Welcome Spring, and welcome to month 4 of our Monthly Seasonal Produce Guides!
April is all about spring vegetables—asparagus and artichokes are at their peak, snap peas begin to make an appearance, as well as young carrots with their fern-like carrot tops, and fava beans. Spring garlic, spring onions, leeks and fennel are thriving, as are the first spring radishes.
Winter citrus are fading, and while we are seeing some early strawberries, the “fruit” of April isn’t really a fruit, but a vegetable that acts like one—rhubarb. Perfect for pies and cobblers.
What’s in season in April?
- Peas: Treat yourself to a handful of fresh snap peas, sear them and toss them with olive oil and mint.
- Carrots: Did you know that “baby” carrots aren’t really juvenile carrots at all, but regular carrots cut and shaped into bite-sized pieces? Nab a bunch of real baby carrots, the young carrots of spring.
- Rhubarb: My father remembers picking wild rhubarb and dipping the tart bright red stalks in sugar to eat. Nature’s Jolly Ranchers! You can do that too, or do what most of us do with it, cook rhubarb into cobblers and pies.
- Asparagus: April is peak asparagus season! Roast, grill, steam, or boil them. They’re great with salmon, eggs, shrimp, chicken, steak, or even on a pizza.
- Artichokes: You can find artichokes in the market in the spring or fall. Look for artichokes that feel heavy when you pick them up, and whose petals (leaves) haven’t opened wide. New to artichokes? Check out our guide on how to cook and eat them.
- Fava beans: Gardeners love fava beans because they are a great cover crop. Fava beans help fix nitrogen in the soil for your summer garden. They’re the only bean you have to shell twice, first when you take them out of their pod, and then again after you cook them, to remove a tough membrane.
- Radishes: If you love radishes, spring is the time to buy them. Serve them thinly sliced with tacos and Mexican food. Roast them or put them in a salad. Or enjoy radishes like the French—slice them and serve them on baguette slices with butter. (If you’ve never had radishes with butter and bread, it’s a game changer!)
- Leeks, Spring Garlic, Spring Onions: Leeks grow in mounds of soil to keep their stalks white and not exposed to the sun. Sand and dirt have a way of getting lodged in leeks, so make sure you clean leeks well before using them in recipes. Use spring garlic and spring onions in recipes that call for regular garlic or onions.
- Fennel: Slice raw fennel and toss with a mint vinaigrette to make a fennel slaw for seafood. Or serve it baked with salmon, halibut, or chicken.
What are your favorite spring vegetables? And how do you prepare them? Let us know in the comments!