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May Produce Guide
Hello May and welcome to month 5 of our Monthly Seasonal Produce Guides!
May means peak spring mode at the market. We are still awash in spring vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, leeks, favas, radishes, carrots, and peas. But now we also welcome fruit, including pineapple and the first berries of the year—strawberries.
Rhubarb is still going strong, and in many places we’ll see it carry through the summer. Rhubarb loves strawberries so use them together in pies and crisps!
Some mushrooms say hello in spring, like wild morels with their distinctive honeycomb texture. You’ll also find maitake mushrooms, a.k.a. “hen of the woods”. Both are delicious sautéed.
The outlier this month is a vegetable I encourage you to try if you see it in your market—cactus paddles. You can find them whole (you usually need to scrape off any remnant stickers) or pre-sliced and bagged in Mexican markets. Cactus paddles (nopalitos) taste like a cross between green beans and okra, with slight citrusy notes, and are anti-inflammatory, low-cal, and full of fiber.
What’s in Season in May?
- Strawberries: Pick up a basketful or two of fresh strawberries and make strawberry shortcake or jam.
- Rhubarb: Rhubarb’s natural tartness brings out the flavor of strawberries, so use them together in pies and crisps. But whatever you do, do not eat rhubarb leaves, they’re poisonous.
- Pineapple: Did you know that pineapples never get any sweeter than they are when they are picked? Check for ripeness by smelling the bottom of the pineapple. If it smells sweet, like pineapple juice, it’s ripe. Toss into a fruit salad, or cook with salmon, chicken, or pork.
- Asparagus: Enjoy them now, while they last! We’ll find asparagus again in the fall, but only those that are shipped up from the Southern Hemisphere.
- Mushrooms: Look for morels with their distinctive honeycomb texture, and maitake “hen of the woods” mushrooms. Both mushrooms are delicious in soup, sautéed with asparagus, or served with eggs or as a side to steak or chicken.
- Carrots: If you find young carrots at the market with a full head of carrot greens, buy them and use the greens for making pesto! Carrot greens taste a lot like parsley and can be used the same way.
- Cactus Paddles: If you like green beans or okra, you’ll love cactus paddles (nopalitos)! Cut them into strips and sauté them with onions and tomatoes.
- Peas: Pair peas with ham in a pasta dish or salad, or simply cook them and serve as a side with a little butter.
- Leeks: Substitute onions with leeks in almost any recipe, or serve them straight, either braised, or boiled and marinated in a vinaigrette.
- Artichokes: Fresh artichokes can be steamed, boiled, sautéed, stuffed, or grilled. They’re happiest in spring, though you will find a second wave of them in the fall.
What are you making with spring vegetables or fruit? Let us know about it in the comments!
Old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake! Fresh strawberries, sliced and macerated in sugar, spooned over freshly baked biscuits, topped with whipped cream and you have a delicious homemade strawberry shortcake.
These Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins are the BEST! Tender and light with bursts of juicy strawberries.
Strawberry and rhubarb are an irresistible combo in the spring and early summer. Both sweet and tart with a crisp, buttery topping, it's perfect for dessert or (dare we say) breakfast.
This is the BEST homemade strawberry rhubarb pie recipe! Sweet fresh strawberries paired with tart rhubarb and a hint of orange zest, all baked in an easy, flaky homemade crust.
Step by step instructions on how to cut a pineapple, so you keep the sweetest and juiciest parts.
Fresh salmon, marinated in teriyaki sauce and grilled on skewers with pineapple and green onions.
Chinese-style sweet and sour chicken, stir-fried with bell peppers and pineapple chunks.
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, roasted in the oven until crisp, is such an easy way to make your asparagus extra special. Great for Easter, Mother's Day, or any spring meal!
Nothing beats the flavor of asparagus, coated in olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and quickly grilled.
Roasting asparagus and potatoes together makes a crispy, flavorful combination. A mustard lemon dressing brings it all together! This is a great vegetable side to serve with roast chicken or grilled steak.
Creamy wild mushroom soup made with dried wild mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, shallots, garlic, stock, cream, sherry, and herbs.
Celebrate spring with this easy side dish of sautéed asparagus, wild morel mushrooms, and green garlic. Delicious!
Easy to make, Vietnamese Do Chua, slightly sweet pickled carrots and daikon radishes.
These are hands down the best Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting you'll ever find. They're moist without being dense, and have just the right amount of spice. Add nuts or leave them out — it's up to you!
Don't throw away those carrot tops! Make this delicious carrot top pesto with them to toss with pasta, beans, or eat straight up as a dip.
Nopalitos, chopped prickly pear cactus paddles sautéed with onions, garlic, jalapeno, and tomatoes.
Ever eat cactus? Nopalitos are so GOOD! This easy, budget-friendly salad is a classic Mexican cactus salad with chopped prickly pear cactus paddles (nopalitos), tomatoes, onions, and radishes.
Pasta for dinner! This riff on shrimp scampi adds peas, lemon, and fresh mint for a pasta dinner that's ready for spring.
Great use for leftover ham! Quick and easy, ham and peas with pasta, cream, and Parmesan.
Breakfast casserole with asparagus, leeks, bacon, bread, milk, eggs, feta and Parmesan. Perfect for spring!
Salmon fillets, baked in foil over a bed of julienned red bell peppers and leeks. Gluten-free, paleo, and low-carb!
Spinach and artichoke quiche! With chopped spinach and artichokes hearts, shallots, goat cheese, green onions, eggs, and cream. Perfect for a Sunday brunch!
Artichoke hearts, sliced and slowly cooked with onions with sweetened vinegar until both are beautifully caramelized.