Spring officially arrived this past Monday and while the temperatures might still feel like Winter, a new season is sprouting up all around us! It’s the time of year when nature comes alive, the days get longer, and the fresh produce starts flooding the farmers' markets. With so many colorful veggies and fruits to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. If you're looking to up your nutrition game this Spring season, you're in luck.
In this guide, I’m bringing you the top 10 must-have spring produce items that you need in your diet now. From asparagus to apricots, you'll learn about each item's unique health benefits, how to select and store them, and easy ways to incorporate them into your meals. And if you’re wondering about the benefits of seasonal eating, check out my past blog post that discusses the topic of seasonal eating.
So grab a basket and let's dive into the vibrant world of spring produce!
One vegetable that symbolizes the arrival of spring is asparagus. These green stalks are not only a sign of the season, but they are also packed with essential nutrients. Asparagus is an excellent source of folate, vitamin K, and antioxidants. Its high fiber content makes it a great addition to any weekly recipe plan.
When selecting asparagus, look for thin, bright-green stalks with tightly closed tips. To store, wrap the ends in a damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag in the fridge. Asparagus can be eaten raw, roasted, grilled or steamed. It pairs well with vinaigrettes or hollandaise sauce. Try adding it to your omelets, salads, or as a side dish for grilled proteins.
Now that we've covered asparagus, let's explore the sweet and delicate world of peas. These tiny green vegetables may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of spring produce, but they are packed with nutrients that make them a valuable addition to your diet. Peas are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber. They also contain a compound called coumestrol, which has been linked to a decreased risk of certain cancers.
When selecting peas, look for firm, plump pods with a bright green color. To store, keep them in the fridge in a perforated plastic bag. Peas are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. Add them to salads, soups, or stir-fries, or simply enjoy them as a side dish. I also love to throw them in pasta dishes for a bright spring dish like my grandma used to do!
Rhubarb is a vegetable that belongs to the same family as sorrel and buckwheat. Its unique tartness makes it a perfect addition to desserts and savory dishes alike. Rhubarb is also an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and calcium.
When selecting rhubarb, look for bright red stalks that are firm and crisp. To store, wrap the stalks in a damp paper towel and keep them in the fridge for up to a week. Rhubarb can be used in a variety of dishes, from classic pies to savory sauces for meat dishes. Its tartness also pairs well with other spring produce, such as strawberries and cherries.
The crisp and peppery flavor of radishes make them a refreshing addition to any spring dish. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, from the classic small red radish to the larger daikon radish. Radishes are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, making them a great choice for those looking to maintain a healthy diet.
When selecting radishes, choose those with a firm texture and bright colors. Don't forget to save the leaves as they are also edible and have a slightly bitter taste that pairs well with other greens in salads.
Radishes are incredibly versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. For a simple side dish, slice them thinly and sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. They also add a nice crunch to sandwiches or tacos. Try roasting them with other spring vegetables like carrots and asparagus for a delicious and colorful side. Radishes are a great addition to any spring dish and pair well with the following produce item: Spinach.
Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin A, and iron. It's also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to soups to pasta dishes.
When selecting spinach, look for bright green leaves that are firm and tender. Avoid those that are yellow or wilted. To store, wrap the spinach in a damp paper towel and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. Incorporating spinach into your meals is easy.
Add it to your morning smoothie or omelet for a nutrient-packed breakfast. Use it as a base for salads and top with your favorite toppings like strawberries, feta cheese, and walnuts. Experiment with using it as a substitute for basil in pesto sauce for a healthier version of the classic dish. Spinach is a must-have in any spring produce list. Next up, let's explore another nutritious leafy green that is also a staple in spring: arugula.,
This peppery and slightly bitter green is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium. Arugula is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to sandwiches to pizzas.
When selecting Arugula, look for crisp greens that are not wilted or starting to yellow. To store, wrap the arugula in a damp paper towel and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
Incorporating arugula into your diet is easy, too. Simply add a handful of leaves to your favorite salad or use it as a bed for grilled chicken or salmon. You can also use arugula as a topping for your favorite pizza, along with prosciutto, shaved Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil.
To add some extra flavor, consider pairing arugula with other spring produce items, such as turnips and asparagus. These vegetables complement the peppery taste of arugula and create a delicious and nutritious dish.
Turnips are a root vegetable that are often overlooked, but they shouldn't be! They are packed with vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, making them a nutritious choice. They have a slightly sweet yet earthy flavor. Turnips are also versatile and can be enjoyed cooked or raw in a variety of dishes.
One great way to enjoy turnips is to roast them in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. The roasting process brings out their natural sweetness and makes them tender and caramelized. They can also be sliced thinly and eaten raw in salads or as a crunchy addition to sandwiches.
Incorporating turnips into your spring diet is a great way to add some variety and flavor to your meals.
Kale may seem like a trendy vegetable, but it is a spring produce item that is both delicious and nutritious. This leafy green is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and iron. Not only that, but kale also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
One easy way to incorporate kale into your diet is by making a hearty salad with a combination of kale, mixed greens, and other spring produce items like strawberries and asparagus. Another option is to sauté kale with garlic and olive oil for a simple yet flavorful side dish.
While kale may be the most popular spring vegetable, we cannot forget about the carrot. These orange root vegetables are a great source of beta-carotene, which is essential for good eyesight and a healthy immune system. Carrots are also high in fiber, making them a filling and nutritious option for any meal.
A simple way to prepare carrots is to roast them with olive oil, salt, and pepper until caramelized and tender. Or, grate them into a salad for a satisfying crunch. For a more unique twist, try making carrot top pesto using the leafy greens on top of the carrots.
Apricots are a sweet and juicy fruit that are in season during the spring months. Not only do they taste delicious, but they are also packed with nutrients such as vitamin A and potassium. Apricots are also a great source of fiber, which can aid in digestion and help you feel fuller for longer.
There are many ways to enjoy apricots. You can eat them fresh as a snack, add them to salads for a sweet and tangy twist, or even grill them for a warm and caramelized dessert. Apricots also make a great addition to baked goods such as muffins, scones, and cakes.
When selecting apricots, look for fruits that are plump, firm, and fragrant. They should be slightly soft to the touch but not mushy. If you're not planning on using them right away, store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.
Incorporating apricots into your diet is a great way to add variety and nutrition to your meals. So the next time you're at the grocery store, be sure to pick up some of these delicious fruits.
As we welcome the arrival of spring, we are also greeted with an abundance of fresh and nutritious produce. This guide has highlighted the top 10 must-have items that should be on your grocery list this season, including asparagus, kale, and apricots. By incorporating these spring produce items into your meals, you can easily elevate your nutrition game and enjoy the delicious flavors of the season.
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So next time you're at the grocery store, be sure to pick up some of these items and get creative in the kitchen!
Wishing you health and wellness,