Never know what’s growing now? Let’s take it one season at a time, with the Foods That Taste Better Now Than They Will All Year.
It’s officially spring, which means delicious produce is just around the corner. While it’s still too early for most juicy fruits and crisp veggies to reach their peak, April is the best time for a handful of items grown in warmer regions of North America. “April is a little ad hoc—a little of this and a little of that,” says Chris Romano, an associate produce coordinator at Whole Foods. Here are the four foods he thinks should zoom to the top of your grocery list this month.
Ataulfo mangos: Usually mangos are characterized by their green color with a reddish blush, but these are a bright yellow. Ataulfo mangos are grown all over the world, but in April, some of the tastiest varieties come out of Mexico. “They’re a little bit flatter, a little bit smaller, but the flavor is phenomenal,” says Romano. “They’re very fragrant and very juicy as far as a mango is concerned. It’s great as a salsa or chutney and great to eat out of hand.”
Blackberries: It’s true that they’re typically a summer berry, but keep an eye out for blackberries from Mexico that will start hitting groceries in April. “Blackberries are very prolific in Mexico in April,” says Romano. “They are very big, very plump, and they have virtually no tartness. You eat one out of the container and won’t make it to the car.”
Asparagus: Spring is asparagus season, and April is a great month to pick up some spears. At this time of the year, plenty of asparagus comes out of regions in California where the soil is black and soft. Warm days and cool nights are ideal for asparagus growing, Romano says. During April, asparagus will be nice and thick with less white to trim off the bottom. Go for the thicker varieties, Romano recommends. “A lot of people think thin spears are the way to go, but they’re actually less tender,” he says. “The thicker ones are more fibrous.”
Artichokes: “You can see artichokes year-round, but this is by far the time to eat them,” says Romano. “They’re the most meaty artichokes you will have in the season and all year, and they have the biggest hearts.” Though you can buy artichoke hearts in a can, now is the time to buy them fresh. Don’t let the daunting shape of the artichoke deter you from cooking them—a simple steam will do them justice.
Strawberries: According to Romano, some of the best-tasting strawberries will likely hit grocery store shelves in the next few weeks.