Flavor of the Month

For me, the seasons of New England aren’t just about changing temperatures and landscapes.  They’re about flavors.  The most delicious, mouth-watering flavors that you can imagine.  But since my cooking passion is baking – and there are only so many cookies, cakes, and pies that one should can eat in one sitting – I sadly often miss the flavors that belong to a particular month.

For example, one can bake blueberry muffins at any point in the year.  But in August, a girl can pick her very own, plump blueberries – the sweetest and juiciest possible – and turn those into the most fresh, tender muffins imaginable.  (It also doesn’t hurt that food purchased in-season also tends to be much more affordable).

And is it just me or does pumpkin somehow taste that much better once the leaves have begun to change color?

Sometimes, flavors just taste best when served in the right month.  I couldn’t tell you why.  It’s just the way it is.

I went blueberry picking this morning, and I stared at the large bowl of berries in my hands… and I wanted to panic.  How does one choose what to make with such fresh, sweet fruit?  How could I decide between blueberry pancakes, pie, crumble, crisp, bread, donuts, cupcakes or even cheesecake?  Of course, there’s even the delicious – but healthier – option of simply tossing a handful of the berries into a bowl of cereal and milk.

So many endless possibilities!  So little time before they would need to be eaten or frozen.

“Don’t forget about blueberry buckle,” my mom reminded me, as I began to recite all of the blueberry possibilities out loud.  “Blueberry buckle is really good too.”

*Insert photo of me screaming, waving my hands in the air, and running through the blueberry fields like a crazy person*

And then it hit me.

Time and time again, I wait until last minute, and then I realize that the season for one of my favorite flavors is over.  (Sometimes, that ends with my not having made even one recipe with my favorite seasonal flavors).  But really, all that could change if I came up with a flavor of the month!  If every month had a flavor to focus on, I would be a little more decisive when it came time to bake, and I’d be sure to use my favorite flavors in season.

For example…  I remember that, when I was growing up, I could have told you what season we were in, just by the types of foods my mom was baking.  To this day, zucchini bread signifies the end of summer, apple pie announces the arrival of fall, and pumpkin bread sings that the leaves are falling and soon-enough snow will be too. 

So I did it!  I began a list of flavors for each month (hopefully most of them correspond to the correct seasons they best fit with).  My goal is to make one tried-and-true recipe each month that I absolutely have to bake (like strawberry shortcakes or pumpkin pie), and then to make one new recipe too (should I have the time).  I decided to add in a few seasonal, savory flavors as well; because I don’t want to miss out on those favorites!  (Of course, a few months have more than one flavor, so I’ll just use the list as flavor inspirations to guide me when I’m picking out something to bake or cook.  AND this is a list-in-process, as I may have to adjust flavors to better match each month as it comes).  🙂  

Think I can do it?

At the very least, I put a list together… and – well – you all know how much I do love a good list!  But the main thing is that it will encourage me to bake at least one dessert – or to cook up one meal – that includes some of my favorite seasonal flavors.  And documenting it will help me try new things each time, instead of panicking about not being able to fit everything in at once.

ALSO, my goal is to print out my favorite recipes and put them into a binder, so that – when a particular season hits – I’ll have tried-and-true recipes at my fingertips.  (If I’m feeling particularly motivated, I may even write up a little paragraph about who I ate the food with and also may include a photo of the occasion.  But no promises…).  😉

I just think that it would make for a wonderful keepsake of favorite, family recipes!   Hmmmm, this is kind of sounding like a fun (and delicious) scrapbook project.  🙂

(Oh, but I need flavor inspiration for April.  Ideas, please!!  Also, did I forget any important flavors / seasonal foods that just have to be includedI definitely feel as though I might have left some out).


 

FLAVORS OF THE MONTH – Sweet and Savory

January –  Cinnamon / Cranberries

February –  Oatmeal

March –  Bananas

April –

May –   Lemon

June – Strawberries

July – Watermelon / Cherries / (Does ‘grilled food’ count as a flavor?  Ha, ha)

August – Blueberries / Corn / Zucchini / Basil

September –  Peaches / Rosemary

October –   Apples / Maple syrup / Butternut squash

November –   Pumpkin / Gingerbread

December –   Chocolate (obviously) / Peppermint 



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13 thoughts on “Flavor of the Month”

  1. Whoa this is brilliant! See, mommy brain can serve you well sometimes! I might refer back to this post myself 🙂 Thank you!

    Also, I highly recommend the binder. I do that now and you’d think I would remember which meals are our favorites but nope, I forget. So it’s a million times easier to look in the binder.

    1. You’re welcome!! I will probably post a finalized ‘copy’ of the list on my kitchen blog, once I have it. I’m really hoping this helps me squeeze in my favorite flavors throughout the year!!! 🙂
      And I’m definitely the same way! I always forget our favorite meals too! And then we have company over, and I ask myself, “Wait, what do I make us for dinner that’s good? I have no idea what to make!” Ha, ha!! So I think the binder is a definite must, and I hope to start it this weekend!! 🙂

  2. Great idea! These flavors are perfect for their respective months too. The only flavors I can think of for April (which makes me think of Easter) are marshmallow (like the little Peep candies!) and those Reeses peanut butter eggs. So obviously my mind is on CANDY!

    1. Ooh, that’s true! I should use the flavors of Easter as inspiration for April. (I too thin of marshmallows, peanut butter eggs… and even carrots)! Thank you for that inspiration! I’m going to run with it!!

    1. You know, now that you mention asparagus, I think that’s a GREAT idea! I love it, but I never make it. If it were on my list, then maybe I’d actually be inspired to try it more in soups, stir-fries, and as a side dish! Thank you so much for the suggestion!

  3. When I think April, I remember that rhubarb is on its way and we can start making strawberry rhubarb pies. Or rhubarb crisps and things like that. 😀

    Also, LOVE this idea! I noticed that butternut squash is in my birthday month. I’d be happy to be on the receiving end of your lovely butternut squash soup! Hint, hint. 😉

    1. Ooh, yes, rhubarb is a good one! That will definitely make the list! (Especially since I love it but have never cooked with it).
      And a big bowl of creamy, piping-hot butternut squash soup will definitely be a part of your birthday month, for sure! 🙂

  4. I seriously can’t get enough blueberries (& strawberries, raspberries, etc) right now! Yum.
    I love the idea of a flavors of the month recipe book. I don’t know what would be good for April…now I have something to think about. 🙂

  5. I just love your list of flavors! I think I need to write it down or print it out and hang it on my fridge so I can remember to bake with those ingredients, too! I am always singing the praises of seasonal food…. and then sometimes I forget to make things like butternut squash soup when it’s at its peak!

  6. This is brilliant!! We definitely eat seasonally, but planning ahead for what you know is coming is such a great idea. I love that you have memories of knowing what time of year it is just by what you were eating. I want that for my kids! I have a couple of those memories (like watermelon in the summer, pumpkin in the fall, and cookies at Christmas), but not specifics and not for every month. So yeah, I love this! 🙂

    Also for April… maybe pineapple? April to me is when I am always longing for summer to REALLY arrive so I start making my favorite pineapple coconut milk slushes! Oh yum! 🙂

  7. I just went blueberry picking and brought back a huge haul (about 6lbs worth). I see a lot of blueberry muffins in my future (that is, if I don’t eat them all first)

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