After a long winter of grey skies, white snow, and brown grass, we long for the fresh colors and tastes of spring! Our ancestors tired of stored potatoes, onions, and apples over the winter and cooked many wild greens as soon as they appeared. This added not only vital nutrients but also variety to their limited diet. While modern grocery stores sell produce from around the world and we are not quite so restricted, the price, taste, and quality of these imported foods often leave something to be desired.
In Central New York where I live (and earlier in warmer climates), the month of May brings fresh asparagus, rhubarb, spinach, and broccoli to the market. Now is the time when they will have the best value, taste and texture. No need to resist their perky, colorful allure! These vegetables are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals. For example, asparagus is high in folic acid and potassium, rhubarb is a good source of calcium, spinach is sky-high in vitamin A and provides vitamin C, and broccoli is a great source of vitamin C and good source of vitamin A.
Most vegetables are best enjoyed with limited heat and water, such as steaming and microwaving. However asparagus keeps its texture better when quickly roasted over high heat in a dry pan. Leftover vegetables (if there are any!) are great when tossed into a frittata, added to a cold salad, or stirred into soup. Enjoy each fresh vegetable frequently while it is in season and, when the next crop comes in, you will be ready for a change!
Darlene Endy, MS, RD, CDN