Spring is here! The dark cold days are getting brighter and warmer, flowers are blooming, and some of the best fruits and vegetables are at their peak. While fruits and vegetables are available to us year round, each season has its own specific group of fruits and vegetables that thrive when their season comes around.
Eating fruits and veggies while they are in season not only makes them more flavorful, but they are healthier too as they are best fresh and not processed or preserved. Each season when we come out with a new menu we make sure to include seasonal fruits and vegetables so we can provide the freshest, most flavorful dishes. Our new Spring menu incorporates a variety of colorful foods such as raspberries, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers and citrus fruits.
Below are some seasonal fruits and vegetables that you should consider including in your diet this spring;
Strawberries & Raspberries
Berries are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. Strawberries are high in vitamin C, manganese, folate, and potassium. Raspberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C as well as fiber, phosphorus, and selenium.
Berries are a great source of antioxidants, which protect your body from cell damage, disease, illness and aging. They can also benefit heart health, blood sugar control, and help decrease inflammation.
Choose strawberries that have bright color, a natural glossy shine, with fresh looking green leaves. Raspberries should be evenly colored and intact as smashed berries tend to go bad faster. Berries can be easily enjoyed on their own as a quick snack, in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, and salad.
Lemons and other citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants which can boost your immune system and reduce the risk of disease. Lemons also contain a good amount of fiber, specifically soluble fiber, which can help reduce constipation and aid in digestion.
The sour taste of lemons can compliment or add bold flavors to many different recipes when cooking and baking. Lemon wedges can add a refreshing flavor to water and teas. Lemon juice compliments seafood dishes and desserts very well and lemon zest can be added to baked goods, teas, soups, and beverages.
Choose lemons that are bright and evenly colored. They should feel firm and heavy which is a sign that they have a lot of juice.
Spinach is an extremely nutrient dense vegetable that is packed with vitamin A, C, K, folic acid, iron, and calcium. It can also promote eye health, help regulate blood pressure, and help prevent heart disease and cancer.
Spinach can be sautéed for an easy side dish, blended in smoothies, added in soups or stir frys, or used as salad greens. When choosing the best spinach leaves, make sure they are bright and evenly colored with no mushy or brown spots. Smaller leaves tend to be more tender while larger leaves tend to have a stringy texture.
Zucchini is a great source of vitamin C and vitamin A which support your immune system and vision. The skin of zucchini is also rich in antioxidants.
Zucchini is a type of summer squash that is harvested while they are still immature, making the skin tender and edible.
Zucchini can be enjoyed raw and used in salads or sliced and used in place of chips with dips. It can be grilled, mixed into soups or stews, air fried, or sautéed. Smaller Zucchini have the best flavor for most cooking while larger zucchini are best for baking or stuffing.
Bell peppers are low in calories and loaded with nutrients. They are excellent sources of vitamin A and C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. Bell peppers can be green, orange, yellow, or red. Green peppers are harvested earlier before they have a chance to turn yellow, orange or red; making red bell peppers the most nutritious because they are on the vine longer.
Bell peppers can be eaten raw with dips or in salads. They can also be cooked and added to stir frys, soups, steamed, roasted, stuffed, the possibilities are endless.
The best peppers should have a shiny firm skin with no brown or mushy spots on the surface.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables while they are in season not only yields the best flavor, but also provides you with the highest nutritional value of that fruit or vegetable. Berries, citrus fruits, spinach, zucchini, and bell peppers are some of our favorite fruits and vegetables to include in our spring dishes.
In addition to better flavor and nutrition, eating seasonal fruits and vegetables can also save money as they are generally offered at lower prices at farmers markets during their season. This spring don’t be afraid to try something new and experiment with some of these seasonal favs.