Spring is the time for growth and renewal and a time to cleanse from the heavier foods and sedentary style of winter. During spring our bodies naturally want to eat light and refreshing foods. Many of the tender greens and produce come into season in the spring, along with the vegetables that bring flavor when cooked very quickly. During the warmer months, food is best cooked by steaming, searing, light stir fry, sauté and a quick broil. This way they retain the most nutrients and are slightly easier to digest. Eating cool foods in the warm weather and warm foods in the cold months helps to create a balance for health and well-being.
Add these 10 seasonal foods to your spring grocery list:
Arugula is a versatile salad green. It can also be found labeled as a rocket green. Arugula is a very friendly addition to those who are counting calories since a half cup serving totals just two calories. Arugula seeds have even been used as an ingredient in certain aphrodisiac concoctions which date back to the first century (Cambridge World History of Food). It's best to mix arugula with other salad greens to balance its slightly bitter, peppery flavor.
Asparagus is a perennial garden plant that is actually very easy to grow at home. One pack of seeds will continue to yield for up to 25 years. Asparagus can be found green, white or purple in color. Approximately 300 varieties of asparagus have been noted, yet only 20 are edible. Asparagus supplies immune-boosting antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. Asparagus also contains inulin, a type of carbohydrate which acts as a prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut. Asparagus has 3 grams of fiber per cup, and 4 to 5 grams of protein per cup.
Fiddleheads are the young coiled leaves of the ostrich fern. When choosing fiddleheads, look for a tight coil and only an inch or two of stem. There is a brown papery chaff that surrounds the fiddlehead on the plant. Much of this will have been removed prior to purchase. Fiddleheads are a unique way to nourish yourself with antioxidants, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as iron, fiber, vitamin A and C. They may be served warm on toast or in a salad. The flavor of fiddleheads goes well with cheeses, tomato sauce and oriental cuisine. Fiddleheads are versatile and easy to use. They have a mild taste reminiscent of asparagus with an added nutty bite all their own.
Kiwi is known as the national fruit in China. Each kiwi has 56 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Kiwis contain a good amount of vitamin C (actually more than oranges), as much potassium as a banana and a generous amount of beta-carotene. When choosing kiwi, choose fruits with no bruises or soft spots. Fruits with wrinkles or signs of exterior damage are undesirable. You can even finish ripening kiwi at home for a juicier flavor. As a precaution, keep in mind that kiwis contain a substance, called actinidin, which has a lytic effect on foods. This means that it can tenderize or spoil other foods around them such as salads and meat. Kiwi skin is edible. In New Zealand, it's very common to eat kiwi raw, with the skin still on. Kiwi skin contains high levels of disease preventing flavonoids, fiber and antioxidants.