April Seasonal Produce Guide

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Welcome to my April Seasonal Produce Guide. Seasonal produce is cheaper, fresher, more nutritional, and eco-friendly because it doesn’t have to travel as far.

April Seasonal Produce Guide

Spring is here! Bye-bye winter! Which means there are new items in season this month. What is in season in April? Produce peaks at different times throughout the US so there will be some variances. But here is a general guide.

Every month I will be sharing a produce guide with seasonal recipe suggestions. Check out my April Seasonal Produce Guide below for more information on how to choose, store and prepare each ingredient

April Seasonal Produce Guide

Artichokes

Artichokes

A cooked, unseasoned artichoke has a light delicate flavor. The leaves are often removed one at a time, and the fleshy base is eaten. The fibrous upper part of each leaf is usually discarded. The heart is eaten when the inedible choke has been peeled away from the base and discarded. The thin leaves covering the choke are also edible.

Buying

Choose artichokes that feel heavy for their size and have firm, tightly packed leaves that are green. Avoid artichokes that feel soft or have dry, split or brown leaves.

Storing

Do not rinse or cut the artichoke prior to storing. Sprinkle the artichokes with a little water, and place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Fresh artichokes will keep for 3-5 days.

Preparing

Rinse the artichoke in cold water, using a soft brush or cloth to remove any film from the exterior. Trim one inch from the top (pointed end) of the artichoke. Cut a quarter-inch off the stem. Use your fingers to slightly separate the petals, opening the artichoke so that seasonings can be better distributed. Cook as desired.

To prepare the heart, trim the leaves and cut off the top so the fuzzy purple choke is exposed. Use a spoon or melon baller to remove all of the choke, which is not edible. Use a paring knife to remove the outer leaves and base of the stem, leaving only the tender inner stem, or the heart.

Once cut artichokes can begin to turn brown. Placing them in water slightly acidified with vinegar or lemon juice can prevent the discoloration.

Recipes

asparagus
Fresh organic asparagus on rustic background

Asparagus

Asparagus is 93% water. Asparagus is low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium. Stem thickness indicates the age of the plant, with the thicker stems coming from older plants. Older, thicker stalks can be woody, although peeling the skin at the base removes the tough layer.

Buying

Choose asparagus with straight stalks and closed tips. Thinner spears will be less woody. Avoid asparagus with open tips and that are curved or rough in texture.

Storing

Trim the ends of the asparagus and stand them upright in a jar with about an inch of water in the bottom. Cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to three days.

Preparing

Cut off the bottom couple of inches of the stalk, or bend each spear until it breaks naturally. Using the breaking method will ensure tender spears of asparagus without any waste. Asparagus can be roasted, steamed, grilled, or sautéed in a pan.

Recipes

Broccoli
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Broccoli

Broccoli is part of the cabbage family and is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K.

Buying

Choose broccoli that has closed florets and deep green color. Avoid broccoli with yellowing or that is soft.

Storing

Refrigerated broccoli will keep for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash and then cut into appropriately sized pieces. All but the very end of the stock can be used.

Recipes

Cauliflower
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Cauliflower

Cauliflower is super popular right now. Masquerading as a pizza crust, mashed potatoes, and rice. Cauliflower comes in several varieties including white, orange, green, and purple. Cauliflower can be roasted, grilled, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw. It is high in vitamin C and vitamin K.

Buying

Look for cauliflower that is compact with firmly attached bright green leaves. Avoid cauliflower with brown spots or spread out sections.

Storing

Cauliflower can be refrigerated for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash cauliflower just before use. Remove the outer leaves, stem, and core. Then break or cut it into smaller pieces. Reusable Block

Recipes

Leeks on wooden cutting board
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Leeks

Leeks have a mild onion-like flavor. Leeks are a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, iron and magnesium. They are also a very good source of folate as well as vitamins A, C, and K.

Buying

Look for leeks that are firm and have as much white and light green parts as possible.

Storing

Leeks can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Preparing

The dark green leaves are usually tough. Most dishes use just the white and light green portions. Leeks grow in sandy soil and need to be washed thoroughly. Cut off the root and then slice the leek in half vertically. Chop and place in a bowl of cold water. Agitate the leeks well, then drain and use.

Recipes

Lettuce
Photo by NastyaSensei Sens from Pexels

Lettuce

Lettuce is most often used raw in salads and sandwiches but it can also be grilled. Lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and iron.

Buying

Look for fresh crisp leaves that are tightly bunched. Avoid lettuce with wilted or brown leaves.

Storing

Lettuce should be loosely covered and can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Preparing

Rinse lettuce under cold water. Use a salad spinner or pat the leaves dry to remove excess moisture. Slice, chop or tear as needed.

Recipes

Mushrooms
Photo by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins, selenium, and copper.

Buying

Mushrooms should look fresh and smell good. Avoid mushrooms that smell of mildew or mold. Also avoid mushrooms that look shriveled, desiccated, darkened, wet, or moldy.

Storing

Mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator or wrapped in paper towels and then loosely wrapped with plastic. Enclosing mushrooms in a plastic bag will cause them to sweat and spoil more quickly. Wild mushrooms will last for a few days stored this way; cultivated mushrooms will last up to a week or two.

Preparing

Mushrooms are like sponges and will soak up any liquid they get near. Relatively clean mushrooms can be brushed clean with a pastry brush or dry paper towel. For more cleaning power, use a damp paper towel. Reusable Block

Recipes

Pineapple

Pineapples

Pineapples grow as a small shrub. Pineapple is rich in manganese and vitamin C and is very sweet but low in calories.

Buying

Look for pineapples with dark green compact leaves that are heavy for their size. Pineapples are ripe once a majority of the base has turned yellow with very little green left. Avoid pineapples with soft or dark spots and dry yellow leaves.

Storing

Store pineapples at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to 5 days. Refrigerate cut pineapple in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Preparing

Use a sharp knife to remove rind and leaves, then cut as desired, removing the core as needed.

Recipes

Red Radishes

Radishes

Radishes are a root vegetable and are often eaten raw on salads. Radishes have a sharp spicy flavor.

Buying

Look for radishes that are smooth and brightly colored. The leaves should be green and fresh looking. Avoid radishes that are soft or dull looking.

Storing

Remove the radish greens, which are edible, before storing in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to one week.

Preparing

Slice off the roots and leaves, wash and pat dry. Radishes can be served whole, sliced, diced, minced, and/or grated, depending on the recipe. Cook radishes to temper their bitter flavor.

Recipes

rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is classified as a vegetable, but it is often used as a fruit. The leaf stalks can be eaten raw, they have a crisp texture similar to celery. Rhubarb is commonly cooked with sugar and used in pies, crumbles, and other desserts. Rhubarb has a strong, tart taste. 

Buying

Look for rhubarb stalks that are flat and firm. Avoid rhubarb stalks that are limp and curled.

Storing

Refrigerate unwashed rhubarb stalks in a plastic bag up to 3 days.

Preparing

There is no need to peel the stalks just pull off any obvious strings. Trim off any rough areas. Next, cut the stalks into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces against the grain of the stalk to help break-up stringiness. Rhubarb has a high amount of acid and it is best to cook rhubarb in non-reactive cookware.

Recipes

spring peas

Spring Peas

English peas are larger peas that must be shelled before eating. Sugar snap peas or snow peas are most often eaten with the whole pod. The peas inside are small, and the pods are crisp, sweet and delicious.

Buying

Peas should be bright green and feel crisp and fresh. Peapods should snap. Avoid cracked or limp pea pods.

Storing

Store peas in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Preparing

Wash peas before shelling and cooking. To shell peas, pinch off the ends, pull down the string on the inside, and pop out the peas. Snow peas do not need to be shelled, just wash and trim them before cooking or eating raw. Sugar snap peas need the string removed from both sides before cooking or eating raw.

Recipes

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