Co-written by: Christina Chu, CPT, a Boston University Dietetics & Communication Student.
Springtime in New England means we might FINALLY get a break from the grey and cold. We look forward all year to sunshine, blooming flowers and outdoor activities. This change in season also means more variety in produce available in the grocery store and at your local farmer’s market. Consuming in-season fruits and vegetables is beneficial, as they are not only cheaper but also more nutritious compared to their off-season counterparts1. Below are some fruits and vegetables2 to take advantage of this spring:
- Apricot: Similar to peaches and nectarines, the sight of fresh apricots are a telling sign that spring has sprung. Apricots are high in vitamin A and C, as well as belly filling fiber. Try apricots sliced in your Greek yogurt parfaits, atop salads, or raw paired with a handful of nuts as a snack.
- Broccoli: A winter staple, broccoli also makes a spring time appearance. Nutritionally, broccoli is a powerhouse, being a great source of folate, potassium, and fiber. Add raw broccoli stem shredded and atop your favorite salad or use the heads for a roasted vegetable medley.
- Collard Greens: A good source of calcium and folate, this member of the cabbage family has similar nutritional benefits to kale. Try collard greens raw as low-carb wraps, sautéed, or toss them in your next batch of soup. You can also freeze collards in the late fall for early winter smoothie supplies.
- Green Beans: You may associate this vegetable as part of your family casserole dish, but there are many healthier ways to cook green beans. High in fiber and vitamin C, try green beans sautéed with garlic, or tossed in soup. Green beans can also be bought frozen or canned for a more convenient option. I often use the frozen green beans for roasting in the winter.
- Mango: A classic tropical fruit, mangos are a must-have this spring. Great in smoothies, homemade salsas, or eaten as is, this fruit will give you a boost of vitamin A and C. Fresh mango wins over dried mango, which tend to have more added sugar.
- Pineapple: High in vitamin C and fiber, pineapple is a great addition to your stir-fries, fruit salads, or grilled as a simple dessert. If your tongue feels numb after consuming pineapple, you can thank the enzyme bromelain. To prevent this feeling, wait until the pineapple is fully ripe by selecting one with a strong aroma and gold color.
- Rhubarb: A good source of calcium and magnesium, rhubarb is often overseen. When buying rhubarb, check for a deep, red, flat stalk. When preparing, cut off the leaves and just use the stalk in recipes such as compote, smoothies, or morning oatmeal.
- Snow Peas: Originally used in Asian dishes, this vegetable has boomed in popularity recently. High in iron and manganese, snow peas are great to snack on raw, tossed in your stir-fry, or mixed into a soup.
- Strawberries: A good source of vitamin C, fiber, and folate, strawberries are a spring fruit staple to keep in your refrigerator. Store for 1-3 days unwashed and avoid any shriveled or mushy berries. Eat them raw, in your oatmeal, or beat them in a smoothie.
With these fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables, it is crucial to keep food safety in mind. Remember to wash the produce before consumption, and if any parts are damaged or spoiled, do not consume. With the warmer weather, remember to keep cold foods refrigerated and hot foods under heat to avoid microbial growth. Most importantly, enjoy the produce that are in-season!
- With spring upon us, reach for the in-season items that are less expensive and more nutritious.
- Take advantage of the spring fruits and vegetables, ranging from apricot, rhubarb, and strawberries.
- Keep food safety in mind during this warm season by washing before eating and to not use if spoiled.
: http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/food/SeasonalEating/Pages/introduction.aspx : http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-spring