When summer arrives and the weather gets warm, it’s a great time to experiment with new foods. Pennsylvania farmer’s markets and farms are filled with fresh, flavorful foods just reaching their peak.
Unfortunately, summer can also stall the appetite a bit and can create some unique challenges when it comes to dining. In the heat, you need to stay more hydrated and dining in hot weather can be unpleasant. On top of that, you need to make sure you follow food safety guidelines to keep cool foods cool and hot foods hot. What’s on your plate, though, can help you stay cool. Here’s how:
1) Take advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with flavor at this time of year and many of them are also high in water, which helps you stay hydrated. Produce has vitamins and nutrients and doesn’t always require cooking, which can help you keep your home cooler.
Pop some sliced-up cucumbers, carrots, celery, watermelon, grapes and berries in the fridge to keep them chilled. They are a great way to beat the heat. If anyone in your family has lost their appetite because of the hot weather, icy cold fruits and vegetables are a good option. You can even blend them up for smoothies!
2) Cook and dine outside.
Grilling or preparing your food outside can be a great way to get out of a hot kitchen and can help you keep your home cooler, too. Dining alfresco is also one of the joys of summer and lets you take advantage of a breezy day. If you wait until dark or have breakfast outside early, you can also make the most of the coolest parts of the day.
3) Reach for the spice.
Research proves it — spicy foods contain capsaicin, a chemical that prompts a neural response and makes you sweat. Since sweat is your body’s natural way of cooling itself, eating a spicy meal can actually help you cool down. If you look at cuisines from countries with very warm weather, you’ll notice lots of spicy foods. Indian, Thai, Chinese and other world cuisines in warm climates take advantage of the power of capsaicin, so why shouldn’t you?
4) Let someone else take care of it.
When the weather is too hot and you’re feeling weary, consider letting chefs prepare your dinner or lunch. Indoor restaurants stay nice and cool all summer long, and many have summer menus with refreshing items sure to tantalize. Try a Bricco starter of baby spinach, grilled asparagus, watermelon and radish with lemon poppy seed dressing this summer. Or opt for a cheese board to set a more decadent mood. Then cool things down more with a cocktail or refreshing drink. Reserve dinner at Bricco today and give your overheated kitchen a break!