Stay Trim & Cool with Spring’s “Hot” Vegetables
One of the simplest ways to maintain a healthy and clean diet is to eat vegetables. With every meal! However, to truly maximize the nutritional value in your produce it’s important to consume what is in season. When it’s freshest, it’s grown locally with little to no time between being plucked from the ground or a tree to it’s temporary home on a local grocery store shelf. Eating seasonally and locally encourages the economy of regional farmers, small-batch purveyors and independently owned businesses (no, not Jamba Juice) and you, the consumer, get to eat the freshest food possible at the most reasonable price.
For example, asparagus is in season in the US only from April through early June. During this time the vegetable is at its peak of beauty; bright green in color with some purple. The tips are tightly closed and with firm, round, smooth stalks. It is also richest in nutritional value, boasting potassium, fiber and vitamins A, C, B6, B9 among others. Asparagus traveling from Peru in December will not be premium due to moisture loss and degradation of nutrients during its time in transit.
Find farmers markets in your area and experiment with new vegetables. Once you become proficient and creative with vegetable cookery you will become addicted! Climate dictates everything so utilize whatever Mother Nature provides in your area and keep in mind , for example, that what’s in season in California at any given time may not be in season in New York. Lastly, produce transcends all ethnicities so don’t be shy to add your latin twist.
Spring is short so get your hands on these vegetables while you can!
Artichokes – high in fiber, vitamin C and folic acid
Asparagus – vitamins K, C, E, B complexes, fiber, phosphorus, foliate, copper
Dandelion Greens – high in vitamin K, A, C, B6, riboflavin, calcium, and iron
English Peas – high in antioxidants, contains anti-inflammatory benefits, high in fiber, vitamin k and manganese
Fava beans – high in thiamin, vitamin K, fiber, B-6, potassium, copper, zinc
Fiddleheads – potassium, vitamins A &C, omega 3 and fiber
Green Garlic and Garlic Scapes – calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamins C and B-6 and manganese
Meyer Lemons – vitamin C
Morels – high in vitamin D, iron and B vitamins
Nettles – similar in flavor to spinach, high in vitamins A &C, iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, fiber and protein
Ramps – also known as wild leeks, high in vitamins A and C, chromium and selenium
Rhubarb – vitamins A, K and B complexes, iron, copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus
Spring Onions – high in vitamin C, K and B complexes, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin
Sugar Snap Peas – a hybrid of green peas and snow peas, high in fiber and vitamin C