Spring has sprung and that means it’s time to enjoy all the colorful fruits that come into season. Sure, we know that with modern technology we can eat any fruit we want all year round but there is something special about eating foods when they are in their peak season. Purchasing and eating local foods in season have numerous benefits. Seasonal foods travel much shorter distances to get to our markets. That means they are fresher and healthier when we buy them and less likely to contain preservatives and other chemicals to make them look fresher than they are. It’s easier to grow foods in their proper season so seasonal foods are more affordable. Studies have also shown that some crops contain more nutrients when grown in season. Finally, seasonal food just tastes better. They ripen naturally and taste the way nature intended. Experience for yourself just how sweet it is by enjoying the fruits of spring.

1. Apricots

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Apricots come into their peak in May. This little fruit is packed with vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene. Add sweet apricots to salsas, salads, desserts and even breakfast. It works in both sweet and savory dishes. Try this Kale Salad with Apricots and Almonds, Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberry, Apricot and Scallion, and Baked Oatmeal with Apricots. For desserts, you will be springing up and down with this Roasted Apricot Custard Pie, Apricot, Coconut and Cashew Bars, Chocolate Chip, Apricot and Orange Scones and these Apricot Energy Balls

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2. Cherries

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Even as a kid, I couldn’t wait for cherries to come into season in late spring. I just knew they were delicious then but now I know they are also high in potassium, fiber and antioxidants. Read how healthy cherries are in The Many Benefits of Cherries for Your Heart Health, Weight, and More. Cherries make a sweet, healthy snack but you might also want to add them to your smoothies like this Cacao Nibs Cherry Smoothie and these Two Amazing Cherry Smoothies. Use cherries in your baked goods like these Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, Very Cherry Donuts, Sweet Cherry Tarts, and Amaretto Cherry Strudel with Homemade Vegan Puff Pastry. Make it ala mode with a scoop of this Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream. See even more in 17 Very Cherry Recipes.

3. Grapefruit

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Grapefruit is at its peak from late winter through early summer. Many people think about eating grapefruit for breakfast but it can be used for any meal in both sweet and savory recipes. Drink your grapefruit juice in this Holiday Liver Cleanser Green Smoothie and this Green Superfood Detox Smoothie. Bake these Chocolate Chip Cookies with Grapefruit and Anise and this Grapefruit Coconut Bread with Hazelnut Frosting. For savory uses, try this Grapefruit Coriander Fennel Bites and these Grapefruit Eggplant Fries.

4. Jackfruit

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Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is getting more and more popular for its savory applications. When jackfruit is ripe, it tastes sweet but when it’s unripe, its taste is actually savory with a texture similar to meat. Jackfruit has been commonly used as a meat substitute throughout Asia for many years and now we are all jumping on the jackfruit band wagon. Read Have You Tried Cooking with Jackfruit Yet? Get Started with These Recipes. Then try making a Jackfruit Philly Cheesesteak, BBQ Jackfruit, or Jackfruit Ropa Vieja.

5. Kiwi

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On the outside, kiwis are brown and fuzzy but cut them open and they are beautiful and green with little black seeds. They are sweet and delicious and unlike most fruits, they don’t turn brown after you cut them open. They are in season from January through May. Kiwis are also very healthy and can even help you fall asleep. Find out 5 Ways to Enhance Your Meals (and Health) with Kiwi. Enjoy them in this Tropical Raspberry Kiwi Smoothie, Raw Spiced Chocolate Layered with Kiwi, Figs, and Orange and this Raw Kiwi Tart with Ginger, Mint and Coconut.

6. Lemons

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Lemons are beautiful to look at and brighten up any dish you use them in. Lemons are always available but they do have a peak season from December to May. Lemons are juiciest during that time. They work in both sweet and savory dishes, as well as in salads, salad dressings and beverages. Let this tart fruit help satisfy your sweet tooth with these Lemon Cashew Tarts, Lemon and Fig Tarts, Raw Vegan Lemon Meltaway Balls, Meyer Lemon Coconut Cream Tarts With Mint and Lavender, Rosemary Lemon Sandwich Cookies, Lemon, Coconut and Vanilla Tart and this No-Bake Lemon Tart. For savory dishes, try this Lemon Seitan with Creamy Polenta, Baked “Fish” Cakes with Lemon-Herb Mayo, and this Red Lentil Soup with Cilantro and Lemon.

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7. Limes

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Lime is another way to enhance the flavor of foods with the brightness of citrus. Limes are available year round but their peak season is May through October. Limes can be sour or sweet depending on the variety but sweet limes, which lack citric acid, are not commonly found in the United States. Pucker up for the taste of lime in desserts like this Raw-vocado Key Lime Pie, Lime Poppyseed Mini Cheesecakes, Lime Cashew Cookies, and this Fizzy Coconut, Lime and Mint Kombucha Elixir. Brighten up savory dishes like this Roasted Cauliflower with Chipotle and Lime, Magical Roasted Corn and Lime Tortilla Soup, Chili Coated Plantain Crisps with Lime Ketchup, and Cilantro, Lime and Black Bean Rice.

8. Mangoes

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Sweet, juicy mangoes are in season from January through September but are at their peak toward the end of the season. There are several types of mango: Mexican, Florida, Haitian and Brazilian. Enjoy this tropical fruit in both sweet and savory dishes. Mango works especially well to balance spicy flavors in savory dishes like these Mango Coconut Basil Wraps, Soba Noodle Salad with Avocado and Mango, Smoky Chickpea and Watercress Salad with Mango and Avocado, and The Yummiest Mango Curry You Will Ever Taste. For sweet treats, try these Green Tea and Mango Sandwiches, Raw Mango Banana Soft Serve Ice Cream, Mango Sorbet with Banana and Pineapple, Coconut + Mango Froyo Cookie Sandwiches and Spelt, Mango and Coconut Banana Bread.

9. Pineapple

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Everyone knows a pineapple when they see one. While this fruit is native to South America, Hawaii is the leading producer of pineapples. The peak growing season is from March to July. This fruit is high in vitamin C and manganese so it is as healthy as it is delicious. You can try to grow your own or you can just buy one and use it in dishes both savory and sweet. Try this refreshing Pineapple Sorbet, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and cool Pineapple-Basil Pops. Brighten up savory dishes like this Pineapple Fried Quinoa, Pineapple Guacamole, Pineapple and Peanut Stir-Fry, Pineapple Island Vegan Kebabs, and Sweet and Sour Cauliflower.

10. Strawberries

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You can buy strawberries year-round but they are in their peak season from April through June. They are mostly grown in California and Florida. Strawberries are sweet, juicy and very healthy with lots of vitamin C and fiber. Drink your strawberries in this Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie, Decadent Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie, and this Chia Strawberry Smoothie. You’ll love the mix of strawberries and chocolate in dishes like these Raw Strawberry Crème Chocolate Truffles and these Raw Superfood Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. Start your day with Strawberry Pecan French Toast and end it with Strawberry Chocolate Vegan Cheesecake. For more recipes, see 27 Fresh and Juicy Strawberry Recipes.

Spring is a season of renewal and rebirth. Beautiful, colorful fruit comes into season and makes us want to eat better, fresher and lighter. Enjoying the bounty of these fresh fruits will make it the sweetest season ever.

Lead Image Source: Tropical Raspberry Kiwi Smoothie