The list of in season fruits and vegetables starts to lengthen in May as weather turns warmer for even the northernmost states. Citrus is on its way out, along with cool weather crops, but most of the country can now enjoy spring icons like asparagus and rhubarb. Southern and western states start to welcome summer produce like berries and cherries.
We really only get good asparagus for about two months of the year, so enjoy it all the time now, while you can. Try this asparagus tart with strawberry salsa for the ultimate spring brunch. Or go back to the basics with 4 ways to cook asparagus.
Cabbage comes back in season this month. This hearty vegetable can handle frost, but not heat. So even if we get a late-season frost, the cabbage crop still stays strong, but cabbage heads (which are mostly water) will expand and split if the weather gets too hot (typically about 75ºF). Try slicing cabbage up for this tasty thai-inspired salad.
Chives, dill, thyme — they’re all back in season. If you’re growing them at home, you’ll start to see them spring up at different points this month, depending where you live. Try this mushroom stroganoff with fresh thyme.
Spring greens are one of the best parts of the seasons. You might be able to find local spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, lettuce, or kale depending on where you live. Toss them in salads, sautéed them with garlic, pulverize them for pestos.
Fungi has never been tastier. Earthy mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked. They pair well with just about everything. Try them in in the creamy casserole starring alongside their spring sister, asparagus.
Peas are a staple of spring. The little green spherical seeds contain a decent amount of magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Try adding them to soup, like this roasted asparagus and pea soup, or adding them to salads, like the Vegan Thai snow pea salad with peanut dressing.
Chopped radishes can give an ordinary salad a spicy crunch. Add them to Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesdays this month for a great garnish to your Mexican-inspired meals. Or, eat them raw with a pinch of salt.
If you love rhubarb, you probably LOVE rhubarb. The odd-looking vegetable grows as lengthy stalks with enormous leaves. But stay away from the latter. Rhubarb leaves can be toxic to humans and dogs, too. Try rhubarb in this classic pie.
Spring brings baby greens, and young sprouts are no exception. Although you can eat all kinds of sprouts, bean and alfalfa sprouts are two of the most common. Add them to salads or sandwiches for extra nutrition.
Nothing beats fresh strawberries. Most of us are used to berries grown and shipped from Florida or California, where the growing season runs nearly the entire year (January through November). But there is nothing sweeter than a local strawberry. This month, states in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic will start to see a delicious strawberry crop. The rest of us will have to wait until next month for truly local, but still, the crop in the grocery store or at the farmers market is likely to be much fresher and cheaper.
Also see, Cinco de Mayo must have recipes.