With our food coming from all around, who knows what is in season?! Try to buy local, seasonally produce whenever possible. Happy hunting!
pring-April, May & June
What to look for: deep green with a thorn at the tip of each leaf; the leaves should squeak when rubbed together & be tightly packed & closed at the top.
How to store: refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag
Shelf life: can keep for up to a week. If leaves begin to spread, cook ASAP
Uses: cook whole. To prep for steaming, trim tips & stem. Steam until tender & leaves pull away without much resistance (about 45 min). Serve with a vinaigrette or melted butter for dipping.
What to look for: stems should be firm & straight & buds, or tips, tightly closed & have bright green coloring.
How to store: wrap cut ends in a damp paper towel & keep in a plastic bag in fridge or stand stems in an inch of water in a sturdy glass/vase & refrigerate
Shelf life: best eaten fresh but will last up to 3 days in fridge
Uses: rinse to remove sand from tips. Snap off or trim bottoms. Good raw, blanched or roasted. Broil until browned & tender (3-5 min, shaking pan occasionally), drizzle with balsamic vinegar
What to look for: be sure leaves are whole & unbroken, with no signs of wilting or browning
How to store: keep unwashed greens in a plastic bag in veggie drawer of fridge.
Shelf life: Use as soon as possible but can last for up to 4 days. Follow expiration date on packaged baby lettuce (bacteria can develop)
Uses: wash & dry thoroughly just before using. Do not break or cut leaves. Simply dress with evoo, S&P to let flavor shine
What to look for: late-spring fruit, usually starting in May. Look for uniform color (except for Rainier cherries which have a creamy yellow & red exterior). Ensure they are plum & firm, with unblemished, glossy skin
How to store: keep unwashed in a bowl or open plastic bag in fridge
Shelf life: highly perishable & should be eaten within a day or 2 of purchase. Those with stems typically last longer than those without
Uses: eat them out of your hand. Also pit them & toss with mint to serve over ice cream. Cooked cherries make an excellent accompaniment to duck or pork as well as a sweet filling for pies
What to look for: celery-like stalks should be firm with a deep red color and large, bright green leaves. Make sure the cut ends are still firm if leaves have been removed.
How to store: wrap unwashed stalks loosely in a plastic bag with leaves till attached & keep in veggie drawer of fridge.
Shelf life: Typically lasts 3-4 days but can remain flavorful for up to one week. Use before stalks become soft
Uses: wash and remove leaves just before using. Quite tart and best cooked with sugar in compotes or used as a pastry filling. Try in pies, crisps or cobblers, alone or paired with strawberries or raspberries
What to look for: plum, firm, fragrant berries that are shiny & bright red. Smaller varieties are more flavorful than larger types.
How to store: pick through berries & discard damaged or moldy ones. Wrap container of remaining unwashed berries loosely in a plastic bag or paper towel & store in fridge
Shelf life: Highly perishable. Prime when freshly picked but may keep in the fridge for up to 3 days
Uses: wash and trim caps just before use. Cook in jams and pies but best raw, served at room temp.
What to look for: the crinkly leaves of savory spinach are more flavorful (and slightly tougher) that the flat-leaf variety. Look for deep, dark color & unbroken leaves
How to store: refrigerate unwashed and loosely wrapped in a plastic bag
Shelf life: if sold in bunches it will last up to 3 days. For washed & packaged spinach, follow expiration date
Uses: chop off root ends & any thick stems, then swish leaves in bowl of cold water. Saute in olive oil with garlic. Or serve raw, tossed with boiled egg, walnuts, oil & vinegar
What to look for: bright green tops & firm, white bases
How to store: keep unwashed and wrapped in a plastic bag in the veggie drawer
Shelf life: good for up to 5 days, but are best when cooked immediately after purchase Uses: wash just before using & trim roots. Ideal sliced raw in salads, soups & sandwiches. Or grill them whole: season with olive oil, S&P and cook until tender (about 4 minutes)
Thanks for the info Real Simple!