Spring foods in season

Now that we find ourselves in the middle of spring (hard to believe since spring break has just come and gone!), it is an excellent time to share some yummy and healthful foods you can find in the spring months. Here are a few!

Artichokes

I’m sure at least a few saw the picture and thought “what exactly is that mythical beast?” In truth, that is an artichoke plant. The tender artichoke flowers can also be consumed, but it is the scaly bud of the plant we all know and love. You’ll love it even more when you see that they are also rich in fiber, thiamin, and vitamins A and C, and probably also when you try delicious garlic artichokes.

Arugula

Arugula, also commonly called “rocket salad”, offers a rather spicy kick to any salad. It is available year-round but at its best in the cool early spring months, and offers generous amounts of folate and vitamins A, C, and K. Those pretty flowers you see above? Those are also edible. You might have luck finding those at a local farmer’s market, and if you do, please do make a bacon arugula blossom salad and let me know how it is! (if I don’t try it first, that is…)

Fava beans

Favas are generally at peak between March and May, and offer much in the way of protein, B vitamins, and several minerals. Fava beans are fairly easy to cook up, especially when prepared fresh, and are great sautéed.

Purslane

You have likely never even heard of it, but purslane is an intriguing plant that has been in use as far back as ancient Greece. Purslane is also technically a weed, so cultures disagree on whether to burn it or eat it! However, if you break down and try it you’ll find that purslane is actually a great leafy green similar in taste to spinach and rich in many of the same vitamins and minerals. Best of all: purslane has more omega-3 than any other plant food. 

Go ahead and try some in this delicious purslane pesto recipe.

Rhubarb

CAUTION: These leaves are poisonous!

Rhubarb is often thought of as a fruit, cooked like a fruit, and is even legally considered a fruit in New York, but is actually a vegetable that looks almost exactly like celery. Because the stalks are so bitter, rhubarb is usually prepared with ungodly amounts of sugar (like in good old rhubarb pie). Here are a few healthier recipes, both sweet and savory, that will allow you to enjoy the great taste and antioxidants that these red stalks offer without the sugar crash (just don’t include the leaves: they contain oxalic acid and other poisons).

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