While it may not be barbecue season just yet, having friends over for good drinks and even better eats is probably already on your mind. You may have friends and family over for a special occasion like a birthday, a big event like a sports final, or a weekly get-together. Whatever your reason for needing to dish out some delicious food, we’ve got you covered with tips and tricks for making the most out of April produce!

What’s in season right now?

You may look out your window at the April showers and think what produce is in season right now? What is actually growing in this weather? You’d be surprised! Spring is a time when the first fresh produce of the year begins to appear. For fruits, you can find apples and rhubarb, and for veggies, you will find beets, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, some onions, parsnips, potatoes, squash, and sweet potatoes.

While it may be a little more expensive at the grocery store, it’s great to take advantage of locally grown and in-season produce as it’s fresher and likely more delicious at this time of year.

What do I do with these foods?

Fresh produce is incredibly versatile despite what people might think. You can always stick with the traditional route of veggies for the main course and fruits for dessert. Or you can spice things up a little, like pairing fresh apples with brussel sprouts for a nice balance of sweet and bitter. Check out how we’d showcase each in-season food below:

Apples – These can be sweet or tart depending on the variety. Apples can add tartness to a cheese platter, another vegetable (like the humble brussel sprout mentioned above), or to a fresh salad with a creamy dressing. You can cook all kinds of desserts with it like the classics apple crisp and apple pie or switch things up by making homemade applesauce.

Rhubarb – A fruit that grows surprisingly early in the year. Rhubarb is tart and is often beautifully paired with other fruits to balance it out. Try a strawberry rhubarb crisp or even can some rhubarb to pour over ice cream later.

Beets – These can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Beets can be pickled as a side dish, roasted in the oven with other root vegetables, turned into a gratin with lots and lots of cheese, or blended into a spread and served on toast with feta. There are countless ways to enjoy this one!

Cabbage – A severely underrated food that is so good for you. Cabbage can be eaten raw in coleslaw or another type of salad, pan-fried with bacon and onions, or sauteed into stir fry over noodles or rice. That coleslaw could also be added onto a sandwich or into a taco.

Carrots – A vegetable that you can enjoy raw or cooked. Carrots are great in many different ways including salads, stir frys, dipped in a dressing, or sauteed in maple syrup. There are endless ways to use this vegetable. You just need to be creative!

Mushrooms – An earthy and delicious flavor comes out of these when cooked. Mushrooms can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked as an accompaniment to meats. They might also be the star of sauces or even spread on toast as a bruschetta. Just add a little butter and seasoning and they’re good to go!

Onions – You will find these in endless food dishes. Onions add tons and tons of flavor to other foods. Even if you’re not a huge fan, chopping them really fine can make all the difference in sauces, casseroles, and basically just about everything.

Parsnips – A bit more of a unique vegetable. Part of the root vegetable family, parsnips can be enjoyed roasted in the oven as a side dish, pureed with other root vegetables as a mash, or even snuck into soups and sauces for added nutrients.

Potatoes – Who doesn’t love a good potato? Delicious in every way, potatoes can be baked, roasted, mashed, boiled, sauteed, and air-fried just to name a few. Be wary when deciding on how to enjoy them since certain cooking methods take longer than others.

Squash – This vegetable is high in fiber and really good for you. Squash is good for soups, sauces, mashes, or roasted in the oven with other root vegetables. How you cook it depends on how you like the texture of it since it varies on preparation techniques.

Sweet Potatoes – A surprisingly sweet vegetable in comparison to its cousin. Try sweet potatoes baked in the oven or done in the microwave with butter and a little brown sugar. Roast them in the oven for a little crisp or puree them to go on top of a shepherd’s pie.

As you can see, there’s plenty of fruits and vegetables that are in season in April. Check out your local grocery store to see what they’re offering. Get creative with how you enjoy these deliciously healthy ingredients and invite friends and family over to share in the fun!