Friday, May 1, 2009

May is the New April

"Hey Cheapo! What types of fruits and vegetables are in season during the month of May?"

So, have you enjoyed the first round of spring vegetables yet? Oh, it only gets better from here! May is just the beginning of juicy vine berries and sweet Texas onions. Also, depending on where you live, the local farmer's markets should start popping up this month. That is where you will find your freshest, and usually cheapest, fruits and vegetables. When you don't have to pay to have your food shipped from the other side of the country, you will almost always get better quality and lower prices. We like that, right?

  • Peak Season: Sweet onions, varieties of peas & salad greens
  • Strong in Season: carrots, limes, green onion, fava beans, beets, green & spring onions and sweet onions
  • Arriving in Season: green beans, zucchini, parsnips, early corn, tomatoes
  • Fruits: Be on the look out for cherries, apricots, peaches and early melons. Also, it's berry time: blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries & strawberries.
  • Season Ending: Say goodbye to artichokes, asparagus, Haas avocados and most greens. As the weather warms, broccoli, cabbage, celery, cauliflower, fennel, green onion, kale, leeks, radishes and rhubarb will start to disappear. Many of these will pick back up in the fall.

On the topic of berries, do you know if you have any U-Pick farms nearby? Here in northwest Indiana, we have them everywhere! I highly recommend them as you will not get any fresher fruit than what you pick yourself. Plus, the prices are cheaper and it makes for a fun, relaxing day! Here, strawberries will come at the beginning of June; black raspberries at the end. While blackberries and blueberries can be picked in July and red raspberries in October.

A few U-Pick tips:

  • Call ahead to be sure when the fruit is the ripest and for prices. Also, many places require you bring your own "packaging" - whether it be a box or container to take your fruit home in. Otherwise, you might have to pay for one there. No thanks.
  • Don't go in mid-day when the sun is bearing down on you
  • Bring bug repellent and sunblock - depending on when you go
  • Bring water to drink
  • If picking thorny berries, wear long-sleeves. (blackberries)
  • My favorite berry to pick is blueberries. The rows are nice and neat - no thorns and you don't have to bend over to pick them :)
Of course, you won't be able to resist eating some of your fresh berries but you should have PLENTY to save for winter! Be sure to rinse them well and lay them out on a towel to dry. Freeze them separately on a cookie sheet. When frozen, transfer them to a bag. If you don't freeze them apart, they will freeze into one big chunk - which is fine if you are just going to make them into preserves, but not when you want them in your cereal.

While on your shopping adventures, be sure to take this printable list from BudgetSavvy as a reminder on What's In Season!

No comments: