Spring has arrived and with it comes the beginning of a long stretch of locally grown, nutrient-dense, fresh, delicious whole foods. If you are looking to make the most of it, then here are the Top 5 Spring Vegetables to Enjoy!
Why is it Important to Eat Seasonally?
Our ancestors used to rejoice in the first signs of spring with special ceremonies to mark the arrival of fresh, nourishing foods sprouting up from the earth after many months of eating dried, cured and stored food.
We survived and thrived for hundreds of thousands of years by eating what was available to us seasonally (with some natural preservation and storing for the dormant winter months).
As we’ve moved forward into a world of domestication, with an abundance of fresh food readily available all year long, we’ve become detached from eating seasonally and instead opt for favorite foods that are readily available, any time of the year, from all over the world.
Spring Vegetables are Alive!
Vegetables are alive. After being harvested, they continue to “breathe” as they continue to consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. The rate in which they start to lose valuable nutrients varies with green leafy vegetables remaining more nutrient-dense than harvested potatoes.
That being said, by switching your eating to seasonal, local with fresh fruit and vegetables, you will be provided with many more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. You’ll also be supporting local businesses.
This spring, let’s consciously chose to eat more in tune with the seasons, and embrace, celebrate and focus on the foods that are available to us at their freshest.
Here are the 5 Top Spring Vegetables to Enjoy…
Start looking for this amazing spring vegetable through April and May. It provides over 101% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) per 1 cup serving of vitamin K, which is crucial for healthy bones. Asparagus is a versatile vegetable and can be prepared steamed, roasted or sauteed. Try to consume fresh asparagus within 48 hours of purchase to reap all the nutrient benefits and if you do need to store it, wrap the ends of the asparagus in a damp paper or cloth towel and store it in the fridge. Try this Roasted Asparagus Recipe for an easy, quick and delicious way to enjoy it.
Is sweet and crunchy and has a slight anise flavor. It is delicious eaten raw, added to salads, roasted on the BBQ or sauteed. Fennel is packed with phytonutrients which deliver a powerful punch of antioxidants in the body, helping to reduce inflammation. It is also full of vitamin C. Fresh fennel can be stored in the refrigerator crisper for up to four days. Try is raw with Paleo Ranch Dipping Sauce or brush with oil and BBQ for a few minutes.
Are members of the onion family. They are smaller in size but have six times more phytonutrients than the typical onion because they are closely related to wild onions. Shallots have strong anti-cancer properties and also help to boost the immune system. They can be eaten raw, they are delicious in salads, or cooked and added to stir-fry’s, soups or caramelized. Store shallots in a dry, cool dark place and try to use within a few days of purchasing. Fresh shallots are part of the secret that makes this The Best Kale Salad Ever!
Peppery, crunchy and slightly sweet, radishes are are great addition to spring salads. Full of vitamin C, fiber and detoxification properties, they help cleanse the blood of toxins and waste. Perfect for spring cleaning our bodies. Before storing radishes, cut off the green leaves just above the bulb, do not wash and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. This Fresh and Crunchy Cucumber and Radish Salad is perfect for using fresh radishes.
A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber and contain anti-inflammatory properties. They are only available for a short season so make sure to pick them up when you see them. They are best steamed and tossed with butter, olive oil, and vinegar. Try our family’s favorite way of eating them; Steamed Fiddleheads.
The next time you are buying groceries or at the Farmer’s market make sure to keep an eye out for the top five spring vegetables.
To follow our seasonal eating and fresh food preparation, check out Breez_Kitchen on Instagram for recipes, tips, and ideas.