Spring Week: Day 3–Spring Seasonal Eating
It’s Finally Spring Week
Day 3: Spring Seasonal Eating
Today we are looking at spring veggies.
Now that it’s getting warmer, many of us begin to think about seasonal vegetables –either from the farmer’s market, from the store, or from our own gardens.
This post is going to focus on spring veggies from the farmer’s market. But, we will chat about gardening at the end…
My grandmother used to take my cousins and me to the farmer’s market down from her house whenever we visited but especially during the summer. She would buy beans and greens and other produce as well as peaches for cobbler. However. the most important thing to the kids was the watermelon! The fruit for the cobbler or pie would change depending on the season as would the veggies we would eat. I wish I had paid a little more attention to the beans and greens with what I know now.
But basically, what she was doing was eating seasonally. We didn’t call it that then.
Eating seasonally is the act of consuming fruits and vegetables that are harvested during the same time of year as consumption. For example, eating citrus during the winter and asparagus during the spring. Experts are notorious for recommending a diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season because of the many benefits associated with it.
Since the start of mass agriculture, buying produce year-round is easy and convenient. Unfortunately, this disrupts the quality of the produce, the environment, and the local economy. Therefore, eating seasonally is important and should be practiced as much as possible. Your body will thank you, too.
A Few Reasons to Eat Seasonally Year-Round
Higher nutrients and better flavor– Produce that is consumed in season is higher in nutritional value, and the food often tastes better because it was harvested closer to the time of consumption. Foods that are out of season typically need to be transported over long distances. This affects the nutrient value and flavor of the food because the time between harvest and arrival on the plate is significantly longer.
- Fewer pesticides – Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often organic meaning they are sprayed with fewer pesticides; if any at all.
- Environmental friendly – When eating seasonally, it’s best to buy produce from your local farmers market. As more produce is consumed seasonally, the demand for out-of-season produce Having less travel time between both you and the store and the store and the farm is more environmentally friendly. Less shipping time also mean better flavor and higher concentration of nutrients.
- Supports the local economy – Eating seasonally supports your local economy because you’re buying in-season produce from your local farmers market. This is great for the local farms in your area and helps keep them open.
- Meet the growers – When buying seasonally and locally, you can often meet the farmer or farmers who grew the produce. The farmer can tell you about growing and harvesting practices. You can learn a lot and it’s comforting to know exactly how your food was produced and where it came from.
- Reconnect with nature – Our bodies were meant to eat different foods as the seasons change. During the fall and winter, we crave comfort food to gain more weight and to keep us warm. During spring, we crave greens that are low in calories to help us detox and lose the weight gained during winter. Finally, in summer, we eat cool and refreshing produce to keep us cool and hydrated.
Eating seasonally also provides variety and excitement to your diet. As you continue to eat foods that are in season, you will notice plenty of health benefits as well such as clearer skin, a healthier weight, and more energy.
Next, let’s consider some of the veggies that are available during the spring.
Spring Favorites to Look for
Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it’s safe to venture out of your house and grab some fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market. Your body is probably even craving some greens, and the local market is the best place to find them.
Farmers’ markets typically provide seasonal and freshly-grown produce between spring and fall. Some areas are lucky enough to have these fruits and vegetables year-round; however, in most places, the farmer’s markets start to open around May with some fantastic produce choices.
A Few Spring Favorites to Consider:
- Artichokes — Don’t let the appearance of artichokes scare you. This vegetable is easy to cook, delicious, and full of nutrients. Adding artichokes to your diet helps lower cholesterol and aids in digestion. Simply, snip the tips off the leaves and place into a pot filled halfway with water along with some lemon juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the artichoke is tender.
- Asparagus — Asparagus is a superfood that is packed full of nutrients and is at its peak in April. This vegetable can be prepared raw, blanched, grilled, oven-roasted, boiled, and fried. The multiple ways of cooking this vegetable make it an extremely versatile choice to add to any meal. Asparagus is high in Vitamin K which is important for blood clotting.
- Cherries — Mid-to-late spring is when cherries start to arrive at farmers markets. Cherries contain high amounts of antioxidants, help reduce inflammation, and aid in digestion. They are popularly made into pies and jams.
- Spring greens — Spring greens are probably the most prominent foods to buy at the farmers’ market. Most farmers markets are filled with arugula, kale, bok choy, collard greens, dandelion greens, parsley, spinach, spring baby lettuce, Swiss chard, and pea shoots this time of year. In the next section, we will look more closely at the spring greens at the farmer’s market.
- Strawberries – The best time to buy strawberries is during the month of April. These sweet berries are the most popular item to buy at farmers markets and typically run out fast. They are full of antioxidants that help regulate inflammation and protects the skin. Make sure you get to your farmer’s markets as early as possible to get your pick!
There are a lot of great fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets during the spring. Shopping there can also be fun and more enjoyable than a traditional grocery store. You get to meet the people who grow your produce and perhaps try foods that you’ve never heard of before. All while supporting your local economy, environment, and giving your body the best nutrients possible.
Why are spring greens a seasonal favorite? Read on…
Craving Fresh Spring Greens? Why?
Winter is over which means cravings for fresh greens. Just like we change our clothes as the seasons progress, our natural cravings for food will too. Our bodies were designed to adapt to our surroundings. For example, when it starts to get cold outside, we crave heavy and warm foods, and during the hotter months, our bodies will crave cool and refreshing foods.
Springtime brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables; the majority being fresh greens.
A Few More Reasons to Crave Fresh Greens during Spring:
- ·Nutrition – Fresh greens are full of antioxidants and minerals. They offer the most nutrition than any other food. The primary vitamins include C, K, A, and folate. They are also high in iron, potassium, and fiber.
- Detox – Spring greens allows your body to detox after a winter full of comfort foods. Winter weather is hard on your body and your immune system. Detoxing helps boost your immune system and enhances your digestive system, protecting you from illnesses during warmer weather.
- Keep you cool – Greens are lightweight, low in calories, and have a high water content. They are also low in fat and sodium. All these factors work together to keep you cool during warmer weather.
- Lose weight – Greens are good for weight loss because they are low in calories, fat, and sodium. Studies have shown that greens also have nutrients that help burn fat cells. After a long winter, your body craves greens to help lose the extra weight that kept you warm.
As you can see, our bodies crave greens during spring for good reasons. They help supply nutrients that were missing during winter, help cleanse the body to prepare for warmer weather, and aid in weight loss to keep you cool. They are light and refreshing packed with the vitamins responsible for energy levels. It’s warmer now and time to get moving, enjoy mother nature, and fill up on spring greens.
With the increased interest in organic foods, vegetarian or vegan diets, and clean eating, the number of farmers’ markets has increased in many parts of the country. There’s one in my suburb of Houston that is open only on Saturday morning. However, there are so many others in town and some co-ops as well There are still some places that don’t have the same access, but it is easier in many towns.
Farmers’ markets are not the only place to get your season eating on! May people enjoy growing their own food. You can do it in your backyard but even if you live in an apartment, you can have a container garden on your patio or in your house. Even if you don’t have a large area, you’d be surprised what you can do!
The freebie for today is an e-book about Small Space Gardening. If you have ever wanted to plan your own garden and grow your own produce but thought you didn’t have enough space, this e-book can give you some guidance, so you can seasonally eat in your own yard!
Day 3 is in the books!
Loving Life–The Reboot!
This was very informative, I find it difficult to clean and prepare artichokes. The rest of what you’ve talked about I love them. It’s good to know when to expect which type of fruits and Veggies. Especially at this time when I want to try going vegan. This is helpful.
Thank you! I can’t prepare artichokes either! I am moving toward vegetarianism but I don’t think I will ever quite be vegan. I like dairy too much and while I have significantly cut down on my intake –I couldn’t drink much milk or other dairy while I was on dialysis — I still like my cheese. We are moving closer though. Congrats to you! Thank you for reading!