As each new month arrives, it’s fun (and healthy!) to consider creative ways to incorporate seasonal produce into your routine. These peak-ripeness fruits and veggies are often grown closer to where you’re buying them, and for a variety of reasons, in-season produce can be more affordable than its hot-house or imported counterparts. Knowing what's in season is not only a great way to enjoy produce when it’s at its most delicious, but also a simple way to make produce the star of your grocery budget. Let’s see what’s in store this month.

June's best produce: Vegetables in season right now

June means the start of summer, which means you can find some seasonal summer staples that together make the perfect salad—including avocados, tomatoes, and cucumbers. June also means that artichokes, spinach, and fresh peas are still in season. And be sure to grab a few still-in-season radishes and asparagus, which we’ll see fewer of as the month goes on.  


Seasonal produce - fresh artichokes for sale at the farmers market in May
Kateryna T -

Almost all commercially grown domestic artichokes are grown in California, which might be why the artichoke is California’s official state vegetable. In fact, more than 65 percent of all California's chokes are grown in Castroville, a small town in Monterey County, California. So, it makes sense that Monterey County launched an Artichoke Trail, and Castroville hosts an annual Artichoke Festival, both of which celebrate creative artichoke dishes and encourage visitors to learn more about this delicate flower that acts as a veggie.

But artichokes are more than festival fodder. They’re also very good for you. Artichokes are low in calories and are an excellent source of fiber (about 5 grams per 3 oz. serving) and a good source of copper and folate. They also contain a bit of potassium, magnesium, protein, and Vitamin C. All great reasons to try fresh artichokes this month!

How to choose and store artichokes

To choose fresh artichokes, my grandmother used to swear by the “squeak test”give the artichoke a little squeeze, and if it squeaks, it’s fresh. But you can also look for firm artichokes with tightly packed leaves that are heavy for their size and deep green in color. Just be sure to avoid artichokes that have soft spots or dark stems. And to make sure your fresh ‘chokes last for up to a week, you’ll want to store them in the refrigerator. You’ll know that your ‘chokes don’t have a lot of time left if you notice the leaves starting to spread. 

How to prepare artichokes

It’s true that fresh artichokes can seem tricky to prepare and eat. But it’s a lot easier than it seems. In addition to the edible heart and stems (peel those stems, and they’re delish!), you’ll also find edible meat on the petals/leaves of the ‘choke. To eat the petals/leaves, simply pull them away from the body of the ‘choke and, with your teeth, scrape the base of the petal (where you see the soft, pulpy bit). To find the heart, scoop out and discard the furry center. And to eat the stems, simply peel and enjoy.

Of course, artichoke stems and hearts can also be steamed, roasted, grilled, or sauteed. They’re great in salads, soups, pasta dishes, frittatas, and casseroles. You can even stuff these versatile veggies with brown rice, whole wheat couscous, or lean proteins.

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these ideas: 

•    Roasted Baby Artichokes with Parsley and Mint (Food & Wine)
•    Grilled Artichokes (Eating Well)
•    Roasted Artichoke Hearts (Greedy Gourmet)


April produce - Close-up of hands holding just harvested asparagus spears
Inge Poelman -

This is peak asparagus season! If you’ve ever seen white asparagus, you may have wondered whether it comes from the same plant as the more readily available green asparagus you often find in the produce section. They’re identical! The only difference is sun exposure; as the plant grows and emerges from the soil, the exposure to sunlight turns the spears green. To avoid sun exposure, white asparagus is usually grown underground.
Asparagus is versatile, delicious, easy to prepare, and, most importantly, nutritious. Though asparagus is low in calories, it’s dense in nutrients. Asparagus is an excellent source of Vitamin K, and also contains a bit of Vitamins C, A, and E, folate, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and riboflavin. Pretty impressive little spears!

How to choose and store asparagus

To choose the best asparagus, look for bunches with firm stems, bright green and purple-tinged spears, and tight tips. Avoid tips that have started to flower or open, and avoid stalks that are limp, wilted, or brownish in color. Choose bunches with thinner stems if you’re hoping for tender and sweeter flavors. And since these mighty spears spoil quickly, be sure to store them in the refrigerator; some suggest wrapping the bottom ends of the stalks in a wet paper towel to extend shelf life. Be sure to use asparagus within three to five days.

How to prepare asparagus

The versatility of asparagus is incredible: You can eat it raw on its own or with a dip, like hummus, or in salads, and you can roast, grill, steam, boil, or sauté this vegetable to enjoy it as a side dish. You can also use asparagus in casseroles, soups, pasta dishes, frittatas, dips, stir-fry, and even as a pizza topping! The possibilities seem endless, but the simplest way to prepare this tasty veggie is to steam or roast it on its own. To steam, remove the woody ends or use a vegetable peeler to pare away the fibrous bits at the root end; you can save these to make stock! Wash well, place in a pan with about an inch of water, and cook with the lid on for 4 to 7 minutes. To roast, cut, wash, dry (important when roasting), place on a baking pan, toss with a bit of olive or canola oil and your favorite herbs, and bake at 425°F for 6 to 8 minutes. Squeeze some lemon over the spears, toss, and enjoy!

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:

Enjoy asparagus raw or gently roasted or steamed with a great dip, like Kate Sherwood’s Tzatziki or Hummus.

Add steamed or sauteed asparagus to one of The Healthy Cook’s in-season salads:

Want even more options? Try these recipes:


Avocados in a pile with a cut avocado on top
Eddie Pipocas -

Botanically, avocados are classified as a fruit, but culinarily we tend to treat them as vegetables. They grow on tall, spreading trees, each of which can produce between 200 and 300 avocados. These impressive trees are usually between 15 feet and 30 feet in height, but some avocado trees can grow to be 65 feet tall. There are more than 500 varieties, seven of which are grown in southern and central California, including the familiar Hass, as well as the Bacon, Fuerte, Reed, Gwen, Pinkerton, and Zutano varieties.

Avocados have a higher fat content than most fruits and veggies; a medium avocado has about 22 grams of fat. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying avocados; most of it is monounsaturated (think olive oil), a heart-healthy fat much better for you than saturated fat. Plus, 1 cup of cubed avocados is an excellent source of pantothenic acid (B5), fiber, and Vitamins E, K, B6, and folate. Not too shabby!

How to choose and store avocados

Choosing the right avocado can be tricky, and in a way, timing is everything. To choose an avocado that will last a few days, look for unripe avocados that are bright green and firm. As avocados ripen, they’ll become softer, and their skin will become darker green. Store unripe avocados at room temperature for three to five days until ripe. Store ripe avocados in the refrigerator for two to three days at most. 

How to prepare avocados

If slicing into an avocado feels daunting, you’re not alone. But if you follow a few simple steps, it’s easier than you think. First, cut the avocado in half lengthwise around the pit. Then, set the half with the pit on a cutting board, use a sharp knife's blade (not the tip) to strike the pit, and twist the knife to free the pit. Now, you can cube, slice, or scoop your avocado from its skin. 

Enjoy avocado on its own, spread on toast, mash it up to make a dip, or add to smoothies, tacos, salads, and sandwiches.  

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:


Seasonal produce - cucumbers in a basket in a garden
Katie Chizhevskaya -

Humans have been cultivating cucumbers for more than 3,000 years, and though they act as a vegetable, these crunchy salad staples are botanically a fruit in the same family as cantaloupes, squash, pumpkins, and watermelons. There are more than 100 varieties of cucumbers, but you’re probably most familiar with English, garden, Persian, mini, and lemon cucumbers. All of which are quite tasty!

Since cucumbers are 96% water, they can help you stay hydrated. Plus, 1 cup of cubed cucumber is a good source of Vitamin K

How to choose and store cucumbers

You might find English and mini cucumbers wrapped in plastic, but whether they’re hiding behind plastic or not, choose firm cucumbers with waxy, unmarked skin. If buying the green varieties, look for darker green skin. And since these veggies are quite perishable, store dry, unwashed cucumbers in the refrigerator's produce drawer for only five to seven days. 

How to prepare cucumbers

Cucumbers are, of course, delicious when eaten raw and unpeeled. They can be a great snack, or you can add sliced cucumbers to salads, sandwiches, wraps, and bowls. You can even use raw cucumbers as a chip or cracker—use cucumber spears to scoop dips, hummus, and dressings, or top cucumber slices with cheese, meats, or yogurt spreads like tzatziki. Peeled cucumbers can be blended in cold soups like gazpacho. Peeled cucumbers can also be blended with yogurt to make a fresh and healthy dip. But that’s not all; cucumbers are also fabulous when stir-fried, roasted, or pickled


Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these cucumber dishes from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:

Learn more at NutritionAction: Why mini cucumbers make the perfect snack


Seasonal produce - curly kale for sale at a farmers market in May
Victor Birai -

It’s easy to assume that kale is a type of lettuce, but kale is actually a member of the cabbage (Brassicas) family, along with collard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. This cruciferous leafy green has been a part of the human diet since the Middle Ages. And for good reason! Kale is a nutrient-dense veggie. About two packed cups of raw kale (85g) provides most of the Vitamin C you need in a day, and is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and manganese. It’s also very high in Vitamin K—nearly three days’ worth of the recommended amount of Vitamin K are in those two cups, along with a bit of iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. 

How to choose and store kale

Choose kale bunches with firm dark leaves and thin stems. Avoid kale leaves that are wilted, browning/yellowing, or have a strong odor. The smaller the leaves, the milder and more tender the kale will taste. To keep fresh for longer, store dry kale in a bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

How to prepare kale

Of course, kale is excellent raw, steamed, or sauteed! Add kale to soups, salads, pasta dishes and sauces, stir-fries, omelets, dips, and smoothies. In fact, you can add kale to hot soups and pasta dishes at the end of cooking time—the heat from the dish will cook the leaves until they’re bright green. Vibrant green kale will be tender yet slightly crisp. Kale is also a fun pizza topping and can make for a wonderful and simple snack or side dish. For a simple snack of kale chips, remove kale leaves from the stems, chop or tear into bite-sized pieces, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a dash of salt, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 400 F. For a tasty side dish, sauté kale with olive oil, a little salt, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Alternatively, add a small amount of water to a pot and steam kale for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep in mind that one pound of fresh kale will cook down to about 1 cup.

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood

Want even more options? Try these recipes from Oregon State University:


April produce - Fresh pea pods in a compostable box
David Trinks -

Humans have a very long history with peas. Researchers believe humans have been eating peas for about 9,500 years and cultivating them for 8,500 years. Ancient Greek and Roman writers even wrote about peas in some of their work! And that’s not the only fascinating thing about these pulses that act as vegetables. Since they remove nitrogen from the air and force it back into the soil, peas and other legumes help future plants grow. It’s an impressive symbiotic relationship! 

There are three kinds of peas, and they’re all good for you. Sugar snap peas tend to emerge earlier in the spring and have a plump edible pod with peas inside; think of these as green beans’ curvier and sweeter cousins. Snow peas, conversely, have much flatter edible pods with tiny peas inside and are often used in stir-fries. And finally, there are shelling peas; inside a shelling pea’s fibrous and inedible pod live the green peas you’re probably most familiar with, also called garden or English peas. No matter which peas you choose, you’ll get a bit of protein, fiber, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, and Vitamins C and K.

How to choose and store peas 

To choose the most delicious fresh peas, choose more petite peas (large peas can be old and fibrous) with bright green pods and tendrils that aren't wilted or yellowing. Shelling peas should have plump pods; sugar snap peas and snow peas should have crisp pods with only a few small scars. And since fresh peas spoil within a few days, be sure to store them in the coldest part of your refrigerator in an open bag or perforated container (we want some air to get in) and enjoy within 3 to 5 days. When removing shelling peas from their pods, note that one pound of unshelled pea pods will yield about 1 cup of peas, and be sure to shell them right before cooking. Also, remember that only shelling peas have inedible pods; sugar snap and snow peas should be eaten whole. 

How to prepare peas 

Peas can be enjoyed raw, steamed, blanched, boiled, or simply stirred into a very hot dish (which will cook the delicate peas). Raw sugar snap peas are a great snack on their own and can also substitute for chips when eating dips. Fresh peas are also great additions to salads, pasta dishes, rice dishes, casseroles, soups, stews, and stir-fries. For a simple side dish, steam fresh peas for 5 minutes or until bright green and fork tender. Add fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, or mint, and enjoy!  

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these pea-forward dishes from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:


April produce - radishes for sale at a farmers market
Caroline Attwood -

If you’re not yet a radish person, maybe it’s time to give these nutritious root vegetables a second chance. After all, radishes have been beloved by humans for centuries. Cultivated in Egypt around 2700 BCE, domesticated in China around 500 BCE, and replicated in gold as an offering to the Greek god Apollo, radishes have quite an interesting history

But more importantly, these veggies are low in calories but high in nutrients. In fact, half a cup contains 10 percent of your recommended daily value of Vitamin C and a little fiber (about 2 grams per cup)—both great reasons to give radishes a chance. 

How to choose and store radishes 

To choose the freshest radishes, choose firm, smooth, brightly colored radishes with few blemishes. Avoid radishes that seem hollow when lightly squeezed. If their leafy tops are still attached, the greens should be dark green, vibrant, and without yellow patches. When refrigerated, fresh radishes should last up to one week. 

How to prepare radishes 

Fresh radishes can be eaten raw, thinly sliced on tacos, or added to slaws and salads. They can also be pickled to extend shelf life or added to stews, pot roasts, stir-fries, and a pan of roasted vegetables. In fact, roasting radishes is simple and brings out a bit of their sweetness. Simply toss with a little olive oil and your choice of spices and herbs, then arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes at 400°F. And if they’re still too bitter or peppery for you, consider peeling them; most of that peppery flavor lives in their bright skin. 

Bonus tip: Don’t throw away those leafy radish tops! Radish greens are an entirely edible, woefully underappreciated produce that can be used in mixed greens salads and in cooking, just like other leafy greens such as spinach or kale. They have a slightly peppery flavor and can add a kick to your dish.  

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:


Seasonal produce - fresh spinach for sale at the farmers market in May
engin akyurt -

Spinach is a surprisingly storied vegetable. Humans have cultivated spinach for more than 2,000 years, starting in modern-day Iran. The green pigment from spinach was even extracted and used as paint by Medieval artists. And, legend has it that Florence-born Queen Catherine de' Medici of France loved spinach so much that she requested it as part of every meal, which increased its culinary popularity so much that many spinach dishes were named “Florentine” in her honor. But that’s not all! Studies suggest that spinach might be able to stop a bomb…sort of. A Pacific Northwest National Laboratory research project found that some enzymes in spinach might help neutralize explosives without heat, alkaline waste, high pressure, or toxic byproducts. Now that’s a fascinating veggie!

Since spinach seeds love cool soil, they can be planted before the last frost in spring and before the first frost in fall. That means that spinach has two harvest seasons, which is lucky for us because spinach is packed with nutrients like Vitamins A, C, and K. Spinach also contains a bit of iron, fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, and Vitamins B6 and E. In fact, one cup of cooked spinach has about 20 percent of the iron adults need in a day. Popeye was on to something!

How to choose and store spinach

When selecting fresh spinach, look for crisp, bright green bunches without limp leaves, insect damage, or mushy sections. Wrap your spinach in a dry paper towel (to soak up any extra moisture) and refrigerate in a bag for about 3 to 5 days. To prolong the life of your spinach, wash bunches just before using since refrigerating wet spinach can speed up spoilage. You can also freeze spinach for up to one year; to do so, blanch leaves for two minutes, and once cool, drain and seal well.

How to prepare spinach

Raw spinach is fantastic in salads, sandwiches, smoothies, wraps, and pesto. You can even add raw spinach to hot soups, stews, mashed potatoes, and pasta dishes; the heat from the dish will lightly cook the spinach and add both color and flavor to your favorite recipes. Spinach is also a great addition to dips, casseroles, omelets, quiches, risotto, stir-fries, stuffed chicken or mushrooms, and even savory pies. As a side dish on its own, spinach can also be steamed, sauteed, or even microwaved. To sauté, heat garlic, red pepper flakes, and a few teaspoons of olive oil until fragrant; then, add spinach, toss to coat, and cover for one minute. Drain any excess moisture and enjoy.

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:


Seasonal produce - a variety of tomatoes in different sizes and shades of green, yellow, orange, red and purple
Jérôme Rommé -

Tomatoes are botanically a fruit (they develop from the plant’s ovary and have seeds) but are legally considered a vegetable, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in 1893. After Edward L. Hedden, a tariff collector in New York, imposed a tax on fruit importer John Nix & Co.'s imported Caribbean tomatoes, Nix sued. Nix argued that per the Tariff Act of 1883 (which imposed a tax on imported vegetables, but not on fruits), his tomatoes should be exempt. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. Though Nix presented evidence that proved that tomatoes are botanically a fruit, the Court reasoned that the common definition of a word is more important than the scientific definition within the realm of trade and commerce. Thus, tomatoes were deemed a vegetable for tax purposes. 

Whether you think of tomatoes as a fruit or a vegetable, there’s no denying that they’re good for you. Tomatoes contain a bit of fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A and C.  

How to choose and store tomatoes

You’ve probably noticed the many varieties of fresh tomatoes available in markets. Though they’re all delicious and nutritious, choosing the right tomato for the right purpose can make a dish even better. As a quick guide, choose beefsteak tomatoes if you want a large, meaty, mild, and juicy tomato for sandwiches or for stuffing; choose Roma tomatoes if you want firm and less juicy tomatoes with a rich flavor and fewer seeds, which work great for bruschetta or pasta sauce; choose cherry or grape tomatoes if you want a small tomato that can be enjoyed whole in salads, stir-fries, or for snacking.   

If you can, look for locally grown tomatoes. Tomatoes that ripen on the vine before they’re picked will have more flavor. Tomatoes shipped across state lines are likely picked and shipped green or underripe. The tastiest tomatoes will be rich in color and uniform; avoid tomatoes with yellow or green spots. If they have stems, the stems should be a vibrant green color. Tomatoes should also be heavy for their size and have a strong, earthy, sweet smell. Sliced tomatoes should be refrigerated for up to four days. Store whole tomatoes at room temperature (above 60°F) and enjoy within five to seven days. 

How to prepare tomatoes

Raw tomatoes are ideal for salsas, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and tacos. They can also be a great snack on their own with a pinch of salt and a hearty crack of black pepper. But tomatoes are also delicious when fried, pan-seared, roasted, and blended. Blend tomatoes to make homemade tomato soup, pasta sauce, or ketchup. To pan sear, heat whole or halved grape or cherry tomatoes on medium-high heat in a small amount of olive oil until the skin is slightly blistered. 

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:

June’s best produce: Fruit to look for this month

When it comes to fruit, June means berries! Strawberries are at their peak this month. And June also brings fresh raspberries, blackberries (also not really berries!), and blueberries. But June also means that you’ll find sweet summer staples like cantaloupe and watermelon. Plus, tasty fruits like cherries, apricots, pineapples, and rhubarb (a veggie that acts as a fruit!) are still in season.  


Seasonal produce - fresh apricots in a wooden crate
Jason Leung -

Apricots have been cultivated by humans for 4,000 years. Sure, it’s hard to compete with some of our oldest fruits (check out the history of dates), but 4,000 years is pretty impressive! Apricots are now cultivated on every continent except Antarctica, and though these drought-resistant apricot trees usually produce fruit for about 25 years, some can fruit for 100 years.

Apricots aren’t only sweet and tart treats; they’re also full of nutrients. Apricots contain Vitamins A and C and a bit of potassium and fiber. As a little bonus, they’re also delicious.

How to choose and store apricots

Choose ripe apricots that are bright yellow or orange and firm. If they're still a bit hard, ripen at room temperature, then refrigerate in the coldest part of the fridge and eat them within three to five days.

How to prepare apricots

The versatility of apricots might surprise you. Sliced apricots are scrumptious on their own; you can even drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon to make a simple dessert. Raw apricots can also be added to oatmeal, yogurts, smoothies, or fruit salads. But apricots can also be grilled, broiled, sauteed, and even poached. To broil, set broiler to high and cook sliced apricots (without the pit) on a baking sheet with skin side down for 2 to 5 minutes. Or, to make a fancy salad, melt a teaspoon of neutral oil in a small skillet over medium heat, then add apricots and sauté until golden brown. Toss sauteed apricots with arugula, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar for a simple salad bursting with flavor.

Looking for a tasty recipe? Try these fun, low- or no-added-sugar ideas:


Seasonal produce - blackberries on the bush ready to pick
Amanda Hortiz -

Blackberries are an aggregate fruit—one whole made of many other fruits. And despite its name, blackberries are red in color until they ripen. Their dark color results from anthocyanin, an antioxidant found in blood oranges and pomegranates. One cup of blackberries is also an excellent source of Vitamins C and K, fiber, and manganese.

How to choose and store blackberries

Choose blackberries that are dark black, uniform in color, and plump. Avoid any mushy, moldy, spotty, or bruised fruit. To keep your blackberries fresh, store them in a covered container in the refrigerator's produce drawer for three to five days. To store blackberries beyond their season, freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then transfer frozen blackberries to a covered container; frozen blackberries are best when they’re eaten within nine months.

How to prepare blackberries

Snack on blackberries after rinsing, and add fresh blackberries to greek yogurt, The Healthy Cook’s Chocolate Chia Pudding, oatmeal or other hot cereals, fruit salads, smoothies, and salads.

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Check out these fun, low- or no-added-sugar ideas:


A closeup of seasonal blueberries for sale at a farmer's market
Jessica Ruscello -

Unlike some other “berries” in season this month, the blueberry is, botanically, a true berry. And that powdery coating on blueberries might look strange, but it’s a natural coating that seals in the fruit’s moisture, acts as a barrier against mold, bacteria, and insect infestations, and gives blueberries their color. Known as “bloom,” this coating fades over time, so a heavy bloom is a good indicator of a fresh berry.

Each cup of blueberries delivers 4 grams of fiber, 25 percent of a day’s vitamin K, and 15 percent of a day’s vitamin C for only 80 calories.

How to choose and store blueberries

When choosing blueberries, look for a bit of bloom; that dusty blue look is what you want to see! Also, look for plump, dry, and firm blueberries. Avoid any mushy, moldy, or shriveled berries. Blueberries should be refrigerated in their containers and will last for 10 to 14 days, but they’ll taste best if eaten within a week. Blueberries will also freeze well. You can freeze blueberries (wash and dry them first) on a cookie sheet in a single layer before transferring them to a plastic bag or container for up to 10 months.

How to prepare blueberries

In addition to eating them as a snack on their own, you can add blueberries to greek yogurt, The Healthy Cook’s Chocolate Chia Pudding, oatmeal or other hot cereals, fruit salads, smoothies, and salads.

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Check out these fun, low- or no-added-sugar ideas from UK:


Seasonal produce - cantaloupe in field with one sliced melon in the foreground

What we call cantaloupe in North America is really a reticulated muskmelon. North American muskmelon is recognized by its netted skin, fragrant scent, and sweet flesh. The true European cantaloupe has ribbed pale gray-green skin and sweet flesh. 

Whatever it’s called where you live, cantaloupe is an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of folate, and cantaloupe even has more beta-carotene than apricots, grapefruit, oranges, and peaches. 

How to choose and store cantaloupe

To choose a ripe, sweet cantaloupe, look for a melon that’s heavy for its size, very fragrant, and golden—not green—under the webbed surface. When you press the flower end of the melon (opposite of the stem), it should be soft enough to give, but not so soft that you leave an indentation. A cantaloupe that’s not quite ripe will have a firm bottom, and an overripe cantaloupe bottom will remain indented when pressed. Store ripe whole cantaloupe in the refrigerator's produce drawer for up to five days. Store cut cantaloupe in a covered container in the refrigerator and eat within two to five days. 

How to prepare cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is a delicious snack and is fabulous when blended or added to salsas, salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt. Cantaloupe is also delicious grilled. For a sweet and spicy side, cut cantaloupe into one-inch wedges (don’t remove the rind), spray or drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with cayenne or smoked paprika before grilling on medium-high heat for about five to seven minutes on each side (or until browned). Squeeze a lemon or lime wedge over the grilled fruit, and enjoy!

Looking for a tasty recipe? Try this one from The Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:

Looking for even more fun cantaloupe recipes? Try these recipes from USDA MyPlate:  


Seasonal produce - fresh cherries in packages for the farmers market in May
Cyrus Crossan -

You may have heard the story wherein a six-year-old George Washington “cannot tell a lie” and admits to using a hatchet to harm his father’s cherry tree. Turns out that this story never happened; it was the invention of a 19th-century bookseller, Mason Locke Weems, who wanted to present a role model to his American readers.

But there are many fascinating truths about cherry trees. For example, in Michigan, there are over 35,000 acres of tart cherry trees; that’s about 4 million cherry trees! And since there are about 7,000 cherries on an average tart cherry tree, and it takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie, a cherry tree can produce enough cherries to make 28 pies. That’s a lot of pie!

Cherries are delicious and also more nutritious than you might think. Not only do cherries contain a bit of Vitamin C and potassium, but they also provide a bit of fiber.

How to choose and store cherries

When choosing cherries, the best will have their stems attached and look plump, shiny, and firm. Avoid any cherries with yellow or brown spots or cherries that are shriveled, soft, or mushy. To keep them fresh for as long as possible, refrigerate immediately in the crisper drawer and eat within 3 to 5 days.

How to prepare cherries

There are two types of cherries: sweet and tart. Sweet cherries are usually eaten as a snack, while tart cherries are often used in baking because they hold their shape better than sweet cherries. In addition to eating them as a snack, you can use cherries in cobblers, crumbles, pies, pancake recipes, smoothies, and salads.

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Check out these fun, low- or no-added-sugar ideas:


Seasonal produce - one whole and one sliced fresh pineapple fruits on a cutting board
pada smith -

In the wild, pineapples rely on hummingbirds for pollination, but if you want to grow your very own pineapple, you can. All you have to do is save your pineapple’s leafy top and plant it in some soil.

So, what does this unique-looking and sweet fruit—which is actually multiple berries fused together—offer in terms of nutrition? Pineapple is an excellent source of Vitamin C and manganese and also contains a bit of calcium, potassium, zinc, fiber, and Vitamins B1, B6, and K.

How to choose and store pineapples

Choose firm, heavy pineapples with leafy dark green tops. Avoid pineapples with dark or soft spots, and don’t be afraid to sniff this fruit—the bottom of the pineapple should be fragrant and smell sweet. When storing uncut pineapple, refrigeration isn’t necessary—room temperature for a day or two is fine. Once cut, pineapple should be refrigerated in an airtight container and eaten within 2 to 3 days.

How to prepare pineapples

You don’t have to have a pineapple corer or slicer to enjoy fresh pineapple. First, slice off the leafy crown and bottom end of the pineapple. Then, stand the pineapple up and, working from top to bottom, slice off the rind. From there, cut the pineapple in half from top to bottom (through the fibrous core), halve each piece one more time, and you’ll have four pieces. Now, you can cut the core from each section easily. If you would prefer not to cut through the core, which can sometimes be difficult, cut planks of pineapple in sections around the core, then cut the planks into chunks.

Fresh pineapple is a treat on its own, but it can also be added to salads, yogurt, salsas, and smoothies. Fresh pineapple is also tasty in baked desserts and grilled or sauteed in savory dishes. Grill pineapple chunks to serve with teriyaki chicken or in tacos, add sauteed pineapple rings to a turkey burger, or, if you’re a fan of pineapple on pizza, scatter a few chunks over your favorite pizza recipe before baking. To grill or sauté, brush a little olive oil on each side of the pineapple rings (or half rings), add to the grill or skillet, and cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes (until you see grill marks or some browning).

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Try these: 


Seasonal produce - Fresh red and yellow raspberries and blackberries
stone36 -

Like the blackberries and strawberries also in season this month, raspberries are aggregate fruits. And though you’re probably most familiar with red raspberries, black raspberries (often confused for blackberries), purple raspberries, and golden raspberries are also available in some markets. 

Raspberries are naturally sweet treats that are also an excellent source of Vitamin C and manganese, a good source of fiber and Vitamin K, and are high in anthocyanins, just like blackberries and blueberries. 

How to choose and store raspberries

Choose raspberries that are firm, plump, shiny, and bright in color. And be sure also to examine the raspberry container. If you see any liquid or stains, this might suggest mushy or bruised fruit. These little fruits are easily perishable and can mold quickly, so refrigerate them in their original container and eat them within two days. You can also freeze raspberries for up to a year. To prevent them from sticking together, wash and dry the berries, then freeze them on a cookie sheet in a single layer before transferring them to a plastic bag or container.

How to prepare raspberries

In addition to eating them as a snack on their own, you can add raspberries to greek yogurt, The Healthy Cook’s Chocolate Chia Pudding, oatmeal or other hot cereals, fruit salads, smoothies, and salads.

Looking for a tasty raspberry recipe? Try these winning recipes from Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook:


April produce - Fresh rhubarb for sale at farmers market
Judy Beth Morris -

One important thing to know about rhubarb from the start? Only eat the stalks! The leaves contain a toxic substance that makes them poisonous to humans and animals when ingested. So, if you purchase rhubarb with its leaves, remove and dispose of those leaves as soon as you get home.

You might think that rhubarb requires a lot of added sugar to be tasty. And sure, the stalks can be pretty tart, but the trick is to combine rhubarb with other fruits like strawberries (also emerging in April!) to decrease the amount of added sugar needed.

Rhubarb stands out as an excellent source of Vitamin K, with one cup offering roughly 20 percent of what adults need in a day, as well as small amounts of magnesium, folate, and potassium. 

How to choose and store rhubarb

To choose the tastiest rhubarb, buy stalks that are straight, firm, and bright pink or red (the brighter and darker, the sweeter and less tart they’ll be). Avoid stalks that are wilted or flabby. You can store them wrapped in the produce drawer (it’s the coldest drawer!) of your refrigerator for up to seven days.

How to prepare rhubarb

Once you dispose of the leaves (very important—they’re poisonous!), you can use rhubarb in pies, cobblers, soups, and even smoothies.

Looking for a few tasty recipes? Check out these fun, low- or no-added-sugar ideas:


April produce - A pile of strawberries at a market
Alex Block -

Does it surprise you to learn that strawberries aren’t actually berries? It’s true! Botanists (plant scientists!) define strawberries as a “pseudocarp,” or false fruit, made up of many tiny fruits. What we call a strawberry is actually an “accessory fruit” and is thus not a true berry. Kind of neat, right? 

Berry or not, strawberries are an irresistibly sweet treat. And each cup is a good source of fiber and packs in nearly a full day’s Vitamin C. Strawberries are also 90 percent water, so their calorie density is low, even compared to most other fruits. That explains why a pound of them delivers just 150 calories. That works out to about 50 calories per cup. There’s no better way to bulk up yogurt, cereal, or even ice cream. 

How to choose and store strawberries 

Strawberries don’t continue to ripen once picked, so a darker berry means it was picked at its most ripe. To pick the tastiest strawberries, choose medium-sized berries with no white tips or green spots. Make sure they’re firm, plump, and uniformly deep red. And since these fragile fruits tend to spoil quickly, be sure to keep them refrigerated (preferably in the crisper drawer) in a closed clamshell container or porous plastic bag (they like humidity!) and enjoy them within 7 days. 

How to prepare strawberries 

In addition to slicing and eating plain, you can enjoy strawberries in salads, smoothies, and yogurt parfaits and add them to oatmeal or cold cereal. As a treat, top with a dollop of whipped cream and you have a satisfying yet simple dessert.  

Looking for a quick strawberry recipe? Try these winning recipes from Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook:

Want even more strawberry goodness? The USDA’s MyPlate database has you covered.


Seasonal produce - a stack of watermelons with one split melon on top
Crina-Miriam Cretu -

We’ve been cultivating watermelon for so long that ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs depict watermelon harvests. Though watermelons are one of the sweetest and juiciest fruits, they're gourds from the same family as squash and cucumbers. 

A nutritional heavyweight? You bet. A typical serving (about 2 cups) has 10 percent of a day’s vitamin A, 25 percent of a day’s vitamin C, a nice shot of potassium, and a healthy dose of lycopene, all for only 80 calories. 
True to its name, watermelon is—drumroll—about 90 percent water. So are cantaloupe and honeydew. That means tons of refreshment for just 50ish calories per cup.

How to choose and store watermelon

Apart from looking for that yellow spot on the underside (the creamier in color, the better!), look for a watermelon that’s deep green (lighter green stripes are fine), heavy for its size, and uniform in shape. Avoid watermelons with cracks and soft spots. And if you like the idea of giving your fruit a tap to determine ripeness, listen for a muffled hollow sound when knocking on your watermelon. When unripe, the sound will be more metallic. Some suggest listening for a “pong” sound versus a “ping” sound. Store uncut watermelon at room temperature for seven to ten days. But the longer you wait, the less flavor you’ll find. Store cut watermelon in a covered container or wrapped in plastic for three to four days. 

How to prepare watermelon

Though you’re probably most familiar with their tasty flesh, the rinds of watermelon are also edible. In some southern states, rinds are often pickled. Others use stewed rinds in stir-fries and curry dishes. And just like pumpkin seeds, you can dry and roast the seeds.

Of course, the flesh of a watermelon is a delicious snack on its own and can be refreshing when juiced or blended in smoothies or cold soups like gazpacho. Watermelon is also tasty when sliced and added to salsas and salads. But you might also want to try grilled watermelon. To grill, cut the watermelon into thick wedges and grill for about three minutes on each side (or until browned). Drizzle with a little honey or top with cilantro for added zing after grilling.

Looking for a quick watermelon recipe? Try this winning recipe from Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook:

You can also check out these tasty recipes from the USDA’s MyPlate database: 


M.M. Bailey (she/her) is a writer who lives in the DC metro area. Her writing has been featured in Fall for the Book’s October 2021 podcast series and can be found in Fractured Lit, This is What America Looks Like, Furious Gravity, and Grace In Love, among others. Her special interests have focused on cultural representations of gender and race, as well as the role of visual narratives in social justice and reform.

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