May 13, 2009

Eat Fresh – In-Season Foods for Spring

Fresh produce, finally! The refreshing flavors of spring and early summer produce make it easy to eat simply and healthfully. Here are five top picks to add to your spring family meals:

Asparagus
Fresh asparagus is tasty no matter how you prepare it - steamed, boiled or grilled. Trim hard ends from asparagus and rinse well. Before cooking, marinate the spears in balsamic vinegar, oil and salt. Or, cook plain and serve with a simple sauce of equal parts Dijon mustard and olive oil. Cook extra asparagus tonight to use in tomorrow's salad or over rice or pasta.

Radishes
Radishes are a crunchy addition to salads and afternoon snacks. Did you know you can even grill radishes? Slice the radishes, place on foil with garlic, butter, salt and pepper and seal the foil packet tightly. Grill for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Spinach
Use spinach in place of light green lettuces for a nutrient boost. Not into salads? Saute spinach for a few minutes in garlic, butter or a few bits of bacon. You can even add fresh spinach leaves to many soups and stews. During the last few minutes of cooking stir in whole or sliced spinach leaves until wilted.

Strawberries
Not much can beat the taste of fresh, in-season strawberries. Enjoy strawberries from your own garden or a locally-grown supply for the best flavor. The really fresh ones don't last long once picked, though! Rinse and slice extra strawberries and freeze before they rot and use them like you would ice cubes in smoothies.

Summer squash
The term "summer squash" includes various types of zucchini, yellow crookneck, yellow straightneck, scallop and more. Slice a mixture of summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant and onions and brush with olive oil. Grill on foil or in foil packets.

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