Eating Seasonally: Spring

 
 

Spring has officially arrived and with it, a colorful, bountiful spread of fresh produce... Asparagus, chives, fennel, and watercress are just a handful of the produce and herbs available at your local farmers market and grocery store. 

While we live in a current age where most produce is available year-round, there is something to be said about eating seasonally.  For one, the produce tastes a lot better; having been harvested at the height of it's freshness.  You'll also find that it costs a lot less to eat produce that is in season verses out of season.  One of the best reasons though, for eating seasonally, is that you are offering your body a rich variety of flavors, textures, vitamins, and nutrients that you may not have had throughout the rest of the year.  

 

Spring Produce:

What's in season depends on where you live (this is a great resource for figuring it out!).  Below is a list of what is in season in Virginia, however this carries over for a number of states:

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Collard Greens
  • Fennel
  • Green Onion
  • Kale
  • Rhubarb
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mint
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard Greens
  • Nettles
  • Onions
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Radishes
 
 

Sorrel and Strawberry Spring Salad (serves 4)

Method:
Wash produce and pat dry.  Add you chopped lettuce, arugula, sorrel, and dandelion greens to a large bowl.  Add fennel, green onion, mint, watercress, and strawberries.  Mix together and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Lettuce, 2 handfuls of chopped lettuce

Arugula, 2 handfuls of chopped lettuce

Sorrel, 2 handfuls of chopped lettuce

Fennel, 1 head, diced

Green Onion, 3/4 cup, chopped

Mint, 1 handful, chopped

Watercress, 1 handful, chopped

Strawberries, 1 cup, chopped

 
 

Watercress Soup (serves 6)

Method:
Saute onions gently in butter until soft.  Add stock and potatoes, bring to a boil and skim.  Simmer until potatoes are soft, about 1/2 hour.  Add watercress and simmer another 5 minutes, no longer.

Puree soup with a blender.  Season to taste.  Ladle into heated bowls and serve.

 

*Recipe by Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions"

Ingredients:
2 medium onion, peeled and chopped

3 TBS butter

1 1/2 QT chicken stock

4 red potatoes, diced

2 large bunches watercress leaves, chopped

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

 
 

Barley with Spring Vegetables and Greens (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs of spring greens (dandelion greens, mustard greens, arugula, lettuce, and/or spinach)

2 cups of one or any combination of green peas, fava beans, sugar snaps, snow peas, and/or chopped asparagus

1 garlic clove, minced

1/3 onion, chopped

1 cup of barley

1 1/2 QT of vegetable stock

3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TSP Cumin

Salt and pepper to taste 

Method:

Bring stock to a gentle simmer in a 3 qt. pot.  Hold at a simmer.

Heat oil in a stainless steel pot; add onions, garlic and cumin, and saute until translucent.  Stir in the barley until coated with oil and toasty.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add stock to barley 1/2 cup at a time.  Allow each cup to fully absorb into barley before adding the next.  Continue stirring and adding stock until barley is al dente.  When barley is al dente, take pan off heat.

Add water to a second pot and bring to a boil, add in spring greens and blanch for 1-3 minutes.*  Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the greens to a colander and rinse them under cold water; set aside to drain.  Next, using the same boiling water, blanch the peas or fava beans for 30 seconds; snow peas, sugar snaps, or asparagus for 2 minutes.  Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a colander and rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process. 

Squeeze the excess water out of the blanched greens and chop them roughly. Chop the sugar snaps, snow peas, and/or asparagus into bite-size pieces; set aside. Place the blanched greens in a food processor and pulse into a rough purée. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and 3 TBSP olive oil; process until the purée is very smooth. Scoop the purée into a bowl and set it aside. 

Mix purée in with the barley.  Add in the sugar snaps, snow peas, and/or asparagus.

 

* Baby spinach and baby arugula need less than a minute, while mature dandelion stems will need about 3 minutes to soften.