Spring is the time where all the flowers bloom and the fruit and vegetable world comes back to life. Gardens are planted and seeds are watered ready to grow the most delicious crops. Seasonal products in spring are either late bloomers from winter or early summer crops.
It must be said that winter fruits and vegetables are delicious, but everything is so much better when it warms up and we see fresh and bright colours sprouting in springtime. Similar as with other seasons, specific crops and precise harvest dates will depend on the climate you live in.
Read also our other articles about seasonal products.
Apricots come into season towards the end of spring in the warmer areas where they grow. These small, round fruits are pale to bright orange, depending on the variety and how ripe they are. When picked ripe from the tree, they taste surprisingly sweet.
In the kitchen: They are delicious and colourful in salads and are fantastic when baking tarts.
It is towards the end of spring in warmer areas that cherries are harvested. Sweet cherries are available from May to August, but the sour cherries have a much shorter season usually during the middle of June in warmer areas.
Navel oranges are ready for harvest from November to June. Valencia oranges are ready in springtime and are sweet and juicy.
In the kitchen: From the juice to the zest, everything from the orange is useful. Jams, marmalades, fruit salads, cakes or orange sauce to go with duck breast, there are plenty of options to use this beautiful product.
The strawberry season is debatable, but we live in China and early spring is the best time for these beauties here. Although the season is quite short and finishes after a few weeks, we always try to make the most of it.
In the kitchen: Halved strawberries with a shot of port wine and a spoonful of sugar are perfect on some vanilla ice cream but you can use them with any kind of chocolate and in a variety of desserts! strawberries are also perfect to dehydrate and eat as a healthy snack.
The main harvest of artichokes takes place in spring when the largest thistles are available. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom.
These leaves can be harvested for a long period of time from fall into spring. They are tender with a tangy flavour and are becoming increasingly popular. Arugula, also called rocket or rucola, has hints of pepper while being fresh and is slightly bitter at the same time.
In the kitchen: Arugula will freshen up salads and make a great pesto or soup.
May and early June are the best time to harvest asparagus. White or green they come from the same plant, but white asparagus grow underground. Once the tips break the surface, they are harvested to avoid sunlight turning them green.
In the kitchen: You always need to peel white asparagus, even when thin, and break or cut the hard ends. Asparagus à la Flamande is a very popular dish but you can of course also have them in soups and salads.
Most people consider them weeds but they are herbs. The whole plant is harvested with part of the root, because the root also tastes very good.
In the kitchen: The leaves are washed and can be cooked in a similar way to spinach. Young leaves are tasty in a salad with only some salt, olive oil and a dash of lemon juice. The roots can be used to infuse.
A very popular vegetable from Belgium! These leaves are also called chicory and traditionally they grow in damp sand but nowadays they are often grown hydroponically, which extends the season significantly.
In the kitchen: Used raw in salad, braised or used in a gratin with a rich cheese sauce, this versatile vegetable is a delight in every way.
Fava Beans (broad beans)
These springtime beans are a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern delicacy. They are a species of flowering plant in the pea and bean family and can be harvested until summer in cooler regions. They are buttery and nutty and when eaten raw they have a light crunch.
In the kitchen: They can be prepared in a variety of ways and can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, stewed, mashed, sautéed, fried, or roasted.
Fennel is a flowering plant species of the carrot family and is naturally in season from winter and well into spring. This pretty looking vegetable consists of a white bulb base with green celery-like stalks and ‘leaves’ that look like dill. The entire plant is edible, and it tastes mildly like anise which is also used in pastis!
Depending on weather, in cooler climates this leaf vegetable becomes available from May onwards.
In the kitchen: Lettuce is most often used for salads, although it is also seen in other kinds of food, such as soups, sandwiches and wraps.
When new potatoes are ready it is always a feast. These freshly harvested potatoes are usually small sized with paper-thin skins. It is said they need to be boiled twice for better digestion.
In the kitchen: These don’t need any special preparation besides boiling and being served with a little knob of butter.
These come into season towards the end of spring and continue well into summer.
In the kitchen: Most commonly peas are served with carrots, but they are delicious in soups, stews, as a side dish or pan-fried.
These little red daikons can be round or oval shaped and while some are mild, others can have a sharp peppery taste.
In the kitchen: To us the only correct way to eat radishes is raw, sliced or shredded in a salad or as a snack on their own.
Rhubarb, which is in season from April onwards, is rich in antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins which give it its red colour. Only the stalks are edible and although you can eat rhubarb raw, it is not the most enjoyable way to have it because it is extremely sour and tangy.
In the kitchen: My mum made rhubarb as a side dish when having meatballs or meatloaf, but it is popular in desserts such as pie and crumble.
Watercress is a species of aquatic flowering plant from the cabbage family. It is the oldest known leaf vegetable consumed by humans.
In the kitchen: It can be similarly prepared like young spinach leaves. It will flavour your salads, and watercress makes a fully flavoured soup.