How Do I Choose the Best Summer Appetizer?

Robyn Little

Summer appetizers can be the start to a cool and refreshing pool party, a fun picnic with the kids or a great late night cocktail party. Picking the best summer appetizers from among a multitude of fresh, in-season foods can be a mouthwatering experience. Most people prefer to keep the kitchen cool and choose foods that require little indoor cooking. Some of the best summer appetizers are typically fresh and light foods. The kind of summer appetizer that you choose will be determined at least partly by the occasion, because some foods are better for more casual occasions and others might be suited for a dinner party.

Crostini with mozzarella cheese, chopped tomato and basil.
Crostini with mozzarella cheese, chopped tomato and basil.

No matter what type of appetizer you are looking for, fresh appetizers in the summer are popular with many people. There is a multitude of fresh produce available throughout the summer. Check your local area to see what is fresh at any given time. Local produce often tastes the best because it is the freshest. Some favorite fresh produce appetizers include melons, berries, bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower, to name a few.

Fresh fruit can be used for a summer appetizer.
Fresh fruit can be used for a summer appetizer.

One great summer appetizer that can suit any occasion is dip. You can put fresh fruit or vegetables with dip, or even toasted pita or bagel chips. The dip might be seasoned with fresh basil or parsley. Dip allows you to combine many types of finger foods into one appetizer. Petite veggie sandwiches also are a great summer treat, and you can easily lay them out on an eye-pleasing snack platter for even more appeal.

Shrimp appetizers.
Shrimp appetizers.

If hot food is something you are looking for in your summer appetizer, look no further than your backyard grill. This lends for limitless appetizer possibilities, such as grilled chicken wings, bacon-wrapped shrimp, shish kabobs and even small slider hamburgers. Nearly anything can be grilled on a backyard grill and used as an appetizer, if prepared properly. This includes corn on the cob and even pizza.

Salmon canapés with crème fraîche, caviar and dill.
Salmon canapés with crème fraîche, caviar and dill.

Choosing a great summer appetizer is ultimately a personal choice. The best foods for the hot months of summer usually are those that are served cold or from the backyard grill. This keeps the heat out of the house and gives the food a flavor that is different from other seasons of the year. When you choose fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s also a great way to taste food at its peak time of freshness, when the flavor is at its height.

An antipasti platter.
An antipasti platter.
Fresh basil leaves are often used to garnish appetizers.
Fresh basil leaves are often used to garnish appetizers.
Cauliflower makes a good summer appetizer.
Cauliflower makes a good summer appetizer.
Cheese and crackers are a popular appetizer.
Cheese and crackers are a popular appetizer.
Salsa and chips make an easy and tasty summer appetizer.
Salsa and chips make an easy and tasty summer appetizer.
Chicken wings make tasty summer appetizers.
Chicken wings make tasty summer appetizers.
A salad of fresh greens and strawberries is a simple, yet healthy summer appetizer.
A salad of fresh greens and strawberries is a simple, yet healthy summer appetizer.
Caviar canapés with cool, creamy fromage blanc.
Caviar canapés with cool, creamy fromage blanc.
Snack platters may include pickles.
Snack platters may include pickles.
Cold shrimp with cocktail sauce is a flavorful summer appetizer.
Cold shrimp with cocktail sauce is a flavorful summer appetizer.
At any summer party, offer an assortment of appetizers that are vegetarian.
At any summer party, offer an assortment of appetizers that are vegetarian.

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