Spring. What an awesome season. Winter has (finally) subsided, the days are getting warmer, the light stays around for longer, the birds are chirping and the magnolia trees are in full bloom. Spring is also the time when we say see-ya-later to heavy winter vegetables (we're looking at you potatoes, squash and beets) and say hello to the fresh, vibrant and healthy veggies that spring is all about. To give you a little inspiration, we're sharing our favourite six spring veggies that you should be eating now. And well, if you're not, shame on you -- they won't last long!
Asparagus is just 20 calories per eight medium spears and is fat and cholesterol free. It is an excellent source of folacin, glutathione and protein as well as thiamin and Vitamin B6. It also packed with rutin which is excellent to strengthen capillary walls. Asparagus actually trims itself in that when you snap it, it will break exactly where it should be trimmed - A little trick of nature. Asparagus should be stored standing up in water to maintain its freshness so avoid buying it if it is just in bunches or the tray is dry. Look for stalks about six to ten inches in length that are a nice crisp, green. Stalks should be firm and the tips should be closed tightly. Avoid really thick stalks or stalks that are white at the ends as these tend to be very woody and much of the stems will go to waste. Asparagus can be served in many ways from soups to salads and as the perfect accompaniment for fish, poultry and meats. It can also be prepared quickly and easily from a quick zap in the microwave to grilling. It also has a bright, distinct flavour with slightly bitter, yet pleasing undertones.
Although most well-known for the small, round, red-skinned variety, radishes actually come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors and even flavours. They can be small and round like a small nut, or they can be fairly large and tube-shaped, like a carrot. They also come in a rainbow of colours, from deep reds to pinks and purples to stark white and black. And, as a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli (a well-known nutritional powerhouse,) radishes have a host of health benefits, from helping to eliminate toxins from your body to fighting cancer and keeping you cool and hydrated all summer long. So, to celebrate this often under-appreciated veggie, we're sharing 5 reasons you should toss radishes into your meals this summer.
Rhubarb is a gorgeous plant with its ruby red to pale pink stalks and bright green leaves. It is actually a vegetable but its lovely flavour is better suited to desserts so many think of it as a fruit. Rhubarb is a source of potassium, vitamin C and calcium and is also an anti-oxidant. Rhubarb is a great plant for your garden as it is quite robust. It will come back every spring and enable you to create yummy pies, crumbles, jams and chutneys. The leaves of rhubarb are actually poisonous and should be discarded so only the stalks can be consumed. The stalks of rhubarb should be cooked before eating them.
Arugula is actually an herb and has a wonderfully peppery flavour with a hint of mustard. It is also known as rocket. The smaller the leaves, the smoother and less bitter the flavour. Arugula has to be thoroughly soaked and cleaned as it can have a lot of grit like spinach. You can eat plenty of arugula as it is just 25 calories for 100 g of fresh leaves. It is also packed with healthy nutrients including phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is also a powerful antioxidant. It also contains Vitamins A, K and C. It is great for young women who are trying to get pregnant as it is an excellent source for folic acid.
Morels are recognizable by their spongy, brain like appearance. They are a wild mushroom and are sought out by mushroom enthusiasts every spring. They grow around many species of trees including apple trees so they can often be found in apple orchards. However, because there are both poisonous and edible versions, you want to buy them at the grocers to be safe. Morels are low in calories and fat and high in iron, Vitamin D and phosphorous. Morels must be cooked before eaten as they can make you ill if you eat them raw.
Peas are an excellent source of folacin and contain Vitamins A and C, fibre and potassium. They are a measly (peasly) 70 calories for a half cup making them a wonderful snack eaten raw when they are in season. They are classically paired with mint when in season and should be eaten shelled or in the shell fresh off the vine.
Peas should be bright, deep green and the pods should be glossy. You rarely find them shelled as the pods protect them and are often delicious to eat.Peas should be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag for several days but are best eaten as fresh as possible. Peas are very versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be added to rice and stews, in salads and soups and in or out of their pods. Peas are wonderfully sweet and fresh and if you grow them in your garden can be eaten right off the vine. If you have only tried canned peas, you must try them fresh as the canned version is just awful. Frozen peas however are quite nice and can be enjoyed all year long.