Here’s your May seasonal eating food list with a focus on beets and carrots! Using the database from SeasonalFoodGuide.org, Bob and I created this April Seasonal Eating Food List of vegetables for the Mid-Atlantic region (agricultural zones 6 and 7) of the United States. This guide helps the seasonal cook to easily know how to prepare meals with the freshest ingredients that also have the lowest carbon footprint.
May Seasonal Eating Food List
The month of May brings many luscious and delightful foods to your garden, the farmer’s market, and your local food co-op. The soil is still cool enough to support lettuces, kale, and arugula. It is also warming enough to allow for ample harvests of beets, carrots, asparagus, early strawberries, and tasty fresh herbs!
Here’s our list of recommended fruits and veggies for your May menus. Be sure to download our May Market Planner form the Seasonal Living Resource Library to help with your shopping and menu planning!
This month we’re going to focus on beets and carrots. With basic season extension technology in your garden, you can plan for a nice harvest of beets and carrots in May. These crunchy-sweet root vegetables can be just the remedy for the leafy green fatigue that can set in for the seasonal eater by the end of April.
May Seasonal Eating: Beets
I love beets! They are tasty and beautiful! I think they are the prettiest vegetable in the garden. They come in various shades of red, some are golden, there are even striped beets! You can eat the tops, which many people do not know. The tops taste like Swiss chard, but better.
Beets have a compound in the called geosmin. It’s the same compound that gives your garden that earthy smell after a rain, and it’s what makes beets taste earthy. You either love it or hate it. This article from PBS goes into more detail about the history of beets.
From a gardener’s perspective, beets are interesting because each seed can have up to 5 embryos. This means no matter how thinly you seem to plant the seeds, beets always need to be thinned.
This is a list of some of my favorite beet varieties with recommendations for use (I am working on images and will post as they become available):
Detroit Red: this is an earthy red beet with beautiful red-veined green leaves that are very flavorful. If you like to juice, this is the beet for you. I add ginger a lemon to my beet juice and take it as a tonic in 2-ounce shots in the morning.
Bulls Blood: this rich and earthy beet has a dark red, almost purple root and tops. I find the tops of this variety grow smaller, but are much more flavorful.
Golden Beet: as described, the root of this beet is a sunny gold and the flavor is sweet and mild. I like to grow these so that they are ready for harvest around Thanksgiving. I think their bright flavor and color is just right on a winter holiday table.
Chioggia: this red and white striped beet is very mild. So mild, in fact, that I often serve it sliced uncooked in salads. When you cook this beet variety the stripes disappear and the beet turns white.
White: yes, this beet root is white and it has lovely green tops. Honestly, I did not think I would enjoy this beet and expected it to be bland. Far from it! It has a sweet-earthy flavor that is best enjoyed if the beet is grilled.
May Seasonal Eating Food List: Carrots
Like beets, there are more varieties of carrots than you might imagine! A veritable rainbow of colors and flavors. I wrote a post All Bout Carrots, so I won’t go into too much detail here. I do want to give a rundown of some varieties that will help the gardener have a nice harvest based on their soil type, though.
Carrots can break off at harvest if planted in clay soil, and get very knobby in soil too rich in nitrogen. After years of ‘learning’ here is my recommended list of carrot varieties for gardeners:
The Short and Sweet by Burpee: this carrot is bred to do well in clay soil. The flavor is nice and it harvests easily. this carrot has a more triangular shape and is generally 5-6”.
The Bolero by Johnny’s: This is a more cylindrical carrot that is very flavorful and also easy to harvest. I like the smaller size as they serve a small household better.
The Parisian from Urban Farmer: this lovely little golfball sized nugget of a carrot is sweet, and harvests sooner than regular sized carrots. Obviously, they can grow in the worst of soil as they do not grow deep. They look absolutely adorable on the plate if roasted.
Purple Haze by Johnny’s: this is a long carrot and requires a deep bed, but the color is magnificent and the flavor is good. The darker colored carrots are not so tasty raw, in my opinion, but great for ferments and roasting.
Whatever you do, stay away from the white carrots. They are tough and tasteless. I won’t even buy the rainbow carrots blends any longer because the white carrots are just a waste of space and effort.
May Seasonal Eating Food List: Other Highlights
there’s so much good food in May, and after a long winter of canned and frozen vegetables I am ready for every single bite! Here are other favorites for May Seasonal Eating:
Asparagus is one of the quintessential spring foods and plentiful in the month of May. I have grown asparagus for years but often find myself buying loads more to ferment for future uses. One of my favorite uses of fermented asparagus is as garnish for my fresh made Bloody Marys! Here’s my fermented asparagus recipe!
Oh, cabbage, how many ways do I love you!?! From all the different varieties to all the ways you soak up other flavors in a meal, versatile and beautiful, generous and reliable! You are like the bestest of best friends! Friends, you must learn how to make sauerkraut. It is like the seasonal living 101 recipe of all time. Here’s how, and the recipe is written with beginners in mind!
the only rival to my ever devoted affection for cabbage is the absolute smitten feeling I have for rhubarb! This tangy tart vegetable is good for pies, bitters, shrubs, and jellies. Here’s my rhubarb shrub recipe. Add it to sparkling water for a bright and refreshing spring pick-me-up.
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