Fruits and veggies that are at peak freshness cost less, taste more flavorful, and contain more nutrients than produce that isn’t in season. The month of May brings with it some delicious springtime options for fruits and vegetables. Here are 15 of them you should load your shopping cart with now.
On its own, rhubarb has a tart, sour taste, but it comes alive when you cook it with something sweet. Eat the stalks, not the leaves, and try adding rhubarb to a cherry pie, a strawberry cobbler, or a berry compote.
Although you can probably find asparagus at the grocery store year round, it’s at its tastiest right now. Look for bright green asparagus with firm (not wilted) tips, and try roasting it in the oven after you toss it in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3. GREEN PEAS
Bags of green peas are commonly frozen and available year round in the freezer section of your grocery store, but now’s the time to get them fresh. Add peas to pasta or salad, pair them with mint, or use them to make pea soup.
A delicious tropical fruit, mango is so sweet it tastes like candy. Mangoes are perfectly ripe when they feel slightly soft to the touch—don’t wait until they’re super mushy to eat them. Mango pairs well with fish, lime, and pineapple.
In temperate climates like California, avocados are usually available all year, but they’re in peak season now in the rest of the country. Whether you choose a Hass or Fuerte variety, you can use avocados for all kinds of awesome things (guacamole, anyone?).
A delicious harbinger of summer, strawberries start to taste extra sweet and juicy right around now. Because strawberries are considered a “Dirty Dozen” fruit by some environmental groups—meaning their crops carry some of the produce world’s highest pesticide loads—opt for organic strawberries if possible. Eat them plain, add them to yogurt, or mix them with other berries … the options are endless!
Spicy and peppery, raw radishes have a bit of a kick to them. Add radish slices to nachos or top the slices with olive oil and salt. You can even roast whole radishes in the oven if you’re looking for a more subtle flavor boost.
Artichokes take a decent amount of work to prepare, but trust us: They’re worth it. They’re still in peak season now, and they won’t peak again until October, so act fast. Dip the ends in melted butter and scrape off the soft edible part with your teeth, or add artichoke hearts to pasta puttanesca.
Spinach is in peak season in the spring and fall, so now’s the time to eat it if you want it to taste extra fresh. Toss spinach with olive oil and lemon juice for a quick spinach salad, or get your daily fix of greens by adding the nutritional powerhouse to pasta dishes.
In colonial America, pineapples were so valuable that they became symbols of wealth; colonists could even pay to rent a pineapple for a night. Although the price of pineapples has thankfully gone down since then, pineapples are still loved for their sweet taste and versatility. Make a pineapple tart, add small chunks to fried rice, or drink the juice.
Nectarines, which are basically peaches without their fuzz, are reaching the beginning of their peak season now. They make excellent snacks and are a fantastic addition to baked goods such as scones. For something different, cut them on half and throw them on the grill. After about 4 minutes, they’ll have developed a deliciously smoky-sweet glaze.
A stone fruit, cherries are sweet, tart, and downright delicious. Sadly, cherries are only available in stores for a brief window of time in the summer. Grown in southern California, the Brooks cherry variety peaks the earliest of all cherry varieties, in late May to early June, so look for them if you’re hoping to get an early start on your summer cherry snacking.
13. CAPE GOOSEBERRIES
Because raspberries and blackberries aren’t in season until June and July, keep your cravings for berries at bay with cape gooseberries. Members of the tomatillo family, cape gooseberries have a mild flavor and look like small yellow grape tomatoes. Popular as an ingredient in jams in Australia and New Zealand, cape gooseberries can be eaten raw, added to salads, or sweetened for use in desserts.
14. SWEET ONIONS
Vidalia onions, which are grown in Georgia, are much sweeter than other onion varieties because the soil they grow in has a low sulfur content. Choose sweet onions that are firm and free of bruises, and grill them for burgers, make onion rings, or put raw onion pieces into salads.
Don’t let the concept of prunes keep you from missing out on the deliciousness that is a fresh plum. Plums from California will be be in season in late May, and work well in tarts and salads. Look for brightly-colored fruit that yields slightly to pressure; anything too mushy or too firm will result in a less-than-satisfying snacking experience.