Find inspiration and ideas for seasonal cooking for April including produce lists, tips on using up food, and simple seasonal eating recipes for meal planning.
PLUS get a free printable menu planning page to help you focus on cooking through the seasons.
This article is part of a year-long series on how to cook seasonal foods for each month as a resource for meal planning, saving money, and helping the environment.
Each month of the seasonal cooking series includes:
- What's in season for that month.
- What you may have in your freezer and pantry to use up if you preserve food.
- Favorite recipes using seasonal produce from An Oregon Cottage to help you plan to eat seasonally.
- A free printable weekly menu planner for the month with areas to record what's in season for you and what you have to use up!
You can find all the months of this seasonal eating series here.
Ahhh, April. Happily the month that more and more vegetables and fruits are available in all parts of the country.
Of course I guess I should say the vegetables and fruits that grow in our country, as the stores are full of all kinds of produce from other countries no matter what the time of year.
However, our purpose in shopping and cooking seasonally is to eat mainly what would naturally be grown in our area in any given month (or our half of the country - so citrus from California is seasonal for us here on the West Coast, Florida Citrus in the East), for economy, health, and the environment.
It's the first full month of spring and the early spring lettuces, spinach, asparagus, and rhubarb are so welcomed!
Here are tips to help you eat more seasonally and use this resource page with the free printable meal planner:
You can read the first section of this month for answers to the questions, "What is seasonal cooking," "Why is easting seasonal important" - and a big caution we need to take into account for eating "seasonally."
- Use the lists and recipes you find here for March to make a menu according to what you are harvesting/buying.
- Harvest from your own garden or visit farmer's markets for the produce you need.
- OR use the shopping lists when super market shopping, noting the sales in the produce aisle.
- Try new things that are in season.
- Add any new recipes you like and keep them in a binder to cycle through the following season.
It's easy to lose track of produce's seasonality since most are carried all year long in stores - use this resource article and the free printable weekly menu planning page to help:
Download the menu page, print it out, and use it to write down the seasonal foods you need to use and buy, as well as the recipes you'll make that week.
PRO TIP: Download every month and you'll have a custom seasonal menu binder you can refer to year after year!
Note: If you're already a subscriber, you can find this in the VIP library!
April Seasonal Eating
In addition to the spring greens, asparagus, and rhubarb that will be appearing this month, it's also time to take stock of our pantry stash and see what we can use in our meal planning for the month.
March, April, and May are the months to make a point to use up any produce from last season that you "put up" in the freezer to make room for the new season's bounty to come
Seasonal Produce for April
In Season Fruits:
- Apples (stored)
- Citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit)
- Pears (stored)
- Strawberries (end of month from California)
In Season Vegetables:
- Avocados (California starts producing this month)
- Broccoli (early)
- Cabbage (actually in season most of the year!)
- Carrots (early)
- Cauliflower (early)
- Garlic (and spring garlic)
- Spring Green Onions
- Herbs: Mint, Rosemary, Thyme
- Spring Lettuce
- Onions (stored)
- Snap Peas
- Potatoes (stored)
- Purple-sprouting broccoli
- Spring Radishes
Preserved Foods From Freezer and Pantry
- Tomato products (Roasted Tomato Sauce, Addictive Tomato Chutney, canned plain tomatoes, seasoned sauce and garden salsa)
- Frozen corn and frozen green beans
- Frozen blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
- Pickled foods: cucumbers, beans, and asparagus
- Sauces and condiments: Plum sauce, chutneys, jams, etc.
- Oil-packed dried tomatoes
- Frozen chopped sweet peppers
- Dried or frozen herbs
Seasonal Eating Recipes for April
This easy pie (you can make one large pie or individual pies in ramekins) has a cheesy crust that is as delicious as it is simple to make. It's a great way to use up any leftover ham and frozen green beans.
Quick Asparagus & Ham Cups with easy hollandaise
These quick and easy egg cups are great for either brunch or dinner. Serve with seasonal citrus for brunch and a spring green salad for dinner.
Really, these amazing cabbage wedges are good any time of the year, since cabbage is almost year around. I didn't think I cared for cooked cabbage until I tried this recipe!
Use spring baby spinach, along with freezer rotisserie chicken to make this easy frittata. It's another recipe that's just as good for dinner as it is for breakfast.
This is a lighter soup-stew that is a great spring recipe for those sort-of-still-cold days. It's also such a good way to use up any frozen roasted tomato sauce, frozen sweet peppers, or canned Rotel.
Finally, why not use some of the early rhubarb in these tender and slightly sweet muffins? With breakfast or afternoon tea, they are like a burst of springtime flavor.
What are your favorite seasonal foods of April?
Don't forget to download and print out your free seasonal meal planning page:
Looking for even more seasonal cooking ideas for April?
Check out these April dinner menu ideas for four weeks of easy entrees and sides!
This article has been updated to be more relevant and useful - it was originally published in 2012.