Most chefs agree that spring is the season they most look forward to. Winter embraces root vegetables, hearty stews, and dense plates to warm the body. With warmer weather and the scent of blooming flowers in the air, springtime signals lighter, brighter, and more colorful fruits and vegetables.
Buying and cooking with seasonal produce ensures that your food offers the most flavor and freshness. If you buy seasonal produce from local grocery stores or farmer’s markets in your area, then you support the community. The great thing about conversing with farmers is that you can ask them about seasonal items you aren’t familiar with. They may give you helpful tips that lead to flavorful creations in your kitchen.
Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables is a great way to increase your nutritional intake. The transportation time and distance is much less, so the produce items don’t lose as many nutrients. Plucked from the plant and straight to the farmer’s market they go! Additionally, you add more variety to your diet by adjusting your grocery list to the season. You may even save money because you’re eating produce at its peak availability. Let’s explore some of the best fruits and vegetables to eat during spring.
Say hello to the onion’s sweeter, milder cousin: the mighty leek. Leeks are powerful sources of essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K, and folate. They exhibit quercetin, an anti-inflammatory compound that promotes a healthy heart. You can braise or sauté leeks or incorporate them into stews, soups, stir-fries, and more. Some people even blend them into salad dressings!
Strawberries exhibit an impressive nutritional profile, boasting lots of folate, manganese, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. One cup of strawberries provides 149% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C. The anthocyanins give strawberries their beautiful red hue, and these antioxidants help reduce free radical damage. Strawberries may also assist with blood sugar regulation during meals, which researchers attribute to their polyphenols. Eat them fresh, add them to smoothies, or throw them into desserts.
Mustard greens are the leaves from the mustard plant, which originated in the Himalayas over 5,000 years ago. They are rich in glucosinolates, compounds that exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. One cup of cooked mustard greens offers 500% of your RDI of vitamin K, and 175% of your RDI of vitamin A, and 60% of your RDI of vitamin C. They also contain fiber, folate, manganese, calcium, and potassium. Enjoy them in salads, soups, stir-fries, or even smoothies if you love green concoctions.
Many people see mangos year round, so it may not seem like they have a season. During the spring, however, you’ll find the freshest and juiciest varieties. Their season lasts from March through June, and they tend to be popular in sorbets, salsas, smoothies, and fruit salads. Rich in folate, fiber, copper, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and more, there’s no reason not to eat mangos during the spring.
These beautiful green spears may make your pee smell, but they are some of the most nutritionally-dense things you can eat. One-half cup of cooked asparagus offers two-thirds of the RDI of vitamin K and one-third of your RDI of folate. Asparagus also offers lots of dietary fiber, B vitamins, vitamins A & C, and it even exhibits anti-cancer properties. You can roast, grill, sauté, steam, and puree asparagus, so that means that there’s no shortage of recipes!
Fava beans are an ancient pea variety with a distinct nutty flavor and buttery texture. They exhibit an impressive amount of fiber, but they also contain folate, manganese, thiamine, copper, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Fresh fava beans require more preparation, as you have to shuck and peel them. Once you tackle that step, you can cook them and add them to salads, soups, risottos, or blend them into a puree.
These beautiful red golf ball-looking cruciferous veggies have a spicy flavor that some people find off-putting. Others, however, find them incredibly addictive and love to add them to salads, tacos, and root vegetable purees. One cup of radishes supplies you with one-third of your RDI of vitamin C, but they also offer fiber, folate, potassium, and B vitamins. Radishes contain isothiocyanates, which have been studied for cancer prevention. They also contain an anti-fungal protein called RsAPF2, which may be effective at treating Candida albicans.