While traveling to San Francisco this spring, I learned from a local that July Fourth is typically the coldest time of the year. By day, the Bay Area rises into the 60s, but for fireworks at dusk, it’s time to bundle up, with the breeze blowing and temperatures hovering around 50. Compare that to last year’s 82 degrees in Los Angeles, 85 degrees in New York, and the 101 degree scorcher in Austin, Texas, and it’s safe to say most of America will be feeling the heat this month.
As we begin to plan the coming holiday, the temperature has everything to do with what we bring to our various outdoor celebrations. Food left at room temperature for too long can cause harmful bacteria to develop. The recommendation is to not leave food unrefrigerated for over two hours, and if the temperature is above 90 degrees, no more than one hour. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up a list of Fourth of July foods that can handle the heat.
Five Fourth of July Recipes That Can Handle the Heat
Mark Bittman, the author of How to Cook Everything, shares his recipe for this deliciously addictive finger food. Make them in the morning when it’s cool enough to turn the oven on, bake until crispy and serve them later in the day as a snack to start your festivities. User tip: Make a triple batch because you’ll definitely be munching before your company comes.
Use this recipe for the method but take this Broccoli Pesto or our Basil and Brazil Nut Pesto recipe as a hint that any nut or green vegetable works for this summer sauce. Serve with crackers or crudités, drizzle on freshly grilled meat or vegetables, or tossed with pasta and more veggies. All of these dishes taste the best at room temperature, where the garlic and basil flavors are pronounced.
Where leafy greens and creamy dressings wilt and spoil in the heat, this plant-based salad shines. Roast up a pan of peppers, onions and eggplant and throw it with this lemon dressing for a recipe that can hold up under the sun. Skip the cheese, swap quinoa for pasta or add your favorite vegetable to this lemon + basil forward dish and you’ll be coming back to this recipe again and again.
While there’s nothing quite as American as apple pie, blueberry hand pies are seasonal and friendly for packing, picnicking and serving outdoors. Make these individual blueberry hand pies or substitute Bob’s Red Mill pie crust for a gluten-free option with any berry or cherry in season near you.
Is it a bar or a blondie? If you’re from the Midwest, any dessert cut into squares is typically called a bar but these blondies are anything but typical. Jenn from Veggie Inspired makes these 100 percent vegan treats using chickpeas, nut butter and oats. There’s nothing meltable in this dessert but who’s to say you won’t top them with some ice cream or chocolate chips when the sun goes down?
For more food inspiration for the holiday check out our guide for how to eat well on the 4th of July.