YOUR SPRING HARVEST
Vegetables have long been a diet staple and one of the chief contributors to a healthy, well balanced eating plan. The benefits of vegetables are undisputable, but do you know the importance of not simply eating vegetables, but eating what's "in season"? Seasonal vegetables are picked when they're at their prime, and the nutrients inside are the most powerful to us.
Sure, when you go to the grocery store, it appears that virtually any vegetable you want is in season - but that's not the case. Many times, in order to offer variety, supermarket vegetables are harvested while still immature to ensure that they' don't spoil en route to the store. Aside from affecting the taste, you're getting vegetables that suffer from nutrient loss due to being picked too soon. It has actually been found that from a health standpoint it's better to pick and freeze in-season vegetables rather than eat out-of-season vegetables that have been transported.
There are a few general guidelines to follow for each season, with guidelines for some produce varying due to where you live. Because of limited growing seasons in most regions, it's virtually impossible to eat locally and in season 100% of the time, but these guidelines will give you an idea of some produce to look for during certain times of the year:
Spring represents renewal and fresh new growth, so choose leafy, vibrant greens like dandelion, spinach, kale, swiss chard, artichokes, asparagus, fava beans, blueberries, carrots and strawberries.
Summertime is when our bodies usually desire more cooling foods like cucumbers, zucchini or red bell peppers.
Fall and winter are when we need to eat foods that warm us, which means more cooked foods that often grow below the soil. Dense, nutrient- and antioxidant-rich foods like onions, garlic, squash, turnips and potatoes keep us warm and protect us against illness. Historically, these vegetables were also easy to store in root cellars during the cold winter months, so we've become accustomed to eating these veggies in the cooler months.
For recipes that use the best of what spring, and every season, has to offer, check out Dacor's Recipes for tasty meals and creative ideas.
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