4/8/2022 | By Chris Malloy

These seven spring fruits and vegetables signal a changing of the seasons, refreshing additions to daily eating, and delicious ways to eat healthy.

Spring has returned, meaning you don’t have to eat another root vegetable for months if you don’t want to. If you eat with the seasons (and hey, even if you don’t), few events on the food calendar beat when those first asparagus spears appear at the market. They signify that you have a wonderful stretch of fresh produce ahead of you; a months-long run through a rainbow of fruits and vegetables is about to begin.

In reality, that run begins as more of a walk. Spring produce comes into season slowly – one here, one there, one delicate vegetable at a time. What’s available when and where will vary, to some degree, by region. But here’s what to look for, generally, now that the season has turned and spring’s first crops are arriving.

Spring fruits and vegetables

1. Artichokes

Depending on where you live, the mighty artichoke might flash into season for a brief moment in spring. The intimidating thistle is one of the great vegetables, its edible parts including the inner stem, heart and yellow tips at the leaf bottoms. True, artichokes take some work to prepare. But with experience, the ritual of trimming them can become fun.

Related: Three of these healthy spring fruits and vegetables are among these seven pre-workout superfoods

2. Asparagus

The arrival of asparagus marks the coming of spring produce in full force. Buy thin spears if you can; they’re more tender and won’t require peeling. Store your bundles upright in a jar of water. Asparagus has serious versatility, thriving in both star and supporting roles. Its delicate season typically lasts into June.

3. Strawberries

fresh strawberries and rhubarb in front of jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam. Photo Zigzagmtart Dreamstime

A watershed moment in the progression of spring produce is the end-of-season arrival of tiny strawberries that actually recall berries, not the watery monsters from the supermarket. Though you can do a whole lot with strawberries, you probably already know that you don’t have to do more than rinse and eat them right from the crate.

4. Rhubarb

In mid-to-late spring, rose-tinted stalks of rhubarb make their appearance. This comes as a delight to the subset of shoppers who want to make pies, galettes, bread puddings and other sweet baked preparations.

Some suggested recipes for your spring fruits and vegetables

Roasted Rhubarb Clafoutis dessert

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Traditional Green Pea Soup

Healthy Springtime Pasta with asparagus and peas

5. Peas

In late spring, plain old green peas drop again, reminding the world of how much more delicate and all-around better they are than their frozen cousins. The pairing of peas and mint creates one of the great spring flavor teams.

6. Radishes

A dark horse among spring produce, radishes are great because they are affordable, healthy, and come in many forms, flavors and colors. Farmers’ market vendors might carry several varieties, with the peppery sizzle coming through in slightly different ways. Look for French breakfast, lime, black, watermelon and Easter egg radishes. Subjected to heat, the peppery notes mellow (and the leaves can be also cooked). Slivered and used raw, a pound of radishes can go a long way.

7. Mushrooms (especially wild morels)

Though excellent mushrooms can sprout in climate-controlled indoor grow houses year-round, some truly fantastic wild mushrooms start to pop in spring. Morels, which have a dark, earthy nuttiness, are some of the very best. They have smooth pale stems and tall caps that look like elongated nectarine pits. But don’t forage them yourself, as mushrooms are highly dangerous unless identified by a pro. Instead, rely on your local market farmer or forager.

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Chris Malloy