Spring Produce: The 10 Healthiest Springtime Picks
Mother Nature knows what your body needs. Each season, the Earth produces a different set of produce specific to your geographic location. Of course, with the advent of harvesting year-round and the ability to ship virtually anywhere in the world, you can get just about any type of produce you want, anytime you want, in your local grocery store.
Instead of letting convenience and constant availability dictate what’s on your plate, consider the benefits of eating seasonally. Here are three reasons you might want to consider buying your fruits and vegetables when they are in season:
1. More Nutrients
From the moment produce is picked from the earth, its nutrient value starts to diminish. When fruits and vegetables are available outside of their season, it typically means they are grown in non-optimal weather conditions or shipped from other locations, taking longer to get from the farm to your plate. While there are methods for preserving shelf-life of produce (refrigerating, canning, and freezing), it is optimal to source your produce in season and locally to reap their full health benefits.
2. More Flavor
When fruits and vegetables are in season, they tend to taste better. Just picture biting into a juicy strawberry or tomato in season that is filled with flavor compared to a flavorless and bitter one that is grown out of season. It is no mystery why so many restaurants now-a-days are switching their menus each season to highlight seasonal ingredients.
3. More Affordability
When produce is in season, there is usually more supply available, which typically decreases demand and prices. Notice that when fruits and vegetables are not in season, your local grocery store will still carry them, but at a higher cost. There is a big difference when a pint of strawberries costs $8 instead of $3.50.
If you are wondering how to find out what produce is in season, visit your local farmers’ market or look at the Sustainable Table online guide. Now that spring is here, Mother Earth has provided lots of cleansing foods and ingredients for you to enjoy. Here are the top 10 picks for spring produce:
Artichokes are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to have cholesterol-reducing effects. Consider adding baby artichoke hearts to your salad or slicing an artichoke in half, then boiling it in water before placing it on the grill.
Arugula is a wonderful green lettuce packed with antioxidants. As a cruciferous vegetable, it can also help to inhibit the development of certain cancers. It brings a bold flavor with hints of pepper and acidity to salads and makes a delicious alternative to other (more neutral) lettuce options. Arugula can be used when making a pesto or as a nice side with eggs.