Why I Believe in Seasonal Eating
There’s a real beauty to eating seasonally. Imagine the feeling of having waited almost a year to finally eat a peach, or even a gorgeous, red, vine-ripened tomato. Throughout the winter, tomatoes are terrible and anemic-looking, yet people keep buying them and eating them like there’s no other produce to eat in the country. You can go ahead and eat tomatoes if they mean that much to you, but realize that they’ve probably traveled a long distance, which means they were picked while still green.
When fruits and vegetables are picked too early, they don’t get a chance to reach their potential — whether in nutrients or in taste. Compared to out-of-season imported fruit, local summer tomatoes are not only a flavor explosion, they’re also better for you. The recipes I’ve shared below use only seasonal spring produce. If you try to shop locally as much as possible, you’re also avoiding the extra costs of importing, you’re supporting your own country’s economy, you’re supporting local farmers (and, yes, you’re helping lessen pollution and reliance on Middle Eastern oil).
Use this opportunity to bring vegetables back into your diet in a wholesome and simple way. And when it comes to creating new dishes, remember: gorgeous, fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits will speak for themselves.
Which fruits and vegetables are in season in Spring?
There are five types of radishes: Red Globe, Black, Daikons, White Icicles and California Mammoth White. They are all fat free, cholesterol free, and full of vitamin C.
Also known as a Mexican potato or turnip. The flesh of jicama is 90% water and is a great source of fiber and vitamin. You can store jicama in a cool dry place and it will last for a few months. Jicama is a sweet, crunchy root vegetable that can be eaten raw, jicama is great in salads, soups and on vegetable platters. Jicama is popular in Mexican cuisine. Choose jicama that is medium-sized with dried roots. Full of vitamin C, 46 calories and 6 grams of fiber per cup, jicama has many health benefits as well.
Pineapple is great eaten fresh, added to fruit platters or salads, grilled on its own, or cut into tiny chunks with hot pepper for salsa. Peel pineapple by cutting off both tops. Stand the pineapple on a cutting board. Run your knife along the sides of the pineapple to remove peel completely. You can use a melon baller or edge of potato peeler to remove any remaining parts of the peel.
Mangos are one of the most consumed fruit in the world. They are versatile and can be served alone or in salads, desserts, appetizers, fish, chicken or meat dishes. When unripe, the amount of vitamin C increases, and when ripe the amount of vitamin A increases.
A plantain is a firmer version of a banana, but isn’t as sweet (lower sugar content). Yellow plantains are a bit sweeter, and green plantains are starchier. They are treated very similarly to potatoes and are a staple food in tropical regions. Plantains are considered a carbohydrate, but contain less carbs than yams or rice and are fat free as well. Steamed, broiled, grilled, fried and baked, plaintains are even ground into flour and happen to be gluten free.
Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable, and are sodium and cholesterol free. An avocado has only 5 grams of fat per serving, and the fat is mostly monounsaturated (the good kind of fat). 90% of the world’s avocados are produced in California. Besides for its creamy texture and awesome flavor, avocado is nutritious and provides one with healthy fats that are essential for a healthy body. Monounsaturated fat can help lower cholesterol when used in place of saturated fat, and the vitamin K, potassium, folate, vitamin C and E in avocado help lower cholesterol as well. Avocado is great in tartares, salads, soups and even used in some baking recipes. There are hundreds of varieties of avocado, some with smooth and some with bumpy skin. Test for ripeness by putting some pressure on an avocado. If it is too firm it is not ripe, but if it is too mushy it is too ripe.
Now, let's get cooking in season with salads and more.
It's the end of spaghetti squash season, but they last a long time and it pairs perfectly with the sweet pineapple flesh for a unique kugel.
One of the most refreshing salads you will ever find.
Pair plantain chips with fresh guacamole for a perfectly Spring snack.
More than just good looking, these mustard greens are sturdy and hold up well when cooked, and have a nice, sharp flavor and crunch when raw.
Combine bitter radicchio with a sweet dressing and fruits and you will have a perfect balance of flavors in this spring salad.
You can make your own egg noodles or purchase your favorite store bought variety. You can also skip noodles completely.
Pesto is the ultimate condiment to fresh roasted vegetables.
Fruit salads make an elegant, easy dessert.
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