Spring is in the air! As winter comes to an end, there’s nothing more exciting than warmer weather and the return of fresh Spring produce. Rather than worrying about what you should eliminate from your diet this Spring, focus instead on the seasonal Spring veggies you should be eating.
The warmer temperatures comes a host of vibrant, fresh, nutrient-packed vegetables that are waiting to grace your kitchen table. You also can feel good about purchasing seasonal produce — they’re higher in nutrients, less expensive, and good for the community!
5 Seasonal Spring Foods to Buy!
Yes, eating asparagus does make your pee smell! But once you’re past that, there are plenty of reasons to fill your plate with more of this spring superfood. The bright-green veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, and fiber. Thanks to all these nutrients, asparagus offers some serious health perks. They are available in green, white, or purple. Asparagus is delicious pureed in creamy soups, boiled, or steamed until crisp-tender and topped with vinaigrette, roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper; or pan-seared with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
How to store
Treat asparagus like fresh flowers—store it upright in a vase or jar, roots immersed in two inches of water and tops loosely covered with an inverted ziploc bag.
These veggies are high in Antioxidants and Folic Acid, great for ladies trying to conceive. This earthy, sweet root vegetable comes in red, pink, orange, yellow, and white varieties, as well as a range of sizes. Both the root and leafy stalk are edible, making it a versatile ingredient in dishes both raw and cooked. Roasted beets are great for soups, purées, and wraps—just rinse each bulb; wrap individually in aluminum foil and oven roast for about an hour. The common garden beet’s vibrant fuchsia hue will color anything it's cooked with!
HOW TO STORE
Cut the bulbous roots from the stalk before storing; place the leaves and stalks in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper. The beet roots can be stored loose in the crisper. Do not wash either until directly before use.
3. Rainbow Carrots
Often claimed to be the perfect health food. It is crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. Rainbow carrots are a low-calorie food that also provide essential dietary fiber, making them a filling addition to any weight-management plan. Carrots are jammed with a wealth of nutrients, and medium-sized sticks are only 25 calories. Standard orange carrots contain vitamin A, and the other hued carrots are equally healthy.
Here’s a brief break-down:
- Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. This promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is essential for healthy eyes.
- Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A.
- Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
- Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
- White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.
HOW TO STORE
Remove the leaves before storing, which will draw moisture from the root; store them separately in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper. Store the carrots in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
Perhaps you overlook the radish in the grocer's produce bin or have never considered it a snack option. There are different types of radishes, but all have the same basic nutritional makeup. Filled with health benefits, the radish deserves a second look as a menu choice. Radishes are high in vitamin C, adequate levels of folic acid, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, thiamin, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and calcium, as well as anti-oxidants. They can be found in a rainbow of colors and a variety of sizes, with a flavor that ranges from mild and sweet to intensely peppery—in drier, warmer months the taste will be more intense, while in cooler months a higher water content gives them a milder flavor. Though usually eaten raw or pickled, they're also wonderful roasted—especially large, earthy daikon radishes—or sliced and sauteed in olive oil.
HOW TO STORE
Remove the tops and store radishes in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer. If you wish to keep the leaves, remove any wilted ones. Store the rest in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
While spinach is available year-round, it’s best in spring, when the vibrant green leaves are delightfully delicate and tender. Served raw in salads, spinach boasts a sweet, slightly bitter taste. But the leafy green, celebrated for its high iron and vitamin content, takes on a more complex, mildly acidic, flavor when cooked. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folic Acid, and Iron.
HOW TO STORE
Remove any damaged or wilted leaves. Store the rest in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer with the humidity set to high.
To celebrate the freshness of spring, be sure to add seasonal produce to your diet. You can’t beat the freshness of buying in season and you’ll be saving money and supporting local farmers as well.
By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN
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