The weather is starting to change. Spring is in the air. The new season brings a change in the fresh produce that will be lining the fresh produce aisles and Farmer Markets. With April produce in season, it’s a great time to experiment and try new recipes to include some of these vegetables and fruits. Lots of questions have been coming in about what new produce is coming and how can it be incorporated into recipes. I’m here to deliver you some tips on what’s coming and how you can add Spring fruits and vegetables into your meals.
Why buy in season?
First, let’s keep it real. It’s so much cheaper to buy fresh produce when it is in season. Quick story: I really had a taste for fresh strawberries last month, so I went to Sam’s Club (one of my favorite stores to get my produce in bulk) and the strawberries were $7.98 and they looked horrible. Yeah, needless to say, those strawberries sat right there as I scrolled to get some frozen strawberries. I knew they were out of season, but I had no intentions of spending that much for strawberries. But guess what, they are in season now. The cost of produce goes down when the farmers are harvesting large crops of produce while it’s in season as well as produce that is locally sourced. When we buy produce out of season, it’s normally being sourced from an area with a different climate and that location has the ability to store it for long periods of time to offer it all year round.
In-season produce is also fresher, ripe, and tastes better. Have you ever gone to pick your own berries, oranges, apples, etc? Did you eat it on spot? If you did, you may have noticed that the taste was so different than when you taste it from a store. Produce that is not in season undergoes early picking, heating, cooling, travel. That entire process reduces the flavor and the nutrition found in the produce.
Speaking of nutrition, that’s another big one. Fresher produce is higher in nutritional value. With so many people getting sick due to the most recent virus and such, nutrition in our diet is especially important. Vitamin C, carotenoids, folate are just some of the benefits we get. The nature cycle of produce is meant to support our nutritional needs for the season of life. Leafy greens in Spring help us alkalize our body and facilitate detoxification. Get you some leafy greens. This is a big reason salads become highlighted during Spring.
What’s in season for Spring?
As I go through this list, you may have the moment of “I can’t believe that’s seasonal” like I did. However, remember, we can get just about any fruit and vegetable all year round, but it may have lost some of its nutritional value, its flavor and it was a little more expensive than NOW!
Here’s the list in alphabetical order of April produce in season:
- Butter Lettuce
- Chayote Squash
- Collard Greens
- Fava Beans
- Green Bean
- Mustard Greens
- Red Leaf Lettuce
- Snow Peas
- Swiss Chard
- Vidalia Onions
Some of these are grown and harvested in winter and available throughout summer. Right now, is the perfect time to grab some of these and add them to your meal plans for this Spring season. Some of these I’m sure may become family favorites while others, not so much. Grab what your family enjoys a lot and incorporate them into your recipes. It’s also a great time to try something new. While it’s cheaper during this time, grab a few and find yourself a great recipe to add them in. Change is good at times and you never know; it may just become a family favorite.
Cooking in Spring
Looking at the list above just had so many recipes racing through my head. There are so many things you can do with the list above. From sautéing, frying, air frying, roasting, grilling, and pureeing…the possibilities are grand. My Club Members will get getting some extra recipes incorporating these methods. Of course, a lot of these you can eat raw and get the best nutrition from it that way. But a lot of us don’t like to eat it raw and want to add in some additional flavor.
Here’s what I’ve been telling my Cooking Club members:
- Add some of the fruit to smoothies, parfaits, and salads. Berries are extremely nutritious. They’re high in fiber and vitamin C. Here’s a great way to make a parfait: https://youtu.be/xRnOmSJVtKo
- Roast some of the vegetables in the oven and you can jazz them up with your favorite spices.
- If the weather permits, light the grill and put a little smoke on those vegetables.
- Sautee them up with some chicken, shrimp or make a good stir fry.
- Check out some of my favorite recipes here: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/spring-produce-at-its-best I especially love the green salad with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.
If you’re interested in learning some fun & new ways to add in these amazing fresh produces, I would love for you to join us in my Cooking Club. Inside the club, there will be lots of opportunities for us to talk, cook together, and I even show you how to “sneak” in some nutritional goodies into food so that your kids never know 😀. April produce in season will be a big topic of discussion. I always gift my members recipes that I don't share anywhere else. Come join us.