Spring may have officially started back in March but who are we kidding? May is really when it feels like, well, spring. The sweaters and boots get banished to the back of the closet. Tulips are out in full force and roses return. And our much loved winter cooking staples like squash, leeks and lentils disappear from our kitchens. Or they ought to!
Because with spring comes fresh new possibilities for your dinner table. Here are some versatile veggies you should be dropping in your shopping cart starting this week:
- Artichokes: A variety of thistle, the fleshy edible part of the artichoke plant called the heart which is actually its flower can be boiled, steamed, barbecued, stuffed or deep-fried. Artichokes contain a chemical called cynarin that makes water and other foods taste sweet, plus they improve liver function and raise good cholesterol. (Want to learn how to cook and eat one? Click here.)
- Chives: Actually the smallest member of the onion family, chive scapes are a wonderful seasoning for fish, potatoes and soups. Theyre easy to grow in your garden and have insect-repelling properties that help control pests. (Want to plant chives? Heres how.)
- Fiddleheads: The unfurled fronds of young ferns, fiddleheads are a popular ingredient in Indonesian cuisine, particularly gulai pakis, where theyre cooked in a rich coconut sauce, as well as in Chinese, Korean and Japanese dishes.
- Pea shoots: Also called pea sprouts, theyre the first growth of snow peas. Delicate and juicy, theyre harvested after just a few weeks and are perfectly crunchy addition to salads and stir-fries. Plus they have seven times more vitamin C than blueberries and four times more vitamin A than tomatoes. (Here are some delectable pea shoot recipes for you to try.)
Some other spring ingredients you should check out? Fava beans, kohlrabi, nettles, asparagus and mint. You can click here for more delicious spring recipe ideas and remember to share your own in our Shop Talk Blog community forum!
Did you know?
The cardoon, native to the Mediterranean, is the naturally occurring version of the artichoke. And where does the name artichoke come from? We borrowed it from the Spanish word alcachofa, which in turn derives from the Arabic al-khurshuf.