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Whether you're looking for the best fruits to bake with this spring or you want to garden and grow your own veggies, understanding which foods are in season really makes all of the difference.
According to Eat Seasonably UK, each fruit and vegetable has a specific time when it hits peak maturity and tastes best. This time provides the most flavor, crunch, juiciness and freshness, making it the best age to harvest and eat.
Don't settle for frozen fruits and veggies when you can grow and harvest your own this season. Here are the best ones you can get in the month of May.
According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, rhubarb originated in Western China and was recognized for its health healing capabilities. It is free of fat, cholesterol and sodium, and it's extremely low in calories. The best time to select this veggie is when the stalks are flat and strong, not curled and limp. The deeper the color of red the stalks hold, the sweeter it tastes.
How to eat it : It's a very tart vegetable, most commonly paired with strawberries for a sweet dessert. Try this recipe for rhubarb crisp!
Did you know that the U.S. grows about 90 percent of apricots worldwide? According to Gardening Know How, most apricot production and storage actually happens in California. This fruit is loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron, potassium and fiber. Knowing when to pick and eat an apricot makes all the difference – it should be a yellow-orange color and feel slightly soft.
How to eat it: Spread your own apricot jam on your toast every morning with this homemade recipe from Martha Stewart Living.
The mango is actually the most commonly consumed fruit world-wide, according to PBH. It is low in fat, high in vitamin A and C, and free of saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol. This fruit is best when it has a sweet aroma and is slightly soft, yet firm to touch.
How to eat it: Mango can be enjoyed in desserts, but why not try it in a salad? Check out this recipe from Eating Well magazine for a roasted corn, black bean and mango salad.
Did you know that May is National Asparagus Month? What a great time to grow this veggie and serve it as a nutritious and delicious side dish! Asparagus is rich in antioxidants, folate, fiber and vitamins A, B6, C and K. This veggie is best picked when it's odorless and has dry tips. Wilted stalks are no good, so be sure to avoid them!
How to eat it: Asparagus pairs well with almost any protein – between fish, beef, veal and chicken, the options are endless. Try this recipe from PBH for the perfect fiery grilled asparagus side dish.
This vegetable is actually picked year-round, but most say it's best during the springtime. It's fat, sodium and cholesterol free and is also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. What's the best way to know when it's time to eat green beans? If it snaps easily when it bends, it's ready to be picked. Color matters, too – the greener, the better, so keep that in mind.
How to eat it: Green beans make an excellent, plain side dish, but don't assumed you can can't get creative! Consider this sweet recipe from Real Simple magazine that combines pecans and maple syrup with the green veggie.
This vegetable is also available year-round, but it's best during the springtime. Broccoli is a mastermind when it comes to nutrition, according to Cooking Light magazine – it's rich in iron, vitamins A and C and more. And did you know that the frozen varieties actually have about 35 percent more beta carotene? That's because the mix is mostly made up of florets – so if you're looking to freeze this springtime veggie, cook up the stems and save the rest for the off season! Picking the best broccoli is quite simple – if the color is starting to turn yellow, avoid it. Heads that are heavy with small bundles of florets are best.
How to eat it: Broccoli pairs well with most dishes as a side, but that doesn't mean you can't make it the main dish. Try this cheesy penne with broccoli – each serving is under 400 calories!