Sticking to vegetables which are in season is much better than buying imported vegetables for a number of reasons. Locally sourced produce tends to be of a higher quality which in turn can contribute to a healthier diet. It is also better for the environment and for your wallet. Spring is a great time of year to enjoy a whole range of fresh vegetables which can be grown in most temperate regions. Rather than spending extra money to buy lower-quality vegetables which have travelled half way across the world, why not consider including the following excellent vegetables in your diet this spring?
You can find asparagus in the supermarkets at any time of year, but you will rarely get a good quality product during the winter, since it will have travelled all the way from the other side of the world. Asparagus, which is harvested during the spring, tends to be of higher quality than that which is imported. No longer considered the luxury that it used to be, asparagus is quite affordable, particularly if it is grown locally.
Asparagus makes for a great appetiser boiled and served with nothing more than hollandaise sauce and some salt. It is also good as a side dish, served with some melted butter.
Artichokes are native to Southern Europe. They are actually a type of thistle and can be somewhat of a hassle when it comes to preparing for eating. The edible part of an artichoke is the flowering bud at the top of the stalk. Artichokes are harvested in the beginning of spring, although in some areas they are harvested in the end of autumn, making them a popular winter vegetable as well.
There are many things you can do with artichokes, including marinating the hearts in oil or stuffing them with various herbs, Italian ham and cheese. Artichokes may either be eaten with the thick, spiky leaves or these can be removed leaving only the heart.
Here is an interesting one which you probably wouldn’t think about. Stinging nettles are among the first weeds to appear in the beginning of spring. While they are considered by many to be a pest, nettles have actually been cultivated across Europe since ancient times both for medicinal and culinary purposes. Nettles have even been used to make cloth!
Since they are undeservedly shunned these days, you will rarely find nettles in the shops. However, you can easily pick them yourself provided you wear thick gloves. They are best gathered during March and April, although this varies from place to place. Nettles are usually boiled and often made into a soup. Cooking or drying them completely removes the sting.