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Have a Spring Produce Fling!

Make the best of the season's bounty with these tips and yummy recipes

5. ORANGES

In California, the peak season runs from January through June.

One orange contains 70 calories, 7 grams fiber, 130% Daily Value for vitamin C, and 6% for calcium.

Tips to try:

  • Refrigerate ripe oranges for a refreshing, chilled snack.
  • Perk up green salads by adding orange segments

6. PAPAYAS

Grown in Hawaii; the peak season is March-July.

One-half papaya has 70 calories, 2 grams fiber, 150% Daily Value for vitamin C, 8% for vitamin A, and 10% for folate.

Tips to try:

  • Let papayas ripen on the countertop.
  • Papayas are ready to eat when their peel is about 75% yellow to yellow-orange in color.
  • Add papaya to smoothies, fruit salads, green salads, chicken salads, etc.

7. WATERMELON

California's peak watermelon season is May-October; Florida's is May-June; Georgia's is in July; and Texas' is in September.

Two cups of diced watermelon has 80 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 25% Daily Value for vitamin C, and 20% for vitamin A.

Tips to try:

  • Wash watermelons in water before cutting. Once you cut a watermelon, store it in the refrigerator.
  • One indicator of ripeness is a yellowish underside where the melon touched the ground when it grew.
  • Chilled, cut watermelon is a refreshing snack. Watermelon also adds crunch to fruit salads. You can even make a watermelon freeze with watermelon, crushed ice, and a blender.

8. ARTICHOKES

Grown in California, their peak season is April and May.

Each artichoke contains 25 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 10% Daily Value for vitamin C, and 10% Daily Value for folic acid.

Tips to try:

  • Keep them refrigerated. Cut stems to 1-inch or less and snip tips off petals.
  • They're easy to microwave. Just cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the inedible, prickly inside part. Microwave with 1/4 cup water, cut side down, in a covered microwave-safe dish until tender.

9. ASPARAGUS

They're grown in California, with the peak season from April to June. They are also grown in Washington, where they're available in May and June.

Five spears contain 25 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 10% Daily Value for vitamin A, 15% for vitamin C, and 30% Daily Value for folic acid.

Tips to try:

  • Keep refrigerated. To help asparagus spears stay fresh longer, trim a little bit off the ends and stand the spears, cut end down, in an inch of water.
  • Add asparagus pieces to casseroles, egg dishes like frittata and quiche, pasta dishes, and salads.

10. EGGPLANT

Eggplant is grown in Florida, with the peak season in May and June. They're also grown in California, where peak season is September and October; and Georgia, where they're harvested in April/May and August/September.

One-fifteenth of an average eggplant has 25 calories and 3 grams of fiber.

Tips to try:

  • Store eggplant in the refrigerator.
  • Top pizza with eggplant strips, or add them to stir-fry dishes.
  • Make lower-fat Eggplant Parmesan: Coating eggplant slices in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, spray with canola cooking spray, and bake or broil until lightly browned.

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