Move over winter squash, here comes the spring harvest! As the weather heats up, so do the fruit and vegetable offerings at your local market. Depending on what climate you live in, these goodies show up anywhere from February through May. Check out our favorites below, and some fun ideas for how to use them!
Asparagus: When harvested at their peak, these green stalks are surprisingly crisp and sweet. They also happen to be extremely nutritious, as they are high in Vitamin K, folate, and fiber. The best news? Asparagus is super simple to prepare. Simply rinse, snap off the woody ends, and they are ready to be steamed, grilled, or oven-roasted. Asparagus is a good side dish, or a tasty addition to meals like quiche, pizza, risotto, stir-fry, and casseroles.
Blueberries: These spring treats are bursting with not only sweetness, but also with nutrition. Darkly pigmented berries like blueberries, are among some of the most antioxidant-dense fruits out there. They are excellent additions to cereal, smoothies, yogurt, or all by themselves!
Fennel: This plant not only has a unique licorice-like flavor, but also a unique nutritional profile. Fennel is high in antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin and rutin, which have anti-inflammatory properties. It can be eaten raw in cold salads, grilled alongside fish or chicken, or mixed into pasta dishes.
Vidalia Onions: These sweet onions have a relatively short season that you won’t want to miss! Their high sulfur content (which is what causes those stinging eyes during prep!) is thought to reduce the symptoms of respiratory conditions, such as asthma. They are excellent additions to cold salads, as well as in casseroles, dips, and dressings.
Watercress: Don’t let these tiny greens fool you, watercress has a surprisingly spicy zing that is unlike most salad greens. It is an excellent source of nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamins A, B1 and B6, E, and K. These can be used it in salads, on sandwiches, pizza, or eggs, or in place of basil for a tangy pesto.
Avocado: This foodie-favorite is available year-round, but avocados are actually part of the spring harvest on the west coast. They are not only delicious, but also an excellent source of the heart-healthy fat oleic acid, folate, and carotenoid phytonutrients. Avocados can be sliced right onto dishes like cold salads, sandwiches, soups, and curries, used in place of creamy condiments like mayonnaise, or in place of less healthy fats in cooking & baking.
Keep your eyes out for these, and other new arrivals at your local market. Eating in-season is not only economical, but also tastier and more nutritious! For more healthy recipes using these seasonal spring fruits and vegetables, visit the Media Library.