Written by Jackie Stevenson, DTR
Eating fresh is undoubtedly much easier in the summer when there are gardens, farmers markets and CSAs everywhere, but you can eat fresh (and cheap) in early spring, too. As the temperatures climb in our southern states, fresh fruits and veggies come into season. As the supply increases, prices go down (Why seasonal food is better for you and the planet ). Here’s a short list of what’s in season now, and ideas for what to do with them.
Artichoke-To be honest, I never think of artichokes. I don’t think I’ve ever bought one, let alone prepared one. It’s on my to-do list. If it’s in your wheelhouse, it’s in season in California right now. I think I will try this simple roasted artichoke recipe as it utilizes more March favorites, lemon and garlic. Here is another easy crock pot recipe to try also. It you’re looking for something more substantial, try this chicken, spinach and artichoke stir fry.
Asparagus-If you grow asparagus, you know that it makes its first appearance in early spring. Although it may be a few more weeks until it pokes up, the grocery store is sure to have plenty. If you’re feeling ambitious, uncover the grill and sear up some fresh stalks. A little olive oil, garlic and pepper is all you will need. If you’re still feeling in a soup kind of mood, considering the weather outside, try this recipe.
Strawberries-These little red jewels are the epitome of spring for me. They were the first thing I could pick and eat in my old garden, and I can’t wait to re-establish a patch at my new house. This picture is from just one Saturday morning harvest of many. We’re talking early June here, but luckily we can find strawberries from warmer climates now. No, there not as good as fresh picked from the garden, but they will have to do. They make a great addition to smoothies, fruit salads, and add a little sweetness to green salads. Try this strawberry poppyseed salad dressing. If you’re feeling more creative, try this strawberry lime cheesecake stacks recipe. Yes, it’s Paleo, however the recipe is quite involved.
Spinach-This versatile veggie can be added to just about anything. I use it as a filler in several recipes including tomato-based sauces, stir fry and to break up mundane romaine lettuce in salads. I also add it to smoothies, it makes a banana berry smoothie green without changing its sweet flavor. It’s a great way to get an extra serving of veggies without even realizing it.
Turnips-I typically think of turnips around Thanksgiving and that’s it, but apparently this is their season. This recipe for roasted turnips looks delish, and includes bacon for all of you bacon fans. Apparently, they are also a good swap for potatoes as well. Click here for a rundown of all the ways turnips can replace potatoes.
Lemon and lime-nothing says spring like a fresh citrus dish. Use lemon and lime to make salad dressing, add it to chicken or fish, or simply add a few slices to your water bottle for an uplifting flavor. Want more? Try this recipe for Paleo Lemon Bars. I pinned this one myself to try.
Onions, Chives, Garlic– You wouldn’t eat these alone, they are more of a garnish. My potted chives are doing excellent right now (in CT), and I have been cutting them to use in place of onions. The freshness really pulls your tastebuds out of the cobwebs and right into spring. If you planted garlic bulbs in the fall, you may also see that sprouting up now, but the bulbs shouldn’t be pulled until the summer. Your local grocery store will have plenty available now, most likely harvested from down south.
In Connecticut, not much is in season, but the time is upon us to plant for an early spring harvest. The danger of frost does not pass until early May, but heartier veggies will do just fine right now. Keep an eye out this week for early spring planting ideas.