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Spring has Sprung! Enjoying the Fruits and Veggies of Spring

March 29, 2012

Spring has sprung and so have the fruits and vegetables.   April will bring fresh strawberries, nectarines and asparagus.  To get the best use out of your fruits and vegetables, be sure to select the freshest produce and store them properly.

Strawberries

Pick the brightest strawberries with green tops.  The sweetest berries are small and fragrant.   Enjoy your strawberries within three days of purchasing them.  Do not wash until you are ready to eat them.  If you wish to store your strawberries for more than three days, dry off washed berries with a paper towel, remove tops and freeze them. 

Nectarines

Nectarines are a juicy, spring fruit, available from April to August.  These sweet fruits are similar to peaches, minus the fuzz.  They are smaller and smooth skinned golden yellow with large blushes of red. Nectarines are more delicate than peaches and bruise very easily.  Ripe fruit are fragrant and give slightly to the touch. Look for fruit with smooth unblemished skin.   To keep nectarines fresh, place them in a plastic bag in the coolest part of the refrigerator.   

Asparagus

Asparagus’s peak season is considered to run from April to June, in warmer climates.  The green spears can appear as early as February.  Asparagus are long green stalks that usually come in bundles.  They pack a whopping 114% of recommended daily allowance (RDA) per 1 cup serving of vitamin K, which is important for bone health, and nearly 66% RDA of folate, which helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Tasty Ways to Use these Fresh Fruits and Veggies:

ŸMake a green smoothie with spinach and frozen strawberries.  “Spinach, in a smoothie?” you may ask.  Yes!  Trust me, it won’t taste like spinach and it is packed with vitamins and minerals.  Blend frozen strawberries, half a cup of Greek yogurt, one cup of 1% milk, and fill the rest of the blender with spinach.  If you like it a little sweeter, add a little honey.

 ŸTry a salad with strawberries.  It’s another unique yet delicious combination.  Choose dark leafy greens like spinach and romaine.  Add walnuts, pecans and grilled chicken into the mix for a delicious spring salad.

ŸMake your own nectarine puree!  Put sliced nectarines in a jar with lemon juice and let stand for 15 minutes.  Pour into a bowl and mash to a puree consistency.  Use this to spread on whole wheat toast or as a topping to yogurt. 

ŸAdd sliced nectarine to your favorite high fiber cereal!  Mixing nectarines in your cereal will surely add a sweet, nutritious component to your next breakfast meal.

ŸWith the warmer weather approaching, it’s time to uncover that grill! Throw some asparagus on the grill and drizzle some olive oil on top.   Add some yellow and red pepper for a colorful and crunchy nutritious veggie dish.

  ŸTry making your own Bruschetta using chopped asparagus and tomatoes.  Cut whole wheat toast in bite size squares and top with asparagus and tomato.  Drizzle with olive oil and lime juice to create a deliciously light snack.  Or better yet, serve as an appetizer at your next social gathering! 

Spring is a time to take advantage of the warm weather, sunshine, and blooming flowers.   Use this season for all its worth and take advantage of the fruits and vegetables that are offered at this time!

Let me know how you are enjoying the many spring fruits and vegetables!     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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