Spring is the season of fresh starts, new beginnings, and a flavorful crop of fruits and vegetables. Eating colorfully offers more than unique flavors. In-season goodies provide nutritional benefits for health, beauty, and diet.
We’ve put together a list of our top five springtime picks of the most delicious, versatile, and colorful options this season.
This flower-like veggie made its way from the Mediterranean to California where today we produce nearly all the artichokes for the U.S.! Once boiled or steamed, the tender base of the artichoke leaves can be eaten, usually dipped in hollandaise, mayonnaise or aioli, while the tough upper part of the leaf is discarded. When the leaves are peeled away, the soft, flavorful heart—the most delicious part of the artichoke—is revealed.
Artichokes are filled with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals good for overall health and glowing skin. They also reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels, are high in fiber (this helps you stay feeling full longer) aid with digestion, and help keep blood sugars stable.
These nutrient-packed stalks are full of vitamins and minerals. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked, served plain or in fancy sauces. Asparagus is often served alongside other spring vegetables like potatoes, peas, and garlic, but make a great roasted side dish or add-in for stir-fry meals. Best-served immediately after purchase, asparagus is available in three colors—green (the most common), white, and the sweeter, more tender purple spears.
Asparagus is anti-inflammatory, helps with digestion, aids with weight management, and may even reduce the risk for cancer.
Crisp rhubarb stalks are firm and glossy. Rhubarb’s texture is similar to celery, but it’s usually served in desserts. Known for its very tart taste and bright pink stalk, rhubarb is also known for its poisonous deep green leaves—be sure only to eat the stalk! The stalks are usually stewed with sugar and spices to make jams, sauces for cakes and other sweets, and mixed with strawberries and sugar to make filling for pies, tarts, and crumbles.
Packed with fiber, rhubarb can aid weight loss and rev up the metabolism, improves digestion, boosts skin health, improves circulation, contributes to heart-health, and provides vitamins and minerals. With a list of benefits like that, we should all be adding rhubarb to our shopping carts!
Recognizable by their green stems and white bulbs, spring onions (also known as scallions) are famous for their versatility in cooking and food preparation, as well as their health properties. A sweet, mild option when compared to their closest relatives—garlic, onion, leek, and shallot— spring onions are often used as a garnish, sautéed with other vegetables, or served pickled. Their pungent flavor lends itself to salads, salsas, soups, and many Asian dishes.
Spring onions contain a number of vitamins, including beta-carotene, that contribute to healthy skin and good vision. They are naturally fat-free and low in calories, full of calcium, iron, and other nutrients. Because they are high in fiber, they are an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
You already know and love strawberries, and they’re at their peak in spring. Eat them on their own as a dessert, or toss them into salads, smoothies, and cereal.
Here’s a tasty fact: In one study, women who ate strawberries regularly were 34% less likely to have suffered a heart attack! Strawberries boast a wide range of heart-healthy benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and promoting healthy blood pressure. Because of their relatively low glycemic index, strawberries are a sweet treat for those with type 2 diabetes – strawberries can even help protect against diabetes and pre-diabetes. They’re full of fiber and, ounce for ounce, have more vitamin C than oranges.
Thank you Cali!
Fruits and vegetables like the fresh finds mentioned here are essential for healthy bodies, delicious additions to your regular diet, and affordable in-season. Thanks to Southern California’s sunny weather, you can also find these five favorites to give you a little variety. You should be able to find all of these fruits and veggies at your local farmer’s market or supermarket.
Get creative with recipes and learn new ways that you and your family can enjoy and take advantage of the many fresh spring flavors now available to you.