With technology and transportation being as crazy and quick as it is these days, it is possible for us to eat our favorite fruits and veggies pretty much anytime of the year. However, there are still benefits to shopping for in-season produce: it’s good for the planet, saves you money and is guaranteed to taste better. When food is not in season locally, it’s either grown in a hothouse or shipped in from other parts of the world—and both affect the taste. By having the patience to wait for your produce to be in season, you are actually benefitting quite a bit by getting it is at it’s peak nutritional value. You’re also helping out good ol’ Mother Nature, because although it may seem like a great idea to enjoy a strawberry in the dead of winter, it is way harder on the environment to bring them to your kitchen table during the off-season.
Patience pays off when it comes to produce, but we know it can be tough to keep track of exactly what is in season. We’ve gathered info on when your favorite fruits & veggies are in season and some tips to help you maximize their nutritious value!
Peppers // April—December
For the best tasting peppers, choose ones that look heavy for their size. This indicates the most ripe and juicy pepper!
Carrots // Year-Round
To maximize the freshness of carrots over the longest period of time, store them wrapped in moist paper towels or sealed in a plastic bag. When stored this way, carrots can last for weeks!
Corn // June—October
If broiling your corn, soak the corn in the husk beforehand to bring out the natural flavor and moisture.
Spinach // Year-Round
After buying spinach, don’t wash it as soon as you get it home as this will make it spoil quicker. Store it in the fridge immediately and only wash it right before cooking or serving.
Broccoli // Year-Round
For optimal flavor and nutrition, consider steaming your broccoli. This allows the broccoli to maintain the most nutrients and you can spice it up however you want!
Kale // Year-Round
Salad, steamed, juiced, or baked, you can make your favorite kale treats year round. However, if you steam your kale, it will provide extra cholesterol lowering benefits (extra good for those who are concerned with heart health).
Tomato // April—November
When preparing your tomatoes, do not cook them in aluminum foil! Unfortunately, this can cause some of the acid to interact with the metal, causing aluminum to move into the tomatoes, YUCK!
Winter Squash // October—April
As the name says, winter squash is best around the winter time. Remember to always peel your squash before steaming it!
Green Beans // June—September
Unfortunately, green beans don’t thrive many months out of the year so get them while you can! Be careful though, green beans may cause your body to reduce the amount of calcium you absorb after eating them. Being said, save your calcium-rich dairy for another time of the day to increase the absorption rate.
Eggplant // June—October
Eggplant is another veggie that we don’t have too much time with during the year. To pick the best eggplant, choose one that feels heavy for it’s size and has a shiny, smooth, deep purple appearance!
Apples // Year-Round
These babies are delicious any time of the year! To prevent cut apples from turning brown, drizzle a little bit of fresh citrus juice over the slices. Orange, lemon, lime, or even pineapples work to stop discoloration and give your apples an extra zing of flavor.
Banana // Year-Round
The monkeys are happy and so are we! If you buy bananas faster than you can eat them, take off the peel and throw them in the freezer. They will be sure to come in handy for banana breas, or our favorite way, as a substitute for ice in your smoothies!
Oranges // Year-Round
Although you can find oranges in season all year long, they will be most nutritious and delicious between December and May. When shopping, remember that the heavier the orange, the juicier!
Kiwi // January—April
We are so sad that kiwis are only in season four months out of the year, but that just means we eat A LOT of kiwi during those months. To help you find the best kiwi in the store, hold one between your thumb and forefinger and give it a little squeeze. If it gives, you’ve got a good one!
Honeydew // Year-Round
While honeydew is available year-round, you will find it is most flavorful during January and February so make sure to grab some during these months!
Strawberries // March—August
Strawberries are the perfect spring and summer treat, fresh or frozen! Strawberries don’t ripen at all after they have been picked so make sure you pick bright red berries that are full and unwrinkled!
Pineapple // March—November
Fresh pineapples don’t last long so eat them quick! A fully ripe pineapple will only last a day or two when stored at room temperature. Slice it up and throw it in the fridge and you’ve got about a week to enjoy!
Grapes // June—November
Although most of us buy seedless grapes, don’t diss those grapes that do have seeds. Grape seeds are actually edible and full of antioxidants, so eat up!
Raspberries // June—August
We don’t get raspberries for much of the year so make sure you always have some in the fridge when they are in season! Remember to throw out any berries that have gone bad within the container, as they will increase the speed of the other berries going bad too.
Blueberries // June—August
Just like raspberries, these guys have a short lifetime throughout the year. Blueberries tend to be very fragile, so after washing, make sure you pat them dry with a towel to keep them in their best form.