Jess’ Top 10 Spring Fruit and Vegetables

10 May

Spring to me means new.

New flowers, new vegetables, new shoes…

Everything is green and lush and rejuvenated.  It also means I can say goodbye to heavy meals and hello to Kale every day.

I’m serious; I would eat Kale every day if I could.  #issues

So in honour of spring, I give you my top 10 list of favorite spring fruits and vegetables.

1) Artichokes- “It might’ve choked Artie but it ain’t gonna choke Stymie” thank you Little Rascals for ensuring I always think of you whenever I see artichokes.  Don’t like artichokes? Well, then I don’t like you. Kidding. Sort of.  Love them or hate them, you have to admit, their flowery shape and bright green colour just scream spring is here! Enjoy them stuffed or indulge in a savory spinach and artichoke dip for an indulgent treat.

2) Asparagus- again, a love it or hate it kind of veggie, asparagus are among my favorites (obviously).  You really can’t go wrong with my balsamic and garlic asparagus as the perfect side dish to any fish, poultry or vegetarian main.   Oh and have you ever tried them on the barbeque? Best.Thing.Ever!

3) Fennel- I love the slightly bitter-sweet licorice taste that fennel will bring to your dishes.  My all time favorite way to enjoy them? Thinly sliced with red onions, navel oranges (another spring item) and slivered almonds, tossed together with a dash of white wine vinegar.  Top the mixture onto a bed of greens and you, my friends, of a wonderful spring-time salad on your hands.

4) Leeks- offering up a lighter, almost sweeter, taste to savoury dishes than your typical onions. Leeks are great for adding flavour to dishes such as soups and quiche. Or try them in my mushroom and leek pasta.

5) Lemon- Give your dishes a fresh squeeze of lemon for a citrusy burst in flavour.  A main stay in many of my hummus recipes; use them as a base for salad dressings, or even make your own lemonade.

6) Peas- I admit, there was a dark period in my childhood where I absolutely despised peas.  I have a feeling this was due in large part to my dear grandmother who insisted on boiling all nutrient value out of them.  Mushy peas= gross.  It wasn’t until much later in life when I realized just how tasty these little guys can be.  Add them to soups, stir-fry’s, even salads.  For a colourful side dish sauté snow-peas and matchstick carrots with a bit of sesame oil and garlic- works great alongside salmon or tofu in an Asian-style glaze.  Hmmm, recipe forthcoming.

7) Rhubarb- Dustin would kill me if I didn’t include Rhubarb on this list.  A sure-fire sign it’s spring is when you see those delightfully tart stalks of pink goodness in your grocer’s produce aisle.  When you combine them with sweet strawberries (aka my absolute favorite fruit since I was 3) you have a match made in heaven.  Hmm, maybe that’s why Dustin and I are so compatible? #NotNormal

8) Spinach- a long time favorite chez Tess and Jess, we enjoy spinach in a myriad of ways: in our green smoothies, in massive salads, stuffed into mushrooms, pasta dishes… etc… I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

8 1/2) Salad Greens- while I’m on leaf-talk, pretty much most of your greens varieties are now at their peak season.  Go ahead and give that Kale a try, buy that Swiss chard or collard.  Challenge yourself to try a new green every week this spring to shock and please your taste buds out of your romaine rut.  Do it.

9) Strawberries.  See #7.  My favorite fruit since I was a little kid, strawberries make not only my top 10 Spring list, but also my top 10 list of favorite foods period.  I love them in smoothies, pies, salads, tarts, alone, dipped in chocolate… I could go own but you’ll get bored.

10) Vidalia Onions- Sweet and light, the natural sugars in Vidalia onions means they were made to be caramelized in my humble opinion.   Bursting with a rich and slightly smoky flavour, caramelized onions will give a flavour boost to any dish- salads, pastas, pizza, hummus, or even grilled cheese.

Yes, you heard me- grilled cheese.  You want the ultimate comfort food treat? Go and buy some bakery quality thick-sliced bread and 3+ years aged cheddar.  Top one slice with the cheddar and some caramelized onions, sandwich it with a second piece of bread.  Lightly oil or butter the bread and grill on both sides until golden and crispy and the cheese is gooey and melty.  Serve with your favorite Dijon or honey mustard. You can thank me later.

What are you most excited about for spring? Did I leave out any of your favorite vegetables or fruits?



One Response to “Jess’ Top 10 Spring Fruit and Vegetables”

  1. Tess and Jess May 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    (Tess) Oooh, really good idea about the caramelized onions on grilled cheese!

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