Integrative Nutrition Blog

Eating with the Seasons: Spring

April 25, 2018

Image via Shutterstock.

As warmer weather finally approaches, farmers’ markets will come alive with seasonal produce. Eating seasonally is beneficial for several reasons. First, eating foods produced seasonally has less impact on the environment as they typically don’t have to travel large distances. Second, since the food doesn’t have to spend days traveling on a truck, it’s often fresher and might even be slightly higher in nutrients. Seasonal produce may also be more cost-effective.

If you’re looking to eat more seasonally this spring, here are a few ways to get started!

Asparagus
Asparagus is such a welcome vegetable after a long winter and can be purchased in green, white, or even purple varieties (the purple will turn to green when heated). Try asparagus roasted with garlic and served with a squeeze of fresh lemon. A risotto or pasta featuring asparagus and greens or an asparagus tart are great for entertaining.

Fava Beans
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, may be a bit of work because each one needs to be removed from the pod, but they offer a vibrant green color, a unique flavor, and some texture. Fava beans can be used to make dips, salads, or crostini toppings, and they pair well with mint, peas, feta cheese, fennel, lemon, and garlic.

Garlic Scapes
Garlic scape season is typically brief, but since they’re one of the first types of spring produce to pop up, they’re an exciting addition to farmers’ markets. Their curly, whimsical shape is striking, and while they taste like garlic, they offer more texture and some green color to dishes. They work well in pesto; roasted and served with fish, chicken, or a grain-based dish; added to egg dishes, like frittatas; or as a great flatbread topping.

Radishes
Radishes are root veggies that come in a variety of colors, including red, white, yellow, and even black. They taste pungent, and although they’re typically served raw and thinly sliced in salads, they are also worth roasting. You can make a quick radish pickle by soaking radish slices in vinegar with a bit of sweetener and salt to keep on hand as a flavorful and eye-catching garnish.

Rhubarb
Rhubarb is another one of the first spring produce that you may see. Many farm-to-table restaurants feature rhubarb on spring menus. Rhubarb is often used in recipes for pies, tarts, and jams, but it can also be sliced thinly and utilized for savory dishes like salads and salsas or roasted and enjoyed as a side dish.

Zucchini
Zucchini, also referred to as summer squash or courgettes, is a popular staple because it can be used in so many different ways. Zoodles, or thin ribbons made from zucchini, are a popular gluten-free, low-carb substitute for pasta. Although zucchini is often cooked, it is delicious raw and can easily be used in the same ways you might use a cucumber. For a totally seasonal dish, try zoodles with fava beans, fresh leafy greens, and a garlic scape pesto!

What spring produce do you look forward to most? What are your favorite ways to prepare it? Share your tips!

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