Better hurry, these spring veggies are at their peak.
When it comes to seasonal veggies, some—like pumpkins in the fall and watermelon in the summer—get more street cred than others. Sure, springtime may be famous for April showers and May flowers, but the vernal equinox brings so much more than rain and beautiful blooms. Here are four superfood veggies that hit their peak in the spring—plus, pro vegetable prepping tips for easier cooking (and eating).
1. Rhubarb stalks. Tart. Crunchy. Super healthy. Rhubarb stalks are colorful, low in calories, and high in fiber and calcium. The darker the stalks, the sweeter the taste. Blend them up into a sauce, bake ‘em in a pie or try this recipe for rhubarb cherry crumble.
Pro tip: Do NOT eat the leaves; they’re toxic.
2. Asparagus. Sure, asparagus may make your pee smell, but it’s worth it. Folklore says these spears are medicinal, offering everything from a cure for toothaches to a boost in sex drive. While we may not be able to vouch for those claims, but we can tell you that they’re high in folate and vitamins C and A. They also taste great steamed as a side, baked in a quiche, or chopped up in this filling kale, asparagus, and quinoa salad.
Pro tip: Cut or snap off white ends before cooking (they’re not as delicious as the green part).
3. Mushrooms. First, a joke: Why did the mushroom get invited to all the parties? Because he was a fungi! And probably because he was packed with vitamin D, which is a tough vitamin to get from food (main source: the sun). Chop up mushrooms and toss them in a soup, pasta or salad, or make this mouth-watering mushroom grilled cheese sandwich.
Pro tip: Place mushrooms in the sun to up their “D” content.
4. Swiss chard. Swiss chard looks similar to rhubarb, with colorful stalks and green leaves. With chard, however, you can eat both the stalks and the leaves. Swiss chard has a subtle, beet-like flavor, and is a great source of vitamins A and C and potassium. Steam or sauté with olive oil for a healthy side dish, or even add swiss chard to your morning smoothie.
Pro tip: Separate the leaves and stems for easier cooking.
Photobiology of vitamin D in mushrooms and its bioavailability in humans. Boston, MA: Department of Medicine; Section of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Diabetes; Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory; Boston University Medical Center, 2013. (Accessed on April 18, 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897585)
Seasonal Produce Guide. United States Department of Agriculture. (Accessed on April 18, 2018 at https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide)