Grocery stores tend to keep the customers’ favorite produce in-store year-round, but that doesn’t mean that produce is fresh. In fact, most fruits and vegetables only grow during a particular season. When you eat produce in season, it’ll taste fresh and flavorful. As an added bonus, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint in the process. Here’s a list of the fruits and veggies in season this spring.
The best time to buy apricots is May to July. Look for apricots that have a golden color and are firm to the touch. To ripen an apricot, you can leave it in a paper bag at room temperature. If it’s already ripe, it’ll last for a couple of days if stored in a fridge. Apricot is a sweet fruit with a hint of sour, so it’s a great option for desserts like pies and cobblers. It also pairs well with more savory combinations like crème fraîche or as a salsa.
Even though strawberries are known as a summer fruit, they’re in season during late spring. Strawberries are best from May to July. The best berries will be a bright red and have fresh green caps. Once you buy strawberries, it’s best to eat them within two or three days. To make them stay fresh a little bit longer, spread out the berries in a airtight container and keep it in the fridge. You probably know how delicious strawberries are in jams or smoothies. However, strawberries are more versatile than you think. Try adding them to pizza or a cucumber salad.
Asparagus is in season from March to June. When picking asparagus in the grocery store, look for firm stalks with closed tips. Unfortunately, once asparagus is picked, it quickly loses its flavor. If you were planning on making a recipe with asparagus later on in the week, store it in the fridge and wrap a damp paper towel around the bottom of the stalks. Still, the flavor is best if you eat it the same day that you buy it. While it’s fresh, grill the asparagus and cover it with olive oil, parmesan cheese and garlic. You can also get a little bit more adventurous and make an asparagus tart.
The best time to eat rhubarb is from April to August. When choosing rhubarb, look for crisp and firm stalks that have a lot of color. Luckily, rhubarb can be stored for around a week or two in the fridge. It also freezes well if you don’t eat your rhubarb within those two weeks. There’s always the classic rhubarb pie, but with such a strong tart flavor, rhubarb goes great in a variety of desserts.
While artichokes can be grown year-round, they taste best if they are harvested from March to May. Fresh artichokes have a good color and tightly-closed leaves. If you need to store an artichoke, add a little bit of water to the leaves and place it in a plastic bag to keep in the fridge. There are several different ways to prepare artichoke, but first you have to figure out how to deconstruct and cook it. Once you get past that, you can use artichokes for dip, grilled cheeses, pesto and more.
If you want to eat seasonally but don’t feel like cooking, let Market Table do the cooking for you! From our fresh cafe salads and sandwiches to our meal kits and prepared foods, we strive to bring only the freshest ingredients to your and your family’s plates.
Text by Katherine Polcari