In The Kitchen Ingredient Guides

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!

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
Elise Bauer

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

  • Strawberry Shortcake

    Easy Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
    Elise Bauer

    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.

  • Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

    Elise Bauer

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

  • Rhubarb

    Continue to 5 of 33 below.
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

    Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp
    Irvin Lin

    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

    Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
    Elise Bauer

    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.

  • Pineapple

  • How to Cut a Pineapple

    Best way to cut a pineapple
    Elise Bauer

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

    Continue to 9 of 33 below.
  • Salmon Teriyaki Skewers with Pineapple

    Salmon Teriyaki Skewers with Pineapple
    Elise Bauer

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

  • Sweet and Sour Chicken

    Sweet Sour Chicken
    Jaden Hair

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

  • Asparagus

  • Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

    Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus
    Lisa Lin

    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!

    Continue to 13 of 33 below.
  • Grilled Asparagus

    Grilled Asparagus
    Elise Bauer

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

  • Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus with Lemon-Mustard Dressing

    How to roast potatoes with asparagus
    Sally Vargas

    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

  • Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

    Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
    Elise Bauer

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

    Continue to 17 of 33 below.
  • Sautéed Asparagus with Morels

    Sauteed Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms
    Elise Bauer

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

  • Carrots

  • Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles

    Vietnamese Carrot Daikon Pickles Do Chua
    Elise Bauer

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

  • Carrot Cake Cupcakes

    Three Carrot Cake Cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting, one of them is partially unwrapped
    Elise Bauer

    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!

    Continue to 21 of 33 below.
  • Carrot Top Pesto

    Pesto made with carrot greens
    Elise Bauer

    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

  • Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions

    Nopalitos with Tomatoes and Onions
    Elise Bauer

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

  • Nopalitos Cactus Salad

    Nopalitos Cactus Salad
    Elise Bauer

    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.

    Continue to 25 of 33 below.
  • Peas

  • Spring Shrimp Scampi with Peas and Mint

    How to Make Shrimp Scampi
    Sheryl Julian

    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

    Pasta with Ham and Peas
    Elise Bauer

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

  • Leeks

    Continue to 29 of 33 below.
  • Breakfast Casserole with Leeks and Asparagus

    Breakfast Casserole with Leeks and Asparagus
    Elise Bauer

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

  • Foil Baked Salmon with Leeks and Bell Peppers

    Salmon Foil Packets with Leeks and Bell Peppers
    Elise Bauer

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

  • Artichokes

  • Spinach and Artichoke Quiche

    Spinach Artichoke Quiche
    Elise Bauer

    Spinach and artichoke quiche! With chopped spinach and artichokes hearts, shallots, goat cheese, green onions, eggs, and cream. Perfect for a Sunday brunch!

    Continue to 33 of 33 below.
  • Sweet and Sour Glazed Artichokes with Caramelized Onions

    Artichoke Hearts with Caramelized Onions
    Elise Bauer

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