The grass becomes greener, flowers begin to bloom, and the days get longer as we enter spring. Needless to say, we love spring, even though some people’s allergies intensify and bouts of sneezing become quite annoying. We are sorry for those of you who dislike spring, but we are not sorry for the delicious produce items that are about to be in season.
In addition to the changing weather, each season brings a variety of produce items. While year-round harvesting and shipping have made it possible to get about any produce item whenever and wherever you want it, there’s nothing like eating and buying seasonal produce. Whether you are shopping at your local farmer’s market or grocery store, seasonal produce items just taste better.
Seasonal Produce Is More Affordable
Shopping for seasonal produce can actually help you save money. Have you noticed that out of season peaches, for example, can cost over three dollars a pound as opposed to the in season price of ninety-nine cents a pound? If you don’t know what produce items are in season, head to a farmer’s market or local grocery store because they will have the best prices and selection of seasonal items.
Seasonal Produce Has More Nutrients
If you are buying produce items that aren’t in season, it typically means that they were shipped from other locations. The nutritional value starts to decrease as soon as the produce items are picked, meaning that preservation methods are put in place to ensure that they don’t ripen by the time they hit the shelves. This is why it best to buy seasonally and locally!
Spring brings a lot of delicious produce items, and we have our favorites detailed below. Try them out!
Fennel is often neglected by the masses because people aren’t sure how to use it. Loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, fennel has actually been known to benefit those with respiratory problems. Ideally, pick fennel that has a firm bulb and green leaves, which you can actually use as a dill substitute.
Strawberries have a low glycemic index and are rich in beneficial antioxidants that work to fight free radicals in the body. They are free of sodium, fat, and cholesterol and contain a lot of vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. If you want to get the freshest strawberries, head straight to a “pick your own” berry farm!
A quick honeydew announcement: avoid the ones with fuzzy surfaces and choose the ones with somewhat waxy exteriors. One serving of honeydew can provide you with 70% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C. Plus, this fruit is fat free, cholesterol-free, and incredibly low in sodium!
Containing more vitamin C than oranges and more iron that spinach, watercress has a peppery crunch and is incredibly low in calories. Recent studies have indicated that regular consumption of watercress can help cells resist free radical damage, which helps to protect against cancer. A mere four ounces of watercress packs a day’s worth of potassium as well. Overall, watercress is a powerful little green that is beneficial for the entire body.
It seems that this spring produce list has a lot of vitamin C because one cup of cauliflower provides 86% of your RDI of vitamin C. Not only does this cruciferous veggie contain cancer-fighting properties, it also has been found to regulate blood pressure and improve kidney function. Research suggests that these benefits are attrributed to the sulforaphane and curcumin in cauliflower.
Kale is actually a cousin of cauliflower because it belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family. It is loaded with iron, protein, magnesium, and vitamins C, E, and K. The fibrous leaves, sometimes green and sometimes purple, are loaded with antioxidants, which help to support the immune system. Try to remove the thick stems because they often have a bitter flavor. Sneak them in to your diet by adding them to fruit smoothies.
Mangos contain helpful enzymes that break down protein in the digestive system. The fiber content in mangos also helps to keep bowel movements regular. Having an alkaline body can also help inhibit cancer growth, and mangos contain tartaric, malic, and citric acids, all of which help maintain the body’s alkali reserves.
These little round red root vegetables have a spicy flavor, which can be extremely delicious to some and off-putting to others. One cup of radishes provides one-third of your RDI of vitamin C, but they also contain lots of B-vitamins, folate, potassium, and fiber. Preliminary research has found that the isothiocyanates in radishes may possess cancer-fighting properties. Finally, radishes contain an anti-fungal protein known as RsAPF2, which has been heavily studies for its ability to fight Candida albicans.
Mustard greens may not be everyone’s first choice, as far as green vegetables go, but they are loaded with beneficial nutrients. Mustard greens are known for their peppery flavor profile and the glucosinolates, which have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. One cup of cooked mustard mustard greens can provide you with 175% of your RDI of vitamin A, 60% of your RDI of vitamin C, and over 500% of your RDI of vitamin K. Enjoy these greens in soups, stews, salads, or stir-fries.
Carrots are not often discussed because they are available year round. During spring, however, is when the freshest and multi-colored varieties are available. Carrots are rich in carotenoid pigments, with one large carrot providing 240% of your RDI of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. This beta-carotene contributes to both heart and vision health. People who have diets that are rich in beta-carotene typically have a reduced risk of prostate, stomach, colon, and breast cancers.
Enjoy these produce items along with many more spring varieties. Let us know what your favorite spring fruit or vegetable is in the comments below.