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Top 10 Spring Super Foods (and easy recipes!)

Spring is once again upon us.  With it comes some of my favorite spring food recipes and produce of the year.  I’ve gathered a spring produce list. With these easy spring recipes like my friend Holly Clegg’s  Black Bean and Mango Salad recipe from her Guy’s Guide To Eating Well, you can eat colorful and healthy with fresh seasonal spring produce. I love healthy spring recipes because the fruit and vegetables are bountiful this time of year.  I’ve lived in every time zone in the United States and covered many longitudes along the way.  There are certain foods that bring back memories of specific places. Now, living in California, I enjoy the scent of Strawberries as I drive through Camarillo along the 101 and enjoy the strawberry festival season that happens here in May.

Eating Seasonal Is Important For Many Reasons:

(Plus Some Healthy Spring Recipes…)

In-season produce tastes fresher and better, sweeter and perfectly ripe. Fruits and vegetables picked for consumption have naturally ripened on the vine or the tree and harvested at the right time.  This produce comes out with much more flavor and nutrition. Most people experienced at some time that super juicy perfectly sweet orange in winter or that crispy sweet pineapple in summer. When transporting crops, it must be harvested early and refrigerated so they don’t spoil during transportation. Chilling reduces the flavor. Then, when they get to their destination they then may need to be heated in a hot house to artificially ripen the produce before it goes onto the shelves.  This process greatly reduces the flavor and  changes the texture and the taste.

It’s Cheaper When You Shop From My Spring Produce List

When farmers are harvesting a large abundance of produce due to the crop being in season, the cost of the produce will go down. When produce is locally sourced because it’s in season in your area, then travelling expenses and storage are not required.  Therefore, reducing the production costs then passed onto the consumer. When we buy produce that is out of season, it’s normally sourced from out of area locations with a different climate.  Also, after stored for long periods of time, it makes it possible to offer people a variety of produce all year round.  These factors will push the price up. 

It’s Fresher with a Higher Nutritional Value When You Eat Seasonally

Purchase produce in season.  You’ll find it fresher and consumed closer to harvesting.  This results often in higher  nutritional value.  Some anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, folate and carotenes rapidly decline when stored for periods of time. Locally in-season sourced fruits and vegetables also appear brighter and more vibrant rather than limp and dried up. Fruits and vegetables stored for long periods of time due to transportation or used at a later date have a reduction in phyto-nutrient content.

You can avoid Overseas Contaminates!

You can’t be sure what their regulations for pesticides, herbicides and fungicides when fruits and vegetables from sourced overseas. Many countries across the globe have very relaxed laws about chemicals being sprayed on fruits and vegetables. Many other countries banned these chemicals due to their known harmful effects. Overseas agriculture may not regulate soil contamination tests to ensure land and soil quality. Buy produce when in season because it is cheaper and often on sale.  Also,  it’s a great time to buy in bulk for yourself.  Preserve, pickle, ferment, freeze and store your own food at home.

Fresh Easy Spring Recipes Supports Your Body’s Natural Nutritional Needs! 

In winter, we are provided by nature all things citrus.  These are particularly high in Vitamin C which is very important for preventing infections such as colds and flu’s. Winter vegetables offer comfort and make great hot meals, healthy stews, soups, casseroles and other warming meals. Summer foods such as stone fruits provide us with extra beta-carotene’s and other carotenoids that help protect us against sun damage.  They also provide more sweetness for an energetic summer.  , as well as salad vegetables for those tasty cool summer salads. 

It’s More Environmentally-Friendly 🙂

Eating seasonally reduces the demand for out of season produce which further supports more local produce. It also supports local farming in your area.  This means less transportation, less refrigeration, less hot houses, and less irradiation of produce.

Spring Produce List with Easy Spring Recipes Start Looking For This Month!

Artichokes Artichokes are at their peak from March until June, with petite baby artichokes available for a slightly truncated season: March through May.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus for healthy spring recipes

Asparagus-Asparagus is at its snappiest from March till May.  Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus You’ll love the ease of this four ingredient recipe.  Make it ahead of time and pop in the oven for one of the most impressive spring food recipes.

I prefer the smaller asparagus to bunch together but you can use any size.  Asparagus always top my list of spring produce list.

Fava Beans Fava bean harvest signifies the transition from Spring to Summer, as fava beans are typically available April through July. Try using fava beans in this delicious recipe featured on WebMD for Kale and White Beans

easy spring recipes using spring food recipesMangoes While mangoes don’t typically grow in the US, their peak season runs from April through June in the equatorial climes where they’re harvested. Try one of my healthy spring recipes for Black Bean and Mango Salad recipe below.

I look forward to sweet fresh mangoes and you will too in this simple spring recipe, Fruity Quinoa Salad  With garden ingredients and mangoes and blueberries you have a refreshing salad that’s so nutritious.

Caribbean Black Bean and Mango Salad recipe from Holly Clegg’s Guy’s Guide To Eating Well Tops Easy Spring Recipes!

Five heart healthy packed ingredients in a colorful, refreshing tropical Black Bean and Mango salad recipe with a zingy vinaigrette. This recipe, rich in healthy weight maintaining fiber, helps keep you full and satisfied. One of my favorite diabetic-friendly and gluten free easy spring recipes.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Makes about 8 (1/2-cup) servings

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup chopped red onion, optional
1 avocado, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until serving.

Terrific Tip: Save a step and buy sliced fresh mango. Or look for mangoes jars, cans or frozen in the grocery.

Nutritional Nugget: Mangoes are loaded with the antioxidant, Vitamin C, and that helps boost the immune system.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 105, Calories from fat 35%, Fat 4g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 30mg, Sodium 153mg, Carbohydrate 14g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars 4g, Protein 4g, Dietary Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 1 fat

Morel Mushrooms: The prized morel mushroom is typically foraged (and therefore available fresh) during the spring months; throughout the rest of the year, try dried morels.

Peas: English peas — also known as shell peas and garden peas. Enjoy a short-lived season during late spring and early summer and are at their best in May.

Radishes: Radishes are available year-round.  However, it’s during spring and summer months when one can truly appreciate them for their crisp texture and spicy, juicy bite. Toss radishes in your favorite salads!

Rhubarb: Actually a vegetable rather than a fruit, rhubarb is at its peak from April to June.  You might find it often available slightly later into the summer season.

Toss Strawberries in Salads for Healthy Spring Recipes

Strawberry and Kiwi Mixed Green Salad
Strawberry and Kiwi Mixed Green Salad

Strawberries are at their sweetest from April to July.  However, they are available at farmers markets as early as March and as late as October.

Strawberry Kiwi Salad makes a refreshing salad full of vibrant flavors and colors. Think about adding berries to your salads along with other fresh fruits.

 

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