Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Has Sprung! Top 5 Farmers Market Springtime Vegetables

In my area the farmers markets are just getting ready to open up which means the abundant spring harvest is in full swing and promises not to disappoint the taste buds. Spring is one of my favorite times of the year for many reasons. A more obvious reason is of course that it stops snowing and the temperatures start rising but the other reason is the promise of renewal. The earth starts to show signs of renewal through the spring plants and blooms which lay seeds of hope for a nice warm summer. The changing season not only means warmer weather but it also means fresh fruits and vegetables in plentiful supply. Here are my top 5 springtime vegetables that I look forward to every spring to eat up and enjoy to my hearts content.

Asparagus -  Asparagus is one of my favorite springtime veggies to indulge on. This wonderful green goddess is not only superb in a nutritional sense but it also tastes wonderful too! One cup of asparagus comes in at only 27 calories and is packed full of vitamins A, C and K, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, copper and manganese. Asparagus is also a great source of fiber. When buying asparagus look for bunches where the tips are tightly closed. The color should be bright and vibrant and the stalks should be nice and firm.

Salad and Cooking Greens - Springtime always yields some of the best salad and cooking greens. Springtime varieties of Spinach, Arugula, Chard, and various Lettuces are always a welcome addition to the plates of many after the cold winter season. If you are looking to add more greens into your diet, try adding a couple handfuls of spinach to your morning smoothie or add some chard to your favorite pasta recipe. There are so many different ways to cook and prepare greens that they aren't just reserved for salads anymore.

Carrots - Depending on where you live, carrots can grow year round. But for those of us in the northern states, carrots are a wonderful sign of spring. Their bright vibrant color is a welcome sight after the long white winters. Packed full of many vitamins and nutrients carrots are a must have during the spring harvest season. There is something about a freshly picked carrot, fresh from the farmers market that just can't be beat. It is crispy and sweet and just bursting with flavor.

Beets - Beets are quite the powerhouse springtime veggie. With their vibrant deep color and rustic flavor beets are a great source of potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A,B & C, folic acid, beta-carotene and much more. Beets can be roasted, boiled and even juiced. Here is a great beet juice recipe that I love to drink on occasion. Perfect Morning Beet Juice.

Radishes - Radishes are at their sweet, crunchy best during the springtime. They are a great addition to some of your favorite side dishes and salads and have quite a few health benefits. Radishes can help aid in digestion, are high in vitamin C, phosphorus, zinc and can also help keep you hydrated. Add a few radishes on top of your salad or sandwich and enjoy!

And there you have it. My 5 "must haves", fresh from the farmers market in the springtime. Nothing says springtime to me more than seeing the arrival of the farmers market and these wonderful veggies. What are some of your favorite farmers market finds in the springtime? Which one do you look forward to the most? Share in the comments below. 

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