What’s cheap and in season in spring
With our supermarkets displaying some produce all year round it can be a challenge to know what’s cheap and in season in spring. The good news is that in late spring many of our favourite vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower get really cheap. The bad news is that once the citrus season comes to an end, there is a dearth of seasonal fruit until strawberries come into season in mid-November.
Vegetables: What’s cheap and in season in spring
This is the time of year to start thinking about healthy eating as vegetables start to drop in price and by November all your green leafy vegetables like broccoli, celery and cabbage will be super cheap. So stop thinking soups and stews and start thinking salads. This is the time of year for new potatoes, asparagus and avocados to come into season.
Even though it’s never the cheapest vegetable, asparagus is only in season once a year, so make the most of it. Add it to salads, eat it on its own or make asparagus rolls (don’t forget to use those crusts though). If you are feeling adventurous, try making asparagus stalk pesto.
Spring is also the cheapest time of year to buy avocados. To ripen avocados, place them in a paper bag with bananas. The bananas will release ethylene which helps them ripen faster. Once they have reached the correct level of ripeness, store them a fridge. You can also freeze avocados if you plan to use them later on in smoothies or baking. Check out the best way to store half eaten avocados here.
In late spring cauliflower comes down in price. You can eat the leaves and the stalk. Blitz them up Jamie Oliver style and make cauliflower rice. That way you can get two meals out of one cauliflower. Check out our 8 ways with cauliflower blog for more ideas.
Celery is also good value, especially if you eat the leaves as well. You can use them in a salad or chopped up in a soup. Substitute them for parsley when making tabbouleh or dry them to make celery salt. Celery salt goes well in salads, tomato-based soups and stews, and also complements roast pork.
This is another vegetable where it’s worth eating the stalk. Fry up the stalks in a little bit of sesame oil and season with salt and pepper or add a touch of lemon or lime juice.
What to skip?
Summer vegetables such as courgettes, aubergines, peppers and tomatoes will start to come down in price by mid-November so hold off on those til then. Root vegetables such as pumpkin start to get pricier at this time of year.
Fruit: What’s cheap and in season in spring
At this time of year there is a dearth of seasonal fruit. In early spring citrus is at its best. Think oranges, tangelos, grapefruit and lemons. In late spring strawberries start to appear. Hold out for New Zealand grown strawberries – they will taste better and be cheaper as well. In between, look out for when bananas and pineapple are on special. Whilst they are imported all year round, they are a good fruit at this time of year, when not much else is in season.
Oranges are a good buy at this time of year. Why not try them in a salad as a substitute for tomatoes?
The first strawberries onto the market are usually Australian, so wait a few weeks until you start to see the New Zealand strawberries arrive. The pick your own season doesn’t usually begin until late December. Try this easy one cup jam recipe which only needs three large strawberries.
Bananas are a handy fruit to buy at this time of year when seasonal fruit is thin on the ground. Don’t forget to freeze overripe bananas as they can easily be added to cakes and smoothies. Check out our 8 ways with bananas blog and our always controversial 8 recipes using banana peels!
What to skip?
It’s too early for New Zealand stone fruit. Apples, pears and kiwifruit are past their best at this time of year, so choose with care when buying to ensure the apples aren’t floury or the kiwifruit too soft. If you are buying them, store them in the fridge so they will last longer. At this time of year tinned fruit or frozen berries are good options. Look out for when they are on special and stock up.