Sprouting seeds and flowering fruit trees are signs of spring. With spring comes fresh produce. Not only fresh, but a bargain in most cases too. Brighten your plates and your palate — while getting a dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are few fruits and vegetables to look for at your local market.
- Choose odorless asparagus stalks with dry, tight tips. Thin stalks are more tender. Limp or wilted stalks are past their prime.
- Store in the refrigerator. Either wrap the ends of the stalks in wet paper towels and keep in a plastic bag or store upright in a pitcher of water.
- Grill, broil, bake or steam. Can also be added to soups, stews and casseroles. You may even like them raw.
- Choose plump artichoke heads with tightly closed leaves. They should feel heavy for size. Pull back one leaf to check heart for black blemishes.
- Keep artichokes dry to prevent mold growth. Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to one week. If unable to eat within that week, cook and freeze for later use.
- Steam, bake or boil (or grill precooked artichokes). Whole artichokes are a fun addition to a meal. Peel each petal and enjoy the white base by pulling through your front teeth. When you see a fuzzy part, this is hiding the heart — a real treat. Canned or frozen artichokes are wonderful additions to pasta dishes or dips.
- Choose loosely formed head with fresh-looking leaves. Avoid brown, wilting edges.
- Rinse and dry lettuce thoroughly with paper towels. Refrigerate in plastic bag for use within 1 week.
- Experiment with different lettuces as salads. Add to sandwiches and wraps, or use as the wrap for rice and beans, or other fillings.
- Choose shiny, firm strawberries with a bright red color. Avoid shriveled, mushy, molding, or leaky berries
- Do not wash strawberries until ready to eat. Store in refrigerator for 1-3 days.
- Enjoy as is. Add to desserts instead of sugar for sweetness and nutritional benefits. Slice and use on toast or a muffin instead of jam.
- Choose slightly firm, heavy mangos with sweet aroma. Avoid fruit with sap on skin.
- Store mangos at room temperature 1-2 days. Refrigerate mangos that you have peeled or chopped.
- Peel and eat, chop and make into fruit salsa, blend into a smoothie, or bake or make into a sorbet.
- Choose pineapples with dark green leaves that feel heavy for their size. Avoid fruit with soft or dark spots and dry-looking leaves.
- Keep whole pineapple on the counter, or refrigerate cut pineapple for 2 -3 days.
- Peel and core. Delicious as is. Grill for a new twist. Blend in a tropical drink.
What are your favorite spring fruits and vegetables? How do you eat them? What creative combinations do you put together? Please share.
May. 09, 2012