An Appetite for Spring
April 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM
The start of Spring doesn’t just mean we can now justify complaining about the weather (as I did, starting March 20th). It is the exciting start to a vibrant produce season! You may have received the hint from bundled asparagus spears taking over the produce displays at your local supermarket that the season has indeed changed. Aren’t you curious to know what else will be taking the place of those winter root vegetables on your plate?
Some of the produce you will be seeing this season includes rhubarb, chives, bamboo shoots, asparagus, Chinese vegetables, lettuce, radish, and spinach. Berries will be beginning to make an appearance by the end of the season.
Why eat seasonally?
If you are eating according to season, you are probably eating locally as well. Besides the obvious benefit to the environment, if your food isn’t traveling far, you will be saving money and will get a bigger nutritional bang for your buck. You will enjoy your produce at the peak of ripeness, so your taste buds will thank you as well.
What do I do with…?
It’s low in calories, yet high in dietary fiber and vitamin C! Try this Rhubarb-Cherry Sauce on your favorite meat dish. Alternatively, experience the sweeter side of this vegetable with a Rhubarb Crisp.
This root vegetable is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, meaning it provides the same cancer-protective actions. All varieties of radishes are low in calories and high in vitamin C, and the leaves contain up to six times more vitamin C, as well as provide calcium. Try out this simple cucumber radish slaw to accompany your next meal.
A member of the lily family, these spears are surprisingly rich in protein compared to other vegetables. They are also an excellent source of potassium, vitamin K, folic acid, vitamins C and A, riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B6. Roast asparagus and drizzle with a little olive oil and salt, or steam and serve with lemon vinaigrette for a light salad. Incorporate asparagus in a variety of dishes, including pastas, stir-fry, omelets, and salads. Start with keeping it simple with oven roasted asparagus.
A general rule-of-thumb is that the darker the lettuce, the greater the nutrient content. In general, all varieties are high in vitamin K, A, C, and folic acid. Spinach is known for its alkaline producing effects on the body, as well as its high lutein content, which promotes healthy vision. Try this spinach salad with dried cherries for a gentle transition into lighter spring fare.
For more fabulous spring recipes, click here. To see what’s in season in the Puget Sound Region, visit http://www.pugetsoundfresh.org/.
Do you have questions about what's on your plate this Spring?