Too Hot to Cook? Cool Summer Desserts

If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen or at least forget running the oven


I think of summer as a time to eat as much fruit as possible. All year I look forward to the local peaches and watermelons.

I dream about fat blueberries and perfectly ripe cantaloupes.

The farmers markets are full of tasty local produce, and the grocery store has good deals on avocados and strawberries.

I am in food heaven.

But it’s too hot to cook. Here in Missouri, the temperature sits close to 100 most days, and the air-conditioner is earning its keep.

Frankly, the only thing worth running the oven for is peach crisp – topped with ice cream, of course.

And if you can’t bear to run the oven, even for that, sliced peaches with ice cream are good without any cooking. If you haven’t got any ice cream, just eat the peaches!

I am content to devour the summer fruit bounty unprocessed. Perfectly ripe fruit doesn’t need any help, and the heat makes me too lazy to fuss over food.

A bowl of watermelon chunks is very satisfying all by itself. This is especially true if I have gotten a good fat one from a roadside stand. They can be so sweet I’d almost think they added sugar!

Also, watermelon is a great remedy for dehydration. It is mostly water, and at the same time, it has vitamin C, vitamin A, Potassium, and other great nutrients. There is a watermelon living in my fridge all summer. No, not the same watermelon. Really.

Same goes for cantaloupes, and the Missouri peaches are so juicy I have to eat them with multiple napkins.

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The exciting thing about all this taste bud thrilling fruit is that it’s heavenly and healthy as well. Yes, all that lovely fruit is loaded with nutrients. Plus, a lot of it is local, or at least regional, so I get to feel environmentally virtuous as well.

The peach orchard that grows my peaches is about six miles south of me. How’s that for low food miles? Granted, in order to buy them, I have to drive fifteen miles north to where they have set up their fruit stand. Still, it sure beats the pants off of clementines from overseas!

Sometimes I have other people to feed, and then I am inspired to be a bit more fancy. As I said, Peach crisp is worth running the oven for, and strawberry shortcake as well.

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Fruit smoothie is my latest breakfast favorite. Healthy, and yet it tastes like I’m having dessert. My version is rather calorie laden, as I’m nursing a baby, but has a regular smoothie as well, for those of you not looking to pack extra calories into your day!

Fruit salad is another nice, low effort dessert. You can serve it to the family, or take it along to potluck events. With all those bright fruits, it’s a very pretty dish. I get out a big spoon and mix mine up with a bit of sugar, but if you’re showing off for company, you can arrange the fruit for an even prettier presentation.

If you have a bit more ambition, you could make any of the following recipes, wowing guests or family and still avoiding the stove altogether: Acai Berry Dessert, Avocado Lime Sorbet and Coconut Fruit popsicles.

Don’t forget to cool off with that summer classic: Lemonade. But please, put away that nasty powdered stuff. Break out the lemons and make the real deal. You might throw in a lime or two to make it even tastier.

Happy eating and stay cool!

Zoe Keeland, Veggie Mom

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