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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.

11. KALE

Kale is grown in California, where peak season is April to July.

A cup of raw, chopped kale contains some 33 calories, 2 grams fiber, 75% Daily Value for vitamin A, 11% for folic acid, 134% vitamin C, 11% calcium, and 8% vitamin E.

Tips to try:

  • Keep kale refrigerated, and remove the stems from the leafy part (it's the leafy part that you want to cook).
  • Use kale in cooked recipes that call for spinach (such as quiche, casserole, and soups).

Now, on to those recipes.

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