Small farmers are delivering their early harvests to local markets as spring gets under way. Say welcome to fresh, local food at the height of its flavor and nutritional value if you’re fortunate enough to live close to one of these markets. Whether there isn’t a farmer’s market near you, see if your local grocery store carries seasonal goods from nearby farmers. Being a local customer goes a long way toward supporting companies in your neighborhood or region, and choosing to include seasonal foods into your home has fantastic health benefits.
These five foods are readily available almost everywhere throughout May and the first few weeks of June, so make sure to stock up on them this spring when you go shopping or use a reusable tote bag:
In order to benefit the most from this flavonoid-rich spring vegetable, which is readily available in markets at this time of year, take advantage of the bounty while it is still local and fresh.
A particular flavonoid known as quercetin, which is valued for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic qualities, is abundant in asparagus. In addition, asparagus is a top source of prebiotic fibre, which is good for your stomach, and one of the best sources of vegetable-based folic acid you’ll find all year. Folic acid is a crucial nutrient for expectant women. Asparagine, a special diuretic substance that helps lessen bloating brought on by excessive salt and water retention, is the cause of the odour in urine.
You undoubtedly already know that strawberries have one of the highest vitamin C concentrations of any food and are loaded with antioxidants. Whether you buy them by the pint at the farmer’s market or go on a weekend trip to a pick-your-own berry farm, there is more than enough of a cause to stock up on these luscious, red spring berries.
However, there’s another reason to purchase strawberries now as opposed to waiting until later in the season to do so. High amounts of chemical contamination are present in both the traditionally and even the industrially farmed strawberries that are sprayed with organic pesticides. The pesticide residues on the berries’ surface cannot be removed, not even by giving them a thorough wash. Also keep in mind that the usage of pesticides has a negative impact on farm workers’ health.
Because of this contamination, your best bet for obtaining the freshest and healthiest berries past their ephemeral season is to locate local farmers who cultivate their berries using good agricultural practises; then, buy tonnes and tonnes of the berries to store in your freezer for the upcoming months. Before placing the washed, dried, and preferred cut of whole or sliced strawberries into a freezer-safe bag or storage container, make sure to hull the greens. You may use these for baking, topping porridge, smoothies, and pretty much anything else where the raw texture isn’t an issue. They’ll likely last for a good six months in the freezer before the quality starts to suffer considerably.
Beets and Their Greens
For a good reason, beets are a common ingredient in juice bars. The numerous anti-inflammatory properties of the root vegetable are due to a ruby-red substance called betalain that is present in them. People with hypertension, a key risk factor for chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia, and atherosclerosis, should take great advantage of the health benefits of beets, whether consumed whole or juiced. For their therapeutic benefits, which include their ability to be an aphrodisiac, the roots have been used since ancient times.
Although roasted beets are wonderful, you should leave them raw if you want to maximise their nutritional value. They can be used grated as a sweet and crunchy element to salads. The brine transforms into a fizzy, fermented elixir, and the beets themselves become lightly pickled and can be eaten straight from the jar or frozen and added to smoothies if you’re feeling adventurous. If you’re not afraid to try something new, try making them into the simple probiotic traditional brew known as kvass.
You’ll probably find beets at the farmer’s market that still have their greens on them. Keep these instead of throwing them away! Among other nutrients, beet greens are a great source of plant-based calcium and contain almost as much vitamin E as an avocado meal. They tend to be rather sand-like, so wash them thoroughly before using. They can be sautéed in the same way as other leafy greens.
Spring green peas are excellent providers of fibre, just as all legumes and pulses. They are also a good source of plant-based, fresh protein that is reasonably priced. If you include this low-calorie, high-antioxidant vegetable in your diet, you may anticipate feeling well-satiated due to the combination of starch, fibre, and protein content. You may use them whatever you like in a vegetable stir-fry or pick up some delicate herbs and attempt this lovely green pea soup recipe.
However, there is a pleasant surprise: peas make a great cover crop for farmers, so you can enjoy them come spring. The “green manure”-like effects of legumes and pulses enable them to safely fix nitrogen in deficient soils while also enhancing the quality of other crops produced in their place. Consuming the produce that farmers need to make a living is one way to support sustainable and regenerative techniques, which is a nerdy reason to enjoy them.
Freshly picked peas are sweet, but as soon as they are plucked, the sugars start to transform into starch. When you get home, put them to use right away. The best course of action if you can’t is to quickly blanch them so they can be frozen when still at the height of their flavour.
Fresh Spring Herbs
Pay attention to the market’s plethora of herbs. Herbs with potent anti-microbial characteristics include oregano and thyme, while mint and sage offer elements that promote normal brain function. Apigenins, a type of flavonoid found in many traditional Chinese herbs, are a potent cancer-fighting substance in parsley. Beyond their broad range of health benefits, springtime herbs are just delicious in your food.
Consider making a simple and straightforward herbal tea with your excess herbs if you realise you have too many on hand and are worried you won’t have time to consume them all. A customary beverage from Ethiopia contains thyme. The traditional Moroccan evaluation, of course, contains mint. Greek mountain tea, which is said to sustain one of the world’s oldest communities, is brewed from whatever herbs are available.