,October 13, 2021
Image: R Khalil | Pexels
Spring marks the start of new life and a burst of freshness. Spring’s bounty is beginning to emerge from the soil. We look forward to lighter meals, and more fresh produce. Here are 10 spring vegetables you must get onto your plate this season.
Spring asparagus is the best in the world of produce. It is bright, crisp, and tender. It is a short season so it is important to start looking early. You want asparagus that is vibrant in colour and has tight florets, but not too seedy.
Refrain from using a knife for cutting the woody ends. Instead, hold the knife in your hands and bend it towards its base. It will snap exactly where it is needed. Keep those ends in your freezer so you can make stock. Cut the asparagus at an angle. You can either add them to salads or blanche them for about 1-2 minutes. They are ready when they turn bright green. Asparagus also loves butter and garlic. Saute the asparagus and season them generously with salt and pepper.
*Early-spring beans have a unique taste and texture. Beans must be fresh. The older they get, the more stringy they will become. Don’t throw away the smaller beans; they tend to be more sweet.
To make beans simple, heat some olive oil and add some garlic. Then, saute the beans for a few more minutes. Once they are still crispy and tender, take them out of the oven. You can also use them in salads.
Beans love goat’s and feta cheese. Saute the beans, then crumble the cheese on top.
Beetroot can be cooked raw, boiled, blanched or steamed, making it a versatile vegetable. All leaves! Use the baby leaves in salads, and the larger leaves for dips. These leaves are great for garnishes and can be baked in the oven. They are crispy and vibrant in colour. For your next homemade hamburger, grate the beetroot and cut it into small pieces. Remember that beetroot is what gives red velvet cakes their colour.
Broccoli’s beautiful tree-like appearance may make it a popular vegetable in many homes. But have you ever tried cooking with the stem? The stem can be trimmed with a vegetable peeler and chopped. Next time you make a mash with it, add it to the boiling potatoes. The stem will always take more time to cook than the leaves.
Broccoli and broccolini can be added to a classic cheese and cauliflower bake. They can also be sauteed in some garlic and tamari, or cooked quickly in a stir fry with ginger and honey.
Wellbeing Butternut pumpkin/squash
Butternut pumpkin flesh tends to be more fibrous and firm than other pumpkins. This pumpkin is great on the barbecue. Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and fibres, and cook it for eight minutes in the oven, microwave, steamer, or oven. Finally, brush it with olive oil infused with garlic and place it on a barbecue with medium heat. It’s done when it gets a little charred.
I love to roast it with cumin and coriander. It’s great steamed, or boiled with potatoes or carrots for a rustic and delicious mash.
Ginger is technically a vegetable, as it is the root of ginger plants. New-season ginger can be found in the winter months, but it is milder than ginger that was harvested in September or October. It has a delicate, thin skin and a sweet, appealing scent.
Spring Ginger can be cut into matchsticks and incorporated into a soup-style broth with Asian leafy vegetables. To add freshness and fragrance to chicken-bone broth, I always add ginger in the last few hours of cooking. You can steep it in hot water to make tea, and then let it cool down for fragrant water later on in the day. For a quick and delicious chicken marinade, combine it with lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, and ginger’s best friend, chili. It can also be used in stir-fries, soups, and marinades.
*Spring leeks are slightly thinner than their thicker, sweeter late-season siblings. It’s worth it to peel a layer of a young leek and give it a thorough clean to remove any grit. Add the leeks to a bowl, drizzle olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper. Grill them on a high-heat grill. The kiss of fire is beautiful! Cast-iron grill pans are also a great option.
*Leeks can be sauteed in butter and olive oil with a few cloves of garlic. Cut them in half lengthwise to absorb the buttery flavours. You can also make them even more delicious by placing them on an oven tray and topping with fresh thyme. Next, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the top. Then, heat under a grill to melt the cheese. Garnish with good-quality breadcrumbs, more thyme, and additional thyme.
*) Spring snow peas are a delight. They are crunchy and the green colour of their peas is bright and appealing. You can remove the thin membrane by slicing the top of the pea using a paring knife.
Peas can be used to complement any type of stir-fry or risotto sauce. For salads, leave them uncooked and slice them at a long angle. They look as delicious as they taste. These peas are great as a side dish to steak. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and fry them. Garnish with pea shoots and salt. It is fresh and delicious.
Radicchio is loved or loathed by most people. The bitterness of radicchio is often a acquired taste. It can be eaten raw, roasted, grilled, or fried. If you don’t like it, try adding some to your next salad. This is a great way to get a taste of it.
Rub the olive oil on the radicchio, season it with salt and pepper and place it on a barbecue or grill pan. Drizzle over balsamic glaze or red-wine vinaigrette. After the radicchio has been cooked, drizzle some fig reduction or glaze over it. Lemon juice can be added to give your radicchio a little more zing.
Wellbeing Zucchini flowers
The delicate zucchini flowers are delicious to eat. It’s important to be gentle when handling them. They are a short-lived flower and bloom late in the spring. You can stuff them with soft cheese, lots of fresh herbs and a mixture of flour. In hot olive oil, shallow fry them.
Freelance writer and editor in the food, beauty, travel, horticulture, and other industries.
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