What’s in Season – May Produce Guide

What's in season in May? Check out recipes for strawberries, rhubarb, pineapple, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, cactus paddles, peas, leeks, and artichokes!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

May Produce Guide

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!



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.

Add to Shopping List

These Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins are the BEST! Tender and light with bursts of juicy strawberries.

Add to Shopping List


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.

Add to Shopping List
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

This is the BEST homemade strawberry rhubarb pie recipe! Sweet fresh strawberries paired with tart rhubarb and a hint of orange zest, all baked in an easy, flaky homemade crust.

Add to Shopping List



Best way to cut a pineapple

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

Add to Shopping List
Salmon Teriyaki Skewers with Pineapple

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

Add to Shopping List
Sweet Sour Chicken

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

Add to Shopping List


Spring asparagus

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

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!

Add to Shopping List
Grilled Asparagus

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

Add to Shopping List
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.

Add to Shopping List


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.

Add to Shopping List
Sauteed Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms

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

Add to Shopping List


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.

Add to Shopping List
Three Carrot Cake Cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting, one of them is partially unwrapped

These are hands down the best Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting you'll ever find. They're moist without being dense, and have just the right amount of spice. Add nuts or leave them out — it's up to you!

Add to Shopping List
Pesto made with carrot greens

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.

Add to Shopping List

Cactus Paddles

Cactus Paddles

Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions

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

Add to Shopping List
Nopalitos Cactus Salad

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.

Add to Shopping List


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.

Add to Shopping List
Pasta with Ham and Peas

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

Add to Shopping List



Breakfast Casserole with Leeks and Asparagus

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

Add to Shopping List
Salmon Foil Packets with Leeks and Bell Peppers

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

Add to Shopping List


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!

Add to Shopping List
Artichoke Hearts with Caramelized Onions

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

Add to Shopping List

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise


No ImageWhat’s in Season – May Produce Guide

  1. Sara A.

    Here in MD, our CSA is full of greens like spinach, kale, chard, bok choy, lettuces, and sorrel. We’ve been getting a bunch of green onions each week and last week we could choose from green garlic, fresh garlic, or garlic scapes. This week, we’re getting our first blueberries which is INSANE! I’m wondering if they’re in a tunnel like the tomatoes… Kohlrabi is also in season and I’m always struggling with what to do with it. I never was much of a greens person, but after 4 years of CSA membership, I actually look forward to the early weeks of nothing but green.

  2. 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.

    Show Replies (1)
  3. 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 :)

    Show Replies (1)