all the produce you need for amazing SpringTime meals
For the past few weeks, the weather has been incredibly unseasonable. Sometimes, it’s really hot like summer. Other times, it starts to feel like a crisp fall day. The past few days have finally started to feel like real spring days. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love having 80º temperatures, but it’s the cold, raw and rainy days that I absolutely loathe. I guess that is the nature of spring though – slightly unpredictable.
One good thing about spring is that warmer temperatures means tons and tons of more fresh produce. One of the many reasons I hate winter is because it’s nearly impossible to get fresh produce. Since I am a vegetarian, I, obviously, rely on fresh produce for a good portion of my meals. I’ve noticed my meals definitely taste better when I use fresh produce. I can barely wait for farmers’ markets to begin again. (I’ve been waiting anxiously for them since they ended mid-fall.)
Here are some produce options that are in season right now!
A mango is definitely one of my go-to spring/summer fruit options. The peak of their growing season is about April-June. They are extremely high in vitamin C and have quite a bit of vitamin A in them. This means mangoes are very high in antioxidants, as well. Mangoes grow in warmer climates closer to the equator, so the chances of finding them at your local farmers’ market aren’t that high. At least you know that the mangoes you buy at your local grocery store are extremely fresh and at their ripest. (I’ve bought some unripe mangoes before. They’re more tart and have a harder texture. Not exactly what I was looking for…)
ProTip: Learn how to properly cut a mango here.
How to eat them
Mangoes are great because you can eat them cooked or raw.
- Try them in a fruit salad for breakfast.
- Add a few small mango chunks into your favorite salsa recipe.
- Throw them on the grill and top with ice cream for a fun springtime dessert.
Asparagus is one of those vegetables, like broccoli or brussels sprouts, that some people like and others absolutely hate. I fall somewhere in the middle. I think I have to be in the mood for asparagus. Regardless, asparagus is in the peak of its season right now (its season ends in June). Asparagus, believe it or not, is actually good for your brain. It has folic acid that works with B12 to help your cognition. It is also a really good source of fiber. Even though asparagus isn’t always for everyone, give it a little try at least once.
How to eat it:
- Throw it on the grill and make it a side dish to your meal.
- Put it into a risotto.
- If you’re really afraid of asparagus, try it in a creamy soup.
One of my favorite things about spring and summer is that avocados are in season! Avocados are definitely one of my favorite fruits (I Googled it. It is considered a fruit.) Avocados are one source of the good type of fat. They are a heart healthy food that can help regulate cholesterol. They are also an excellent source of vitamin K, a vitamin that promotes bone health. Not to mention, avocados are absolutely delicious and can go with almost any meal. Again, avocados are typically grown in warmer climates. The avocado growing season in California goes from February to September. That means the avocados you find at the grocery store didn’t have too far too travel.
ProTip: Learn how to know how to buy a ripe avocado here.
How to eat them:
- Put a twist on your typical pesto recipe and make a creamy avocado pesto.
- Try them in one of these desserts.
- Slice them up and place them on top of your favorite chili.
I feel like peas are such a simple vegetable. They can work with virtually any dish. They have a lighter taste to them, so it baffles me when someone says they don’t like peas. This is the prime pea season, right now in May. Peas are high in fiber. They have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help prevent things like cancer and heart disease. They are also extremely high in vitamin K, which can help build strong bones. They may be a simple vegetable, but they are powerful!
How to eat them:
- I throw them into almost all of my pasta dishes.
- Put them in a spring couscous salad.
- Create your own pea fritters.
Enter, Popeye the Sailer Man. Spinach was my go-to leafy green for a while. Then, I discovered kale and kind of forgot about it. I have recently rediscovered spinach and am wondering why I ever forgot about it in the first place. Spinach is high in a number of vitamins that are important for things like skin and bone health. It is also notoriously famous for being high in iron. Spinach’s season runs from spring into summer. You have months to fill up on this leafy green and all the benefits it has to offer.
How to eat it:
I don’t care what anyone else says – I absolutely love my fruits and vegetables. I really can’t understand how someone can’t like vegetables. I’m so excited for the warmer weather to come my way, so I can have fresher produce all the time. That’s definitely one of the little things in life that makes me happy! If fresh fruits and veggies don’t give you as much happiness as they give me, I definitely hope another little part of life does.
Eat up, my Dolls!
Does the start of summer break have you missing your friends from last semester? Read “Real Talk: Saying Goodbye.”