In most of the country, the onset of spring has meant the opening of farmers’ markets and a new, robust selection of fresh, in-season produce to add to your weekly menu. If you’re looking for ways to spruce up your recipe rotation, we’ve got some tasty late-spring/early-summer eats for you to try, all of them focused on seasonal produce available throughout most parts of the US from April through mid-June.
Why Seasonal Produce?
With today’s emphasis on convenience, we have nearly every type of fruit and vegetable available to us almost all the time, whether they’re in season in our region or not. Eating seasonally, or choosing to eat only what is grown and harvested at its natural peak, aims to align your diet more closely with nature’s natural rhythms. This in turn may help you ensure that the produce in your diet is fresher and more nutrient-dense than out-of-season alternatives. Eating locally-grown seasonal produce also has the added benefit of a smaller carbon footprint, as its journey to your plate will have been much shorter.
What’s in Season Right Now?
Take a stroll through your local farmers market or the “local” section of your grocery store, and you’ll quickly discover what’s ripe in your region now! For a more convenient way to discover what’s in season in your area, take a peek at this Seasonal Food Guide. The site lets you conduct searches by state and time of month, and will even let you search for a specific fruit or vegetable to find out when and where it’s in season.
Produce will vary based on your location, but we’ve broken down a list of produce that is generally available in most places this time of year, with some ideas for how to incorporate it into your meal plan.
Perhaps one of the most highly anticipated fruits of the summer season, strawberries are rich in antioxidants and plant compounds, which may have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control. While this fruit may not need much embellishing to make it a tasty snack right off of the vine, these Vegan Strawberry Crumb Bars will definitely be a welcome addition to your summer recipe collection.
In most states, you can begin stocking up on in-season summer squash in early summer. Though some might call it bland when not prepared properly, this vegetable packs a powerful nutritional punch. Summer squash is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s also full of antioxidants and may help lower blood sugar.
Turn these plentiful veggies into a flavorful and filling meal with this Vegan Summer Squash Sauté from Shane and Simple.
Cherries are typically in season from late spring to early summer. One cup of pitted cherries provides you with a quarter of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C and contains impressive amounts of vitamin A and fiber as well. Aside from these nutritional windfalls, cherries are also rich in antioxidants and have been shown to reduce markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.
With all of these benefits firmly established, you should feel good about indulging in this Vegan Cherry Chocolate Cake from Cookie and Kate.
Asparagus is typically in season between early spring and mid-summer. Under ideal conditions, this vegetable can grow up to 10 inches in one 24-hour period, but that’s not the only impressive thing about it. One cup of asparagus can provide you with 11% of your recommended daily allowance of fiber, making it a filling choice for those trying to reduce their calorie intake. It’s also high in vitamins A and C and iron. For a tasty way to make asparagus part of your dinner rotation, consider making this Creamy Vegan Lemon Asparagus Pasta from the Minimalist Baker.
Generally in season mid-spring to mid-summer, peas are a good source of vitamins C and E, zinc, and other antioxidants that strengthen your immune system. They’re also a significant source of fiber and protein. For a fun, snack-worthy way to incorporate peas into your meals, check out these Vegan Baked Green Pea Fritters from Wallflower Kitchen.
Learn what other fruits and vegetables help establish a nutritionally balanced plant-based diet here. Concerned you might be missing out on an important nutrient? Discover our line of 100% vegan supplements specifically designed to help you achieve your healthiest life.