Spring has sprung and things are growing again. Finally! The first spring produce has started popping up in the shops, so the time seems right for a springtime edition of Five Foods. This is by no means an exhausted list, so maybe we'll have to do it again later in the spring when more foods have arrived!
Asparagus in the produce aisle is a sure sign of spring! Although imported asparagus tends to appear first, I love to hold out for when the local stuff appears and then eat as much of it as I can while it's still around. So delish! I love it steamed, stir-fried, grilled, baked, roasted, shaved, whatever! Asparagus is best cooked the day it's purchased, but it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days if stored correctly. I like to keep the stalks in water, or wrap the ends in a damp paper towel and store in the vegetable crisper.
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin B1, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B2, and B3. Asparagus also contains a good amount of phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, vitamin E, and manganese. All that goodness? Who cares if it makes your pee smell funny!
Recipe to try: Spring Living Lentil Bowls
I loooove me some radishes! Radishes tend to be available year-round, but are at their peak from April through July, so this is definitely radish season! They come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colours, and flavours, and I love them all! I like them sliced up in salads, sandwiches, or just chopped in half with a little sprinkle of sea salt. It's a good idea trim the leaves off before storing, as they'll draw moisture from the radishes - they'll last in the fridge for the better part of a week.
Did you know that radishes are a member of the mustard family? Not so surprising with that peppery punch! Radishes are rich in vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium and are a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, riboflavin, and calcium.
Power to the peas! These lovely little legumes are on of my favourite spring and summer eats. Fresh peas such as sugar snap peas, snow peas, and green peas are at their peak from April through July. They're low in fat, high in fiber, and are a good source of plant-based protein. I love sugar snap peas for snacking on straight up, but also love tossing any and all manner of peas (and pea shoots!) into salads and stir-fries.
Their nutritional profile differs from variety to variety, with green peas providing more B vitamins and zinc, while snow and snap peas offer more vitamin C. The high fiber content in peas is thought to be helpful in lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Recipe to try: No Noodle Pad Thai Stir Fry
Strawberries coming into season has got to be hands down the best thing about this time of year. Though the local strawberries haven't arrived here yet, I know for many of you they're already available. I find it's worth the wait for the local ones, though, and let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've tried a Swedish strawberry. They're delicate little things, though, so are best eaten pretty much as soon as you get them home, unless you're planning to process and freeze them, make jam, or make a bonkers delicious roasted strawberry cake (pictured above), which I highly recommend.
Strawberries are an excellent source of antioxidant and anti inflammatory nutrients. They are a great source of lycopene (good for your prostates, fellas) vitamin C and manganese. They are also a very good source of folate, iodine, and dietary fiber.
Recipe to try: Roasted Strawberries + Yoghurt Cake
Botanically, rhubarb is a vegetable but it tends to be treated as a fruit, despite its tart flavour. In the same family as buckwheat, this low-sugar plant is full of dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Rhubarb also contains catechin, a flavonol that may contribute to heart health, as well as polyphenols and antioxidants. It’s also rich in B-vitamin complexes such as folate, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and panthothenic acid.
Recipe to try: Wholegrain Rhubarb Muffins with Apricots and Ginger