Active Cookbook: 11 Simple Recipes Using Spring Produce
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Rich in folic acid, B vitamins, zinc and phosphorus, radishes add spicy, refreshing crunch to salads, sandwiches and veggie platters.
In season: Available year-round; peak season is from April to July.
How to pick: Pick plump, firm radishes that are free of cracks and spots.
How to store: Store radishes in a resealable plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Pickling vegetables is an easy way to boost flavor without adding a lot of calories or fat; this pickled radish recipe quick and delicious.
Fava Bean and Parmesan Salad
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High in protein and fiber, fava beans are rich in vitamins A and C, iron and potassium. While fresh fava beans can be enjoyed raw, most recipes call for cooked beans—which requires pod and skin removal.
In season: Peak season for fava beans is late March through early May.
How to pick: Look for strong green pods with soft fuzz. Avoid slimy brown spots.
How to store: Refrigeate for one week.
The nutty, salty bites of parmesan cheese highlight the creamy, buttery fava beans in this simple vegetarian salad.
Balsamic-Glazed Strawberry and Ricotta Crostini
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These little red powerhouses pack a powerful punch of vitamin C, manganese, fiber and potassium.
In season: Peak season from April to June.
How to pick: Look for bright red color, sweet fragrance and no soft spots.
How to store: Store in refrigerator for up to two days. Don't hull or rinse until ready to use.
Sun-ripened, just-picked organic strawberries need very little adornment to make them desirable. But when you need an elegant appetizer or light lunch, this strawberry and ricotta crostini can be your secret weapon.
Marsala Morels With Toasted Polenta
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These lacy loofah lookalikes belong to the same species as the truffle, but aren't quite as expensive. Morels contain B vitamins, vitamin D and iron.
In season: Available dried and cultivated year-round; wild in peak season from April through June.
How to pick: Choose ones with firm, spongy texture and dark color.
How to store: Store in refrigerator, preferably in a single layer covered with a damp towel, for up to three days.
Sweet and Sour Carrots
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Packed with vitamins A and K, biotin, fiber, potassium and B vitamns, carrots provide a variety of antioxidants, depending on the color. Orange carrots pack beta-carotene, yellow carrots provide lutein, and purple and red carrots are high in anthocayanins.
In season: Available year-round
How to pick: Pick those with the most vibrant color and, ideally, ones with their green tops (the leaves should look fresh) still attached
How to store: Store in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Arugula Walnut Pesto
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Arugula's peppery leaves are packed with vitamins A, C and K as well as folate. Combined with walnuts, which are rich in omega-3s, vitamin E, copper and manganese, arugula-walnut pesto is a nutritious spin on traditional basil pesto.
In season: Early spring and fall
How to pick: Leaves should be bright green and fresh without wilting
How to store: Place in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigeratr for two to three days.
Roasted Chicken and Asparagus With Creamed Leeks
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Antioxidant-rich asparagus is a great source of fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, E and K; leeks are also rich in folate and vitamin K as well as manganese and vitamin B6. These tender green vegetables combine to bring out the best in each other: The sweet, subtle onion flavor of the leeks balances the brightness and slight acidity of the asparagus.
In season: Asparagus is at its peak from February through June; leeks are available year-round.
How to pick: Choose asparagus bunches with tightly closed tips and no flowering; pick small or medium-sized leeks with fresh and green leaves
How to store: Wrap asparagus stalks with a damp paper towel and store in the crisper drawer for up to five days; store leeks lighly wrapped in plastic for up to one week in the refrigerator.
Grilled Lettuce and Artichoke Salad With Lemon and Green Garlic Vinaigrette
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Romaine lettuce is high in vitamin K and A and folate; artichokes are high in potassium, vitamin C and magnesium; and garlic is high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Step outside your salad comfort zone by adding the charred flavor of grilled lettuce, lemons and artichokes. Grilling isn't just for meat and kebabs.
In season: Artichokes are in peak season from March to May; green garlic is available in late spring and early summer.
How to pick: Look for firm, heavy, medium-sized artichokes without brown or split leaves; for green garlic, look for fresh green stalks and tight bulbs without browning.
How to store: Store fresh artichokes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for five days; keep garlic bulbs in the pantry and use the green stalks within two to three days.
Seared Scallops With Sweet Onion and Pineapple Relish
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Very high in vitamin C, pineapple also contains B vitamins, copper and manganese. According to researchers, the bromelain in this sweet, juicy fruit also has potential anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits. Caramelizing pineapple on the grill adds a smoky, complex flavor that counters the fruit's sweetness nicely.
In season: Pineapple is at its peak between March and July.
How to pick: Choose a plump pineapple that's slightly soft to the touch and h as dark, crisp leaves.
How to store: Wrap pineapple tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator, uncut, for three days. Once cut, store in an airtight container for three days.
Cherry Apricot Almond Cake
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Cherries contain an abundance of antioxidants that, according to various studies, can help lower inflammation and arthritis, lower blood sugar, possibly prevent Alzheimer's, and even help you sleep better. Musky, faintly tart apricots are bursting with beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins A and C and potassium. These stone fruits add just the right amount of sourness to a cake made with almonds, ginger and brown sugar.
In season: Sweet cherries and fresh apricots are in season from May to August.
How to pick: Look for cherries that are plump, firm and darker in color with their stems attached; choose apricots with a rich orange color and a slightly soft texture.
How to store: Keep cherries in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks; store ripened apricots in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Yogurt Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
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The flavonoids in lemon juice reportedly aid in digestion, contain anti-cancer properties, help balance pH levels and support weight loss. Packed with vitamin C and potassium, lemons brighten and intensify the flavors of other ingredients when used in recipes (just like salt does), and these lemon poppy seed muffins taste supremely fresh and spring-like.
In season: Available year-round; meyer lemons are in season from January through May.
How to pick: Choose lemons that are heavy for their size with finely grained peels and bright yellow color.
How to store: Store in at room temperature in a dark place for one week; keep in the crisper drawer for up to four weeks.