Last Update: September 22, 2023
Modern supply chains and refrigeration methods can trick us into thinking our favorite ingredients are in season year-round. But once you taste a ripe carrot straight from the dirt, or bite into a juicy peach you picked in the heat of summer, you know the best produce is enjoyed seasonally. Our guide has the top fruit and vegetable picks for every month of the year so you can plan your menus around what’s fresh, plus healthy recipes to add to the rotation.
There are myriad reasons why seasonal eating is the way to go.
Embrace seasonal eating with these simple tips.
When cold temperatures reign, warm up from the inside out with the season’s bounty.
Lemon, grapefruit, and oranges shine in January, which is a good thing because they easily brighten cool-weather dishes. Use them liberally in vinaigrettes, to finish a platter of roasted veggies, or to make fresh fruit juice.
Fennel is a flowering plant indigenous to the Mediterranean. Its light anise-flavored bite pairs well in raw slaws and kale salads and you can also roast it with chicken for a cozy Sunday supper.
From baked fries to a hearty mash, is there anything a sweet potato can’t do? These tubers are rich in vitamin A and dietary fiber (hello, better digestion) and are readily available in the winter season.
Turnips thrive in cold weather and are a great potato alternative that can be mashed, roasted, or simmered in soups. They also boast vitamin C, calcium, and folate. When choosing them at the market, small turnips are sweeter than their mature counterparts.
Beets come in a variety of colors—red adds an earthy flavor, while orange beets are sweeter, and their greens are edible too. Just give them a good wash and sauté with garlic for a quick and warming side.
Boost the nutrition of your next stir fry with bok choy, a source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Also known as celeriac, this root vegetable is about the size of a grapefruit and has a gnarled exterior. The inside flesh has a mild celery flavor that’s a perfect stand in anywhere you’d use regular potatoes.
A staple in many Eastern European cuisines, cabbage is sometimes underrated but shouldn’t be overlooked. From salads and slaws to pickled sauerkraut, it’s a healthy, versatile winter staple. Try it roasted for added flavor!
Brassicas like kale and collards are sturdy winter basics. Kale can be massaged for salads, sautéd with onions and garlic, added to soups, and more.
Parsnips look like carrots but are paler in color. This root vegetable thrives in the cooler months and can be enjoyed all season long.
Radicchio looks like a small cabbage with lovely white and purple leaves that are spicy and bitter (but the flavor mellows when grilled or roasted).
When the weather warms up, it’s time to celebrate the return of all things green.
Roasted, grilled, steamed, or boiled, asparagus pairs beautifully with all your favorite proteins like salmon, shrimp, and chicken. You can even add them to spring-inspired pizzas and pastas.
Spring leeks (along with spring garlic and onions) are mild alliums that add a backbone of flavor to sauces, soups, and pesto. Be sure to clean them well—sand and grit can collect in the leaves.
Small and flavorful, fresh peas add brightness to spring meals and nutrition like vitamins A, K, and folate.
Rhubarb has a short season, so enjoy it while you can. The vibrant pink stalk is edible, though quite sour so often paired with plenty of sugar and other seasonal fruits like strawberries.
When shopping for artichokes, look for one that’s heavy when you pick it up and has tight leaves.
Fava beans have to be shelled twice—first when you remove them from the pod and again after you cook them.
Radishes are small, fresh, and a little spicy. Serve these crisp veggies raw in slaws, with tacos, or in salads, or roast them and serve on baguette slices with a bit of salted butter.
Is it even spring if you don’t bite into a juicy strawberry? Small, dark berries will have the most flavor (perfect for eating straight from the carton), and larger ones are perfect for baking.
This spicy green is extra flavorful when you catch it in-season. Toss a light salad, top a pizza, or blend it into pesto.
Basil pairs well with arugula (above) and can be used to add extra flavor to pasta dishes, sauces, or even simmered with an ice cream base for a savory summer flavor.
Like strawberries, the brief summer season of blueberries is not to be missed. Freeze them for smoothies, bake into crumbles, or top off your morning short stack.
Grilled or shucked, sweet corn is a spring and summer staple. With a mild flavor, corn soaks up other ingredients like herb butter, Pecorino cheese, and pesto, so don’t be shy.
Fresh and snappy cucumbers have a big range—from homemade pickles to smashed salads, there are lots of recipes to use them up. You can also infuse your water all season long—just add sliced cucumbers and lemons to a pitcher of water and chill overnight.
Cold temperatures and snow are nowhere to be found, which means summer’s bounty is just around the corner.
This sweet melon doesn’t need much to make it shine. You can always enjoy a slice as-is, or dress it up with a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, pinch of sea salt, and confetti of fresh basil.
Peppers reach their peak in the summer months and are a versatile addition to your menus. Top a pizza, cook up fajitas, or stuff them with cheese, corn, and black beans for an impressive vegetarian main.
Summer raspberries shine in pies, jams, tarts, and cocktails. These delicate fruits won’t last long, so don’t waste any time adding them to your favorite fruit-forward recipes.
Zucchini is known for taking over the garden, but there’s lots you can do with this veggie. Toss it on the grill or roast it for savory dishes, or bake up a loaf of zucchini bread or a batch of wholesome muffins.
In peak season, green beans need little more than a pinch of sea salt and a slick of oil to bring out their natural sweetness. They make a delicious side (try adding almonds for crunch) or an addition to fresh salads.
This green vegetable grows best in hot and humid climates, and is an essential ingredient in Caribbean, Indian, and Southern cuisine, especially dishes like gumbo and stews. It has a mild grassy flavor and can be pan-roasted, sautéed, or fried.
August is tomato season at its finest. Cherry, heirloom, or varieties local to your area will be brimming at the farmers’ market this month.
Seasonal melons provide juicy hydration with the added benefit of sweet summertime flavor. You can enjoy them as a stand-alone snack or dessert, but watermelon also lend themselves to supporting roles in savory salads with tomatoes and feta, smoothies, or homemade margaritas.
Like other brassicas, broccoli shines when paired with bold aromatics like garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and sea salt. When you’re shopping, look for tightly packed florets with minimal brown spots.
Like tomatoes, when eggplants come into season your local market might be overflowing with all sorts of varieties. Larger globes are perfect for slicing and frying (eggplant parmesan, anyone?) while thinner eggplants can be grilled or roasted easily (and drizzled with bright chimichurri).
Figs are one of the oldest cultivated fruits and always a welcome addition to cheese platters. Try them grilled, drizzled with honey, stuffed with goat cheese, or wrapped in prosciutto for a no-cook late-summer appetizer.
Eating a ripe plum is a real pleasure, but don’t miss baking up a plum pie or pistachio crumble before the season ends.
Cold temperatures and snow are on the horizon now—here’s the bounty to enjoy while you still can.
Before you start cooking and baking, keep in mind that conventionally grown apples are exposed to more pesticides, so choose organic when you can, and wash them with a fruit and vegetable spray before using.
Squash season always ushers in new levels of cozy in the kitchen. Before peeling and roasting for soups, choose a butternut squash that feels heavy for its size and is relatively blemish free.
If you’re on team pumpkin spice, this is your month to really indulge. To find the right one, knock on the shell and listen for a hollow sound.
Swiss chard is somewhere in the middle of the greens spectrum—not as tough as kale, but not as tender as spinach. That means it’s a versatile green for all manner of dishes—not to mention the nutritional boost from vitamins A and C.
If you’ve had a bad experience with them in the past, they were very likely overcooked. These nutritious vegetables take on a caramelized quality when roasted or pan-seared properly and are delicious alongside cold-weather mains like pork chops and rib eye steak.
No, they’re not just white carrots. These root vegetables can be roasted, pan-seared, and turned into a silky purée.
To tell if a pear is ripe, press lightly at the top of the fruit, just beside the stem. If it gives slightly, the pear is ready to enjoy. This fruit is naturally sweet, but pairs well with savory ingredients, especially cheese and nuts.
Collards are in the same family as mustard greens, kale, and other hearty greens. They’re known for having large leaves (ideal for using as wraps in both raw and cooked dishes) or cooked down for a classic Southern side.
Leeks add a mild flavor to risottos, soups, and more. They’re more tender in the spring, but can also be found in the fall and used anywhere you’d include onion, especially when you’re sauteing aromatics to form a flavor base.
For topping pizza, tossing with pasta, or assembling cheesy toast, nothing beats the earthy flavor of mushrooms. Look for fungi with a firm, smooth texture and wipe them down with a damp cloth before using.
Another winter root vegetable, rutabagas are a hybrid between turnips and wild cabbage. Rutabagas grow well in cool climates and have a slightly bitter flavor—try them roasted alongside other seasonal vegetables like squash, carrots, and parsnip.
The best winter recipes make the most of the season with cool-weather cooking techniques like braising and hours-long simmered soups.
One-pot recipes are weeknight time savers, and this dish hits all the flavor marks with meaty shiitake mushrooms, baby kale, and salty Parmesan cheese.
Warm up from the inside out with a steaming pot of chicken zucchini noodle soup. A bright lemon-ginger broth adds lots of flavor, and the recipe is gluten-free and paleo.
Embrace sweet and savory in this winter side featuring tender braised cabbage, sweet pears, and tart balsamic vinegar.
Traditional latkes with a twist. This sweet potato version is paleo-friendly thanks to coconut flour, and we add grated apple for sweetness.
Elegant and understated, this recipe combines roasted red and golden beets with goat cheese, red wine vinegar, honey, star anise, and tarragon leaves.
If you never turn down a plate of fries, this paleo-friendly recipe makes it easy to indulge—don’t miss the sorrel mayo for dipping.
Fresh and crunchy, Brussels sprouts and radicchio are paired with sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, then drizzled with a tangy apple dressing.
In this salad, kale, sweet potato, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and almonds offer a nutritious way to brighten up a dreary winter’s day.
Spring recipes are all about celebrating the return of fresh produce—here are our favorite ways to make the most of it.
Bright and refreshing, spring watercress and watermelon radishes are tossed with creamy avocado and salty feta for a hearty bowl to enjoy as a main or side dish.
Build a better brunch with a stunning gluten-free (and paleo-friendly) quiche that’s overflowing with spring’s best vegetables like asparagus and peas.
Orange brown butter is the secret ingredient in this simple spring salad. Toss it with verdant green beans, crisp snap peas, and creamy purple potatoes for a colorful vegetarian side.
Go green with veggie spring rolls. Every bite is full of bright herbs, avocado, and crisp pea shoots. Enjoy them as a light lunch or healthy appetizer.
A dusting of paprika gives this salad the smoky treatment. Served alongside hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and greens, it’s a healthy dish to enjoy all season.
Here’s a gluten-free and paleo-friendly option for breakfast or brunch. Inspired by the classic British breakfast, these dippers use fresh asparagus spears wrapped in salty bacon.
Straight from Jodi Moreno’s beautiful cookbook, these rhubarb bars make the most of the short growing season and are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian.
When the dog days of summer arrive, some of the year’s best produce isn’t far behind.
Here’s a soup that’s clean-eating approved (while also surprisingly filling). The dairy-free recipe combines green beans, almond flour, leafy greens, and vegetable stock.
When turning on the oven is the last thing you want to do, assemble a zucchini and mozzarella salad with zesty lime and fresh herbs.
Is it even summer if you haven’t made gazpacho? This blender recipe adds watermelon to the mix for a slightly sweet take that pairs splendidly with tomatoes, cucumbers, and jalapeños.
Time for happy hour! Keep the watermelon love going with a summery margarita blended with coconut nectar, jalapeños, lime juice, and Blanco tequila.
Need a winning side for your next barbecue? Grilled corn will hit the spot. Our recipe is a creamy and salty combination thanks to creamy mayonnaise, melted butter, salty cheese, and bright cilantro.
When zucchini overflows in the garden, make muffins. This gluten-free recipe uses three different flours—almond, coconut, and cassava—plus shredded zucchini and chocolate chips for good measure.
Quick-pickled summer vegetables and seared ahi tuna steaks put a twist on this Vietnamese sandwich that packs briny and salty flavor in every bite.
Put carbs on the shelf while enjoying summer’s fresh herbs. Spiralized zucchini strands stand in for spaghetti while cannellini beans up the ante with protein.
This light and refreshing cucumber salad combines Japanese-inspired flavors like wakame, dashi, and minced ginger.
When heirloom tomatoes arrive, keep it simple with herbs, shallot, flaky salt, and your best bottle of olive oil.
This quick clafoutis is a rustic French baked custard that’s light, airy, and filled with fresh summer berries.
When summer turns to fall, it’s time to cozy up your cooking while still enjoying lingering summer produce.
Easy cleanup alert! This sheet pan dinner comes together easily and is completely craveable—tender chicken, leeks, and butternut squash are worth adding to your weekly rotation.
This keto-friendly recipe uses riced cauliflower instead of traditional arborio rice. The dish is still extra creamy thanks to two types of cheese and nestled with perfectly seared scallops.
Pumpkin spice for breakfast? Yes, please! This smoothie starts with pumpkin purée, then adds banana, dates, coconut milk, and warming spices.
The pumpkin train continues with paleo bread that uses almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour along with organic pumpkin, allspice, coconut oil, and pumpkin seeds.
Here’s a clever take on waffles that works seamlessly for brunch or dinner. We top the sweet potato-infused batter with a fried egg, cubed avocado, and cilantro.
Here’s a vegan recipe everyone will love. Cauliflower and onion are coated in bold spices like curry and cinnamon, then tossed together with raisins and coconut flakes before hitting the oven.
When you need an after-school snack or salty nibble for cocktail hour, serve up these crunchy pumpkin seeds roasted with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and maple syrup.
Upgrade simple sweet potatoes with aromatic sage, warm nutmeg, and a dash of heavy cream—serve it as a side with roasted meats or a fresh salad to keep things light.
After heading to the local orchard, come home and bake a dessert that blends two fall treats: baked apples stuffed with apple crumble topping.
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