What’s in Season in May?

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

May Produce Guide

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!

Strawberries

Strawberries
Easy Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

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.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb stalks
Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

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.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The BEST homemade strawberry rhubarb pie recipe! Sweet fresh strawberries paired with tart rhubarb and a hint of orange zest.

Pineapple

Pineapple
Best way to cut a pineapple

Step by step instructions on how to cut a pineapple, so you keep the sweetest and juiciest parts.

Salmon Teriyaki Skewers with Pineapple

Fresh salmon, marinated in teriyaki sauce and grilled on skewers with pineapple and green onions.

Sweet Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken

30 min
Gluten-Free

Chinese-style sweet and sour chicken, stir-fried with bell peppers and pineapple chunks.

Asparagus

Spring asparagus
Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

20 min
Gluten-Free, Paleo

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!

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus

22 min
Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian

Nothing beats the flavor of asparagus, coated in olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and quickly grilled.

How to roast potatoes with asparagus

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.

Mushrooms

Morel and Maitake Mushrooms
Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

Creamy wild mushroom soup made with dried wild mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, shallots, garlic, stock, cream, sherry, and herbs.

Sauteed Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms

Sautéed Asparagus with Morels

25 min
Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Vegetarian

Celebrate spring with this easy side dish of sautéed asparagus, wild morel mushrooms, and green garlic. Delicious!

Carrots

Fresh Young Carrots with carrot tops carrot greens
Vietnamese Carrot Daikon Pickles Do Chua

Easy to make, Vietnamese Do Chua, slightly sweet pickled carrots and daikon radishes.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

BEST carrot cake cupcakes ever! (with cream cheese frosting)

Pesto made with carrot greens

Carrot Top Pesto

10 min
Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian

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.

Cactus Paddles

Cactus Paddles
Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions

Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions

20 min
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Nopalitos, chopped prickly pear cactus paddles sautéed with onions, garlic, jalapeno, and tomatoes.

Nopalitos Cactus Salad

Nopalitos Cactus Salad

25 min
Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian

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.

Peas

Snow Peas and Snap Peas
How to Make Shrimp Scampi

Pasta for dinner! This riff on shrimp scampi adds peas, lemon, and fresh mint for a pasta dinner that's ready for spring.

Pasta with Ham and Peas

Great use for leftover ham! Quick and easy, ham and peas with pasta, cream, and Parmesan.

Leeks

Leek
Breakfast Casserole with Leeks and Asparagus

Breakfast casserole with asparagus, leeks, bacon, bread, milk, eggs, feta and Parmesan. Perfect for spring!

Salmon Baked in Foil

Foil Baked Salmon with Leeks and Bell Peppers

45 min
Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Paleo

Salmon fillets, baked in foil over a bed of julienned red bell peppers and leeks. Gluten-free, paleo, and low-carb!

Artichokes

Baby artichokes and one large artichoke
Spinach Artichoke Quiche

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 with Caramelized Onions

Sweet and Sour Glazed Artichokes with Caramelized Onions

1 hr, 5 min
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Artichoke hearts, sliced and slowly cooked with onions with sweetened vinegar until both are beautifully caramelized.

6 Comments

No ImageWhat’s in Season in May?

  1. Ralph

    Green almonds if you can find them, they have a very brief window. Slice them up with a bit a salt – yum. Good in salads too.

  2. Christopher

    You can also tell a ripe pineapple by the leaves; if a leaf can support the weight of the pineapple, it’s not ready to cut up. If the leaf you’re grabbing pops out, cut and enjoy :)

    • Christopher

      Also, pineapple DOES get sweeter as it ages; similar to bananas, the complex carbohydrates break down into simple sugars.

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Christopher, check out this page on the Dole pineapple website: https://www.dolefruithawaii.com/Articles.asp?ID=143 in particular, this sentence, ” A pineapple will not ripen any further – get any sweeter – after picking.” A pineapple will get softer, and more yellow, but apparently the sugars are set once picked. Pineapples don’t ripen the same was as a banana. You can Google “do pineapples ripen after they’re picked” to find even more citations.

        • Christopher

          Well, just goes to show you can never trust your anecdotal evidence, no matter how much you have. Thanks for the info.