As the spring equinox sets in, it's like we all suddenly have a new lease on life. The birds are chirping, sun is shining, flowers are sprouting, and you probably feel like shedding a layer or two under the warmth of the bright sky. You wake up each day, ready to crush your goals with a smile on your face, and keeping that smile through the long hours of sunshine brought on this time of year.
There are so many ways to celebrate the change of seasons — so many, in fact, that it's hard to decide how to spend your days most of the time. Will you soak up the sun for a few hours? Taking a long walk with your dogs is never a bad idea. Maybe you should call your friends and spark up the propane for a last-minute BBQ. What about a game of whiffle ball? Indecisiveness this time of year is a good problem to have.
Better than racking your brain to determine the best ways to spend your day, however, is taking your butt to the kitchen. Open up the windows and let the sun shine in, then turn up Drake's new album, some old-school funk, or maybe some 90's rock — whatever mood you're feeling most. Pour yourself a refreshing spritzer, and realize the potential of seasonal foods. Avocado, strawberries, and carrots are only a few of the produce items that need to be on your grocery list, as they're having their three months of fame at the moment.
But what foods actually come back into season this time of year? Here's a quick refresher:
Finding an avocado that's not hard as a rock one day and overripe the next is nearly impossible when it's not in season. But now that it's spring, you won't have that problem! And even better, this guacamole recipe from The Kitchn is key to any spring or summer party hosted outside under the sun. Better yet, prepare a batch early in the week and dabble in it for lunch for as many days as it lasts.
Mangoes are delicious eaten by themselves, topped with a little spicy seasoning like Tajin, or in these Tropical Mango Spring Rolls from Cookie and Kate. Take advantage; this fruit is sorely missed during its off-season.
Though you may have been eating spinach from your produce aisle year round, spring is when it really comes into its peak. Try something besides a salad, and go full-flavor with this Spinach and Artichoke Enchiladas recipe from Cookie and Kate. Bonus: Artichoke also happens to be in-season.
Apricots, often confused among their peach and nectarine counterparts, are most underrated. They can be found in many dried fruit aisles and trail mixes, but they're best in their natural, in-season state. Make them last longer with this Apricot Fruit Leather from Natasha's Kitchen.
For a fun, creative way to eat this delicious fruit during its peak season, try out Dried Pineapple Flowers from The Kitchn. You'll get the sweet flavor without the after-effect of the sticky juice. Plus, this is an easy snack to travel with to the beach or pool and share with friends!
Combining two major hors d'oeuvre options, cheese and antipasto, these Brie-Stuffed Artichokes from Half-Baked Harvest are an absolute must. They're great for a dinner party, or for dinner for two, not just because they're easy to make, but also because anything is good with a little cheese.
Another quick snack for spring picnics and summer days, Easy Ranch Carrots from Damn Delicious replace Ranch dressing with a healthier alternative, using spice to pack the ultimate flavor punch.
To get the most out of this go-to side vegetable while it's in-season, try out this Lemony Roasted Asparagus from Cookie and Kate. It's delicious hot or cold, eaten outside or in, and quite honestly, it's perfect throughout the year.
Though fava beans have many different names, make no mistake: They're best eaten in spring. For a chillier spring night, try out Tagliolini with Almond Pesto and Fava Beans from The Kitchn for a light take on pasta that pairs great with white wine and good conversation.
The best falafel is homemade falafel that capitalizes on pea season for an extra "meaty" recipe that's great for work lunches or a quick snack. Green Pea and Chickpea Falafel from The Kitchn does it just right.
Though technically a vegetable, rhubarb is more widely considered a fruit, which is why most people fail to understand exactly this pink, celery-lookalike. It packs a tart punch — so tart, in fact, you'd only dare to take a bite of this stalk when it's raw. Best cooked down with a fair amount of sugar, you'll often find rhubarb paired with strawberries — another spring fruit — in dessert like this Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Honey Butter Biscuits from Half-Baked Harvest.