Spring Vegetable Recipes and Tips
Fresh seasonal veggies are one more reason to celebrate spring.
Each year when spring just seems to pop up out of nowhere, I'm reminded of
the power that the weather and our surroundings have on a person's outlook.
Seeing the hills blanketed with lush, green grass and the trees in bloom, walking outside without a jacket for the first time in
months, feeling the sun shine on your face -- well, it just makes a person feel
happier and healthier. And, as if spring weather weren't thrilling enough, the
produce department begins to display a bounty of luscious spring
The "same old, same old" veggies that saw us through winter are
ready to be retired from the dinner table. I start looking forward to serving
artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, sweet corn, fresh spinach, crisp green beans,
and Swiss chard.
Here's how to buy those spring veggies, store them, and cook them, along
with three new spring vegetable recipes to try.
Each cup of fresh asparagus gives you 3 grams of fiber and a cornucopia of
antioxidants, such as vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, and folate. And you
get all this for only 27 calories.
- To buy: Look for odorless stalks with dry, tight tips. Avoid stalks that
are limp or discolored.
- To store: Wrap ends of stalks with a wet paper towel and place in plastic
bag. Refrigerate up to four days.
- To cook: Asparagus is best when it is isn't overcooked and still maintains
a bright green color and just-tender texture. You can cook it by stir-frying,
steaming, or microwaving until just tender (about 5 minutes but my favorite way
to cook asparagus is on the grill or in the broiler. Just lightly brush with
olive oil before throwing them on the grill or in the oven. It takes 6-8
minutes under the broiler.
An artichoke makes you work for its 10 grams of fiber and 63
calories! You pull, dip, and scrape each leaf on a cooked artichoke.
Then, with your top teeth, you scrape the flesh from the leaf. It takes about
10 minutes to properly eat an artichoke (I actually timed myself). Each medium
globe artichoke also gives you 9 milligrams of vitamin C and 107 micrograms of
- To buy: Look for plump artichokes that feel heavy for their size
with tightly closed leaves. If possible, pull back one of the outer leaves to
check that the insides don't have black spots.
- To store: Refrigerate artichokes, unwashed, in a plastic produce bag for up
to a week. Keep dry to prevent mold.
- To cook: Wash in cold water and cut off stem at base. If desired, you can
trim off the thorns by cutting 1/2 inch off the tip of each outer leaf.
Artichoke are commonly boiled until tender, but also can be cut in half
lengthwise and cooked fairly quickly with some water (1/8 cup per choke) in the