Gina Ruskie-Askew, RDN
Chef Suzanne Barr
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume 2-3 cups of vegetables per day, but unfortunately 90% of Americans are not consuming this amount daily1. Although all forms count whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried, there is no better time to include fresh veggies in your diet than when they are in-season! We rounded up a list of spring veggies and asked Chef Suzanne Barr to provide some of her favorite tips how to include these in delicious meals that your family and friends are bound to love!
Picking & Storage: When selecting fresh, choose odorless broccoli heads with tight, bluish-green florets with closed buds and firm stalks. Broccoli past its prime will have yellowing florets and brown, limp or dry stalks. Pat dry excess moisture and store fresh broccoli in the refrigerator for up to a week loosely wrapped in an unsealed plastic bag, this allows it to breathe. Positive Nutrition: One cup of raw broccoli provides an Excellent Source of Vitamin C. Cooking Inspiration: To steam, use a steamer basket over an inch of boiling water or you can add about ¼-inch of water to a skillet and cook covered for about 5 minutes like in this . Lemon-Thyme Chickpeas with Broccoli Picking & Storage: When selecting fresh carrots, look for well-shaped, smooth, firm, crisp carrots with deep color and fresh, green tops. To store, remove green tops and place unpeeled carrots in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the coolest part of your refrigerator, or place carrots in a container, cover with water and cover. Change water every 4 to 5 days. Positive Nutrition: Half a cup of raw carrots provides an Excellent Source of Vitamin A. Cooking Inspiration: Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked, and cut into many different shapes. Try using a peeler to create long flat ribbons for a different and unique look to your salads and dishes such as this . Don’t forget even the green tops can also be used as an herb in sauces such as pesto or in salads. Chicken Primavera Alfredo Pasta Picking & Storage: When selecting fresh kale, look for leaves that are moist, crisp and unwilted. Smaller leaves or ‘baby kale’ is more tender and mild in flavor and can often be found in plastic containers in the salad section of your store. To store, wrap in paper towel to remove excess moisture and place in plastic or zip-lock bag in crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 1-week. Positive Nutrition: One cup of raw Kale provides an Excellent Source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Cooking Inspiration: Gently massaging kale leaves can help soften and tenderize them for salads such as this . Sauteing also adds great flavor and can reduce bitterness. Hellmann’s Quinoa and Kale Salad Picking & Storage: Select mushrooms that are firm with a fresh, smooth appearance. The surfaces should be dry, but not dried out, and appear plump and free from blemishes. Mushrooms should be refrigerated after purchase and will last about 1-week when stored in their original packaging or repackaged in a porous paper bag to allow for air circulation. Positive Nutrition: One cup of raw white mushrooms provides an Excellent Source of Niacin and a Good Source of Selenium. Cooking Inspiration: Mushrooms can add delicious earthy, meaty and umami flavors to any dish. They can be cleaned with a damp paper towel or quickly washed and dried just prior to cooking. For best flavor, sauté in oil over medium-high heat until any water that comes out is evaporated and mushrooms are browned such as in these . Vegetable Tacos Picking & Storage: When selecting fresh, choose odorless asparagus stalks with dry, tight tips. Store cut spear ends down in a glass jar filled with about 1-inch of water and loosely cover tips with a plastic bag. In a pinch, can wrap in a breathable plastic bag and put it in the high-humidity crisper drawer in your refrigerator. Positive Nutrition: One cup of asparagus provides a Good Source of Fiber & Folate Cooking Inspiration: This Spring vegetable is terrific cooked however you desire such as in this ! First cut or snap off the woody end of the stalk. Season as desired and try roasting at 400F for about 20 minutes, sautéing in oil over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes, blanching in boiling water for about 3 minutes or even grilling. Vegan Spring Salad
1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at . DietaryGuidelines.gov 2. USDA SNAP-Ed Connection. Seasonal Produce Guide. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide 3. Have a Plant Fuits & Veggies For Better Health. https://fruitsandveggies.org 4. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. . fdc.nal.usda.gov