Seasonal cooking for June with lists of in-season produce, preserves to use up, and favorite recipes for easy meal planning. Use the free printable seasonal menu planning page to help you focus on cooking through the seasons and build up your own custom seasonal eating plan.
This article is part of a year-long series on how to cook seasonal foods for each month as a resource for meal planning, saving money, and helping the environment.
Each month of the seasonal cooking series includes:
- What's in season for that month.
- What you may have in your freezer and pantry to use up if you preserve food.
- Favorite recipes using seasonal produce from An Oregon Cottage to help you plan to eat seasonally.
- A free printable weekly menu planner for the month with areas to record what's in season for you and what you have to use up!
What is Seasonal Cooking?
Seasonal cooking refers to using foods at the times of year when they are producing at their peak, both in harvest and flavor. This is also usually when the food is the least expensive and freshest on the market.
Our definition of seasonal foods, though, is a bit more broad than just what produce is at its peak and when.
For simple homemade life advocates (like me and you), seasonal eating includes:
- Produce that grows in that month and is available locally.
- Produce that grows in that month but is not local - "globally seasonal." Citrus is an example of this where we live and tropical produce like bananas and pineapple for most of the US is globally seasonal.
- Frozen fruits and veggies that were picked at the peak time for nutrition.
- Home-canned and/or dried vegetables and fruits.
- Food dictated by the weather (soups in winter, salads in summer, etc.) and time of year (trying to use up frozen and canned produce, etc.).
Why is eating seasonally important?
There are a number of reasons it's a good idea to think about what's in season before creating your menu and shopping.
- Saving Money. Produce bought in season is often at its cheapest in the stores and markets.
- Better Flavor. Fruits and veggies at their ripest often taste better and sweeter when perfectly ripe. This is true of frozen produce that's picked at it's best time as well.
- Healthier. Produce picked and consumed or preserved at its prime often has the most vitamins and minerals compared with out of season.
- Better for the Environment. "Eating more seasonal food is one proposal for moving towards more sustainable consumption patterns." (source)
It’s important to note that it’s not always possible to eat locally and seasonally for everyone all of the time.
It’s more important to think about making decisions where you can that are better for you, your wallet and your health.
How do you eat seasonally?
- Use the lists and recipes here to make a menu and shopping plan.
- Harvest from your own garden or visit farmer's markets.
- Use the shopping lists when super market shopping, noting the sales in the produce aisle.
- Try new things that are in season!
- Add new recipes and keep them in a binder to cycle through the following season.
Now that so much produce is available for most of the year, it’s easy to lose track of its seasonality.
That's why I created a weekly menu planning page that I will be including for each month of this series for you to download and print out. Use it to write down the seasonal foods you need to use and buy, as well as the recipes you'll make that week.
Pro Tip: Keep all of these through a year and you'll have a custom seasonal menu binder you can refer to year after year!
Note: If you're already a subscriber, you can find this in the VIP library!
Hopefully this series will be a resource for you, helping you meal plan around what would be available in the Northern Hemisphere for each season, what you may have in your pantries, and what recipes you can make.
Seasonal Eating for June
June is the beginning of all the great summer produce I look forward to all year.
Specifically, strawberries, the first of the summer raspberries and maybe blackberries, as well as the biggest pea harvests, green onions, broccoli, more asparagus, and lots of lettuce and greens.
Depending on where you live, you may have more to harvest in your garden and you'll definitely find more at farmers markets and on sale at grocery stores from the lists below.
June includes the official start of summer and with that comes warmer weather, so June's recipes are a combo of easy stove-top methods, delicious salads, and pastas.
Seasonal Produce for June
Fruits that are in season:
- Blackberries & Raspberries (mid to end month)
- Early Blueberries
Vegetables that are in season:
- Chard, Kale
- Green Onions
- Lettuce/Salad Greens
- Baby Beets
- Baby Carrots
- Early Summer Squash
Preserved seasonal food you may have to use up:
Pro Tip: Use the planning page to record how many of these you have left and use them up asap to make room for the new season's produce.
- No-Blanch Green Beans
- Frozen Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries (and any freezer jams)
- Secret Ingredient Basil Pesto
- Shredded Zucchini
- Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Canned Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Canned Pizza Sauce
- Salsa and/or Salsa Verde
- Pickled Beans
- Easy Garlic Dill Pickles
- Pickled Asparagus (These may be new from May - use the older jars first if you have any.)
- Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
- Addictive Tomato Chutney, Blueberry Chutney, or any other chutneys
Seasonal Eating Recipes for June
This recipe uses the spinach or the chard that is producing in many gardens right now - it also works with any frozen greens you may have, just sauté them first with the other veggies to release the liquid or squeeze them out well. It's SO good topped with any kind of chutney (though the tomato chutney is amazing here).
A yummy way to use up spinach or other green, plus you can add dried tomatoes instead of fresh if they aren't in season yet for you.
I could eat this a couple times a week, it's so good. However since beets in our area are just starting to produce if planted in early spring, that's probably not possible!
(Note: If you think you don't like beets, I've had people tell me this is the only way they like them!)
Another good potluck salad that uses up plentiful cabbage and may make you forget about all other slaw recipes.
Use fresh snap and snow peas in a grilled vegetable mixture with onions and carrots.
Menu idea: one way I like to serve this is to give it an Asian spin with Soy-Sriracha Marinated Grilled Chicken and rice.
Even though our strawberries are just starting to turn red these shortcakes will definitely be on the menu later this month! I never get tired of the combo of the sweet strawberries, crunchy biscuit, and creamy topping.
Use the first of the blueberries to make this quick cobbler with a honey-sweetened lemon sauce that's to.die.for.
What are some of your favorite dishes to make this month using what's in season around your house?
Don't forget to download and print out your free seasonal meal planning page:
Originally published in June of 2011, this article has been completely updated to be more relevant and useful - enjoy!