Ontario Peach Preserves jam recipe

This classic preserve recipe captures the fresh taste and aroma of Ontario peaches, which can be enjoyed immediately or during the cold chill of winter. For a variation on taste, add 2 tbsp (30 mL) of rum, peach schnapps or frangelico at the end of cooking.

4 cups peeled, thinly sliced, ripe Ontario peaches 1 L
6 cups granulated sugar 1.5 L
1/4 cup lemon juice 50 mL
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin 1

Sterilize jars and lids:

Place six, clean 2 cup (500 mL) mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/85°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/85°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.


Place alternate layers of peaches and sugar in a large saucepan. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. Add lemon juice.

Place over high heat and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Immediately stir in liquid fruit pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Stir and skim foam with metal spoon for 10 minutes to prevent floating fruit.

Ladle hot preserves into sterilized jars within 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) of top of jars. Wipe jar rims removing any food residue. Centre sealing discs on jar rims. Screw band down until resistance is met. Place filled jars on a rack in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Repeat process with remaining preserves. Remove jars and cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; do not retighten screw bands. Store jars in a cool dark place.

Makes about 7 cups (1.75 L).

Tip: When preserving, it is important to use high-quality, glass jars to prevent breakage. For home canning safety and process tips visit www.homecanning.ca.

Recipe and image provided by Ontario Tender Fruit via www.newscanada.com. For more fruit recipes ideas, visit www.ontariotenderfruit.ca.

Of course, these fruit recipes are just a small selection of the many tasty choices out there. What’s your favourite fruit recipe? Share with us in the comments.