Top 10 Fruits & Veggies for Spring
By: Brenda Thompson
Fruits and vegetables that come into season in the spring are tender and packed with flavor! And for many of us, spring also means more social gatherings, the start of youth sports season and road trips as families are anxious to get out and about after a cold winter. Preparing fresh fruits and vegetables for these activities is easy and tasty.
My Top 10 spring produce list includes the following:
Artichokes: Packing a powerful punch, this powerhouse vegetable contains many essential nutrients for a healthy body including Vitamins C and K, potassium, folate and magnesium. Not as difficult to prepare as they may seem, they do require a bit of prep time but have a delicious pay off. They can be enjoyed simply steamed and eaten plain or cooked and marinated and used in salads.
Asparagus: High in folate, an anti-inflammatory, and other vitamins this vegetable is one of my favorites of spring! The delicate stems can be prepared a variety of ways. Whether steamed, grilled or blanched, they make a great addition to any holiday plate or as great cold finger food on the go.
Broccoli: Another nutrition powerhouse full of Vitamin C and other essential nutrients, this vegetable can be prepared simply, roasting in a little olive oil and garlic is quick and easy. Or chop it up, add some sunflower seeds or toasted chopped nuts, raisins and a light dressing, and you’ve got a delicious side salad great for picnics. Try the Savory Stir-Fry and Garden Shrimp Scampi Ideal Meals® for delicious ways to incorporate broccoli into your dinner.
Lettuce: Lettuces are often available year-round in most areas, but spring is their peak season and you can taste the difference. The tender leaves are perfect for fresh salads any time or use in wraps and sandwiches to take out to the ball fields. Lettuce provides essential fiber our bodies need to stay healthy. Choose lettuce with dark leaves for the most nutritional benefit.
Mango: Low in calories, high in fiber and vitamins like C and A, this is another fruit not to miss. The trick to cutting up this fruit is to learn how to work around the seed and cut the fleshy fruit around it. We like to use mango in smoothies on the go or in quesadillas with cream cheese and chopped roasted poblano peppers—a unique blend of flavors!
Peas: The taste of fresh peas just out of the garden seems to shout spring! Their slightly sweet flavor and crunchiness are delicious. Filled with antioxidants, fresh peas can be tossed in salads, included in stir-fries or steamed and enjoyed as a side for many meals.
Pineapple: These sweet and juicy yellow fruits are enjoyed simply cut up as an after school snack or any time you need a sweet treat. When purchasing pineapple, look for green fruits that have a little orange or red on the bottom then allow it to fully ripen at home. It should be firm with no bruises or soft spot and have a sweet aroma. A fun way to serve this fruit is with other cut up fruit, threaded onto a stick for a fruit kebab!
Rhubarb: Often considered a fruit, rhubarb is actually a vegetable. Full of antioxidants it is naturally tart so is usually paired with sweet fruits like strawberries, apples or peaches, often in baked goods. Easy to grow and prepare, it’s a must-try for everyone!
Spinach: Spinach is such a versatile vegetable! Loaded with Vitamin K and high in many other vitamins plus fiber, this mild tasting green is easy to add to salads, soups or casseroles. We even like to add fresh spinach to our smoothies for an extra nutrition boost. Check out the Super Green Smoothie recipe and I promise, you probably won’t even taste it!
Strawberries: Warmer climates begin to see these red beauties popping up in gardens and markets in early spring. Enjoyed on its own, this fruit travels well. This versatile fruit is delicious in baked goods, sliced onto salads, made into jam or even as a salsa. Keep strawberries from ripening by washing only right before you’re ready to eat them.
Spring brings with it warmer weather, more sunshine and a load of delicious fruits and vegetables providing the energy we all need to enjoy fun times with family and friends.