Notice: Recipe ideas for a fruitful month of July | Opinion
Food to Power is based in the Hillside neighborhood in our new offices and farm. Since 2015, we’ve been moving food from where it’s plentiful to where it’s needed. You can discover the many facets of what we do, from farming to workshops to providing groceries, on our website. We’ll be using this space to share recipes, tips and more.
Although we’re known for beef and peppers, Colorado also produces incredible fruit. July is when our local farmers market, the Colorado Farm and Art Market or CFAM, begins carrying many Colorado-grown fruits, from cherries to Palisade peaches. For me, these fruits are a major treat. Instead of being picked green and shipped around the world, they fully ripen in the sun, which means they produce more sugar and more flavor than what I find in the store. But they can also be more expensive as small farmers struggle to survive. At CFAM, a $10 swipe of an EBT card gets you $20 on food through the Double Up Bucks program. To make the most of this precious summer fruit, here are some recipes that use a little fruit to nourish many.
Picnic tortellini salad
For a picnic, a summer meal or a quick dinner on a hot night
any combination of greens, fruits and vegetables for this recipe. Prepare tortellini according to package directions. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, rinse off a head of lettuce, a bundle of spinach, or a bag of arugula (which can be as cheap at the farmer’s market this time of year as they are at the store). Then chop a fruit and a vegetable of your choice. A pint of strawberries with snow peas is ideal for the start of summer. A peaches or apricots or two with grated beets or carrots is another great option. Add tomatoes as soon as they are available.
When the pasta is cooked, rinse it under cold water and refrigerate it (or freeze it for speed) while you finish chopping the other ingredients. Make a quick dressing with olive oil, lemon juice and honey or use a premade dressing. Once the tortellini have cooled, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and serve.
There are many recipes for fresh fruit salsas, from blueberry to plum. These recipes can take a peach, a pint of blueberries, or a bag of plums and turn them into a condiment you can use on grilled meats, tacos, and more for multiple meals. Fresh corn is also both more available and less expensive in the summer, and makes a great addition to a fruit salsa. Try a combination of a fruit; corn; half a red onion; a sweet pepper; and one or more hot peppers such as jalapeños, habañeros, or Pueblo peppers. Chop everything finely or blend the ingredients one by one in a food processor. Mix everything with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Store the salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week or two.
A pound of fruit, a cup of yogurt, and something to sweeten the mixture is all you need for homemade popsicles. No fancy mold is needed. Puree fruit (like berries or pitted cherries) in a blender or food processor. Taste the mixture to see if it should be sweetened with honey or simple syrup. Sugar doesn’t melt as well as a liquid, but works as well. Whisk the yogurt in a separate bowl to remove any lumps and add sweetener if desired.
Now it’s time to fill your popsicle “molds”. I don’t have a mold as such, so I use an ice cube tray or paper cups. The advantage of the cups is that you can choose any size, and if you have trouble getting the popsicles out, you can tear the paper. Whatever you use, alternate spoonfuls of yogurt and fruit, then use a popsicle stick to mix the two ingredients together. Put the popsicles on a tray to keep them level and place them in the freezer. After an hour, add popsicle sticks. Then put the tray back in place for at least two more hours. When you’re ready to eat, let the popsicles thaw for a few minutes. You don’t want to melt them, but a little thawing will make them easier to unmold.
If you’re making something delicious with seasonal fruit this summer, we’d love to hear about it. Tag us when you show your dish on social media. If the Farmer’s Market isn’t your thing, we also have fruit. Our no-cost grocery program operates Tuesdays at 3 p.m. and Saturdays at noon from our office at 1090 S. Institute Street. We also support grocery programs across the city, ensuring that fresh food gets to the people who will eat it.
Find a program near you at foodtopower.org. The CFAM Market takes place downtown in the Colorado Springs Independent parking lot on Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m.
Erin Taylor is Director of Education at Food to Power.