The weather has not been Spring-like, but you can still find a taste of Spring in the produce aisle. Each season I look forward to new fruits and vegetables that are in limited supply other times of the year. Seasonal produce offers fresh selections at a reasonable price. The 2015 -2020 Dietary Guidelines have maintained the recommendation that half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. The Choose My Plate Food Guidance System recommends that adults consume 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables a day. In general, as Americans, we don’t eat enough vegetables. What a better way to get your veggies than with some Spring favorites including green asparagus, white asparagus, Sweet Peas, and Snow Peas or Chinese pea pods.
Asparagus – my favorite Spring veggie, reminds me of sunny warm days even if the weather outside isn’t sunny. Select tender young stalks with dry tips. Avoid limp stalks. Wrap the ends with a wet paper towel and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Fresh asparagus can be refrigerated for up to four days. Prepare in delicious ways – steam, grill, bake, in a salad, or as an accompaniment to a seasoned chicken breast or grilled fish fillet. Asparagus is a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It is also high in folate.
White asparagus has the same flavor as green asparagus. Select white asparagus the same way as you do when selecting it’s green counterpart. Select stalks that are a uniform thickness. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamin A.
Eat your peas – yes, Mom was right! Peas are good for you whether cooked or raw. These bright little green gems provide an excellent source of Vitamin C plus a good source of Vitamin A, folate, and dietary fiber. Select firm, bright green peas.
Snow Peas are also referred to as Chinese pea pods. They are frequently found in oriental cooking including stir-frys. Select Snow Peas which are shiny and have flat small peas barely visible in their pod. Unlike the Sweet Pea variety, the small peas stay in the pod when eaten. After purchase, use them as soon as possible. Store them unwashed in a perforated bag in the refrigerator for up to five days. Snow peas are an excellent source of Vitamin C plus a good source of manganese and iron.
Enjoy the green of Spring whether outside or in the produce aisle!
For additional information about what is in season check out www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. This website provides lots of information on the selection, storage, and nutrition value– plus cooking ideas for a variety of fruits and veggies.