Spring in my neck of the woods means the return of the Farmer’s Markets. Home-grown vegetables taste oh so much better than store bought, especially at this time of the year when the store-bought produce looks and tastes like it’s been in a cooler for 6 months. It’s so much fun to visit our local Farmer’s Market every Saturday. Apart from the fresh fruit and vegetables, there’s home-made honey, home-made jams, food, jewelry, pottery and many other hand-crafted things. I buy a lot of birthday gifts here because of the uniqueness of the items. Besides, I love supporting our local farmers and businesses. We make an outing of it and try all the different cooked dishes for lunch.
But, I digress. Spring is in the air and this means seasonal produce is beginning to make the shift from hardy winter squash, kale, and turnips to delicate baby beets, new potatoes and radishes! This spring seasonal produce guide is lists some of the fruits and vegetables that will be locally available throughout April. I’ve also included some ideas of how to include them in your meals.
Apples – Apples are so versatile – in a fruit salad, apple sauce, as a snack – the list goes on. But my favourites are Apple Pie and Apple Crumble. My grandmother made these two desserts for us and I never got tired of them. I chose this simple Apple Pie Recipe from Simply Home Made Blog and this Apple Crumble from Jamie Oliver.
Beets – I love beets, but have only ever had the canned kind that I added to salads. Here’s 15 ways to use beets that I’m going to try.
Rhubarb – I grew up eating rhubarb crisp for dessert – add vanilla ice-cream and you have the perfect combination. Here’s a delicious recipe from Skinny Taste for Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp.
Cabbage – I must admit that I’m not a fan of cabbage on it’s own. But Skinny Taste has a recipe that’s become a staple in our house – Unstuffed Cabbage Bowls
Carrots – I luurrve carrots. Boiled with a little bit of butter and sugar – delish! However, Jamie Oliver has a recipe to make ordinary carrots even more delicious – The Ultimate Carrots. Carrots also form the basis of most soup and stew dishes and can be grated into salads for some extra crunch.
Kale – Kale is not my favourite vegetable, and so we don’t eat it as much as we should. Every so often I add it to my smoothies because I know it’s good for me :). But this Grilled Chicken Kale Salad with Peanut Vinaigrette makes a very satisfying lunch on the patio. Add a glass of crisp, chilled white wine and you have a perfect meal!
Leeks – My mom always served leeks in a lovely cheese sauce. But they also add flavour to a roast beef (just add them to roasting pan), soups and stews, or quiche. My favourite dish is Herbed Potato & Leek Soup from the Mediterranean Dish.
Mushrooms – Mushrooms are good in … everything … can you tell I like Mushrooms? But a dish that’s become a favourite around here is this one – Wine-braised Chicken Thighs with Shallots & Mushrooms.
Radishes – Hubby loves radishes – in salads, on their own. They add crunch and an extra kick.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes are the basis for so many dishes. We make a lot of Italian dishes. I find using fresh tomatoes over canned so refreshing and less salty. I don’t have one particular dish that I love using tomatoes, but I recently bought Jamie Oliver’s cook book Jamie Cooks Italy and there are lots of lovely dishes that are easy to make using fresh tomatoes and other seasonal vegetables.
Baby salad greens – there’s nothing better than a lovely salad made with fresh salad greens of all kinds. The Mediterranean Dish has some really lovely salad recipes.
New Potatoes – new potatoes are the best! Served with butter and parsley as a side dish for a barbecue and there’s nothing better. But one of my favourite dishes that I like to use new potatoes in is Roasted Greek Potatoes.
What are your favourite fruits and vegetables? Leave me a comment.