Spring brings with it plenty of delicious new items and if you’re eating seasonally, here’s my handy guide to what’s in season in May.
For Spring, we’re putting away the hearty fruits and vegetables and unearthing ones that have spent the winter quietly puttering away.
Veggies may have crowded the table. But now our May produce is getting packed with bright colors, sweet flavors, and dozens of varieties. Yes, fruit in season in May explodes with possibilities.
So, here’s my quick rundown of the May produce in season.
What Produce Is in Season in May
Warmer weather brings sweeter produce – and plenty of May fruits are in season.
Pineapple: Always make sure to pick a ripe pineapple, that’s mostly yellow. It should have a sweet tropical aroma. The pineapple should also be heavy for its size and firm, with a very slight give when pressed.
Rhubarb: Tart when raw and extra sweet when cooked with sugar, the beautiful pink stalks of the rhubarb plant are in peak season in May. Indeed, of all the fruits in season for May, rhubarb is probably the most underrated. Plus, they’ve got more antioxidants than kale and are great for pairing with other berries.
Strawberries: These potent little berries take over from oranges to help you get your Vitamin C. Plus, easy to use in both sweet and savory dishes, strawberries are naturally packed full of goodness and super versatile.
Make sure to look for strawberries that are bright red, with fresh green leaves. It’s important to buy organic, locally grown, strawberries too.
If you prefer to drink them, try them blended into smoothies, juices, or an easy mocktail. Strawberries can be enjoyed at every meal of the day, from breakfast to lunch and, the most important meal of the day, dessert!
As we look at what’s in season in May when it comes to vegetables, a few colorful favorites return to our plates:
Peas (Green Peas, Snap Peas): For greens on your plate, May vegetables present the humble pea – sweet, crunchy, and perfect for a quick vitamin boost. Whether you eat them fresh or frozen (both are just as good!) you can enjoy green peas and snap peas raw, quickly sauteed, or integrated into another recipe, like my Thai-inspired soup that’s light enough for spring, but still packed full of goodness.
When choosing green peas, look for fresh, bright, firm pea pods. Avoid wilted or discolored pods and shake the pod to check for fullness. For snap peas, choose bright green and firm pods that snap easily when bent. Avoid wilted or discolored pods and check for small seeds and no brown spots.
Just because we’re coming out of winter doesn’t mean you have to put away your root veggies!
Carrots: Eat enough and you’ll have stellar eyesight – or so the legend says. Indeed, carrots are a versatile veggie that, like strawberries, transcends sweet and savory. Try it blended with orange for an energy-boosting juice, or with ginger in a soup.
Also, if you come across carrots with their leaves still attached, make sure to keep them. The carrot tops are great to add to salads, soups, and to make carrot leaf pesto.
You’ll find these at the grocery store or market more frequently in May. So if you’re looking to experiment in the kitchen, now’s the time.
Asparagus: Similarly sweet and nutty to artichoke, these vibrant green stalks can be prepared any way you like. I recommend roasting or sauteing – and you have to try them pickled – you’ll never go back to cucumbers!
Cactus paddles: Popular in Mexican cooking, cactus paddles are edible! Mixed with citric acid (I like lemon juice), olive oil, and salt, they can be part of a delicious salad or just cooked and eaten on their own with dips.
Leeks: Leek season is coming to an end as summer approaches. But these sweet vegetables are great for adding extra vitamins to any dish. Swap out heavy casseroles and stews for mixing into pastas and salads.
Mushrooms: If you’re not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun – mushrooms are here to help. With portobello, button, and cremini mushrooms being the most plentiful in May, try them in spring-friendly tacos, burgers, pasta, and dumplings.
Some Recipes Using the Best of May Produce
So now that you know what produce is in season in May, here are a few recipe ideas to inspire your cooking.
More Seasonal Produce Guides
If you try any of these recipes for what to cook in May with the May seasonal produce, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!