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Eating Seasonally & Cooking the Vegetables: Spring Produce P1
If you haven’t already harvested from your garden, you may be very soon. In an attempt to help you know what to do with your spring produce, I decided to explain some uses of these plants. Eating seasonally is probably the most natural way to eat.
I agree with canning, but you will only have to hit up your canned goods when you run out of seasonal foods. Seasonal cooking can be daunting, but with this guide, hopefully I can make a little more sense of the plants. If you haven’t figured it out, this one is over spring crops.
This is more of a June/July edition for my area, but can be helpful for many areas of the US. The following are plants that should be in season during this time and how you will use them:
- Apricots: This is a great fruit to eat by itself, or to place in cobblers, pies, and jams. It can be used for flavoring pastry dishes like muffins or fritters.
- Artichokes: Typically used as a main item or the “meat” of the dish. A lot of what is done is for seasoning and flavoring of the artichoke. Artichokes are usually steamed and then dipped in a butter sauce, mayo, or other dips. Baby artichokes are cooked in several recipes, sautéed, or marinated.
- Asparagus: It can be used as a side dish, like many other vegetables by steaming, searing, or boiling it. Breading asparagus is also an option. There are many recipes that can use asparagus. It can be used for quiches, casseroles, roasted with potatoes, or added to almost any dish that you want a vegetable flavor mixed in with something thicker, or creamier. FYI: I can’t stand asparagus, but keep trying it, and will continue to do so.
- Boysenberries: This cross between blackberry, raspberry, and loganoboccus is very perishable. It is used exactly the same as blackberries. It makes great pies, cobblers, syrups, and jams. It is usually jammed or frozen quickly since it is perishable.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is used as a stand alone side. It is best served with a cheese sauce in my opinion. It is great in salads, casseroles, or a number of other great dishes. It is mild in flavor, so is a great addition to many other dishes.
- Celery: Both the stalks and leaves are edible. The leaves could be added to a salad or quiche, while the stalks could be formed into a gratin, soup, or used in Cajun foods.
- Cherries, gooseberries, nectarines, strawberries, rhubarb: Look I got tired of doing a description of every single fruit that is available during the spring. The fact of the matter is, that most of the fruits can be eaten straight, placed into jams, in cobblers and pies, made into syrups, added to salads, baked into bars, and more.
- Mint: This aggressive perennial is great for salads, teas, waters, alcoholic beverages, and even to flavor meat in recipes. It is basically a flavoring herb. It is great to add to a homemade mouthwash, and to chew on to freshen breath.
- Peas: Any Pea or Bean can be used in very similar fashions. They can be used as a side dish by themselves. They can be added to lots of other dishes to add some texture or filler. They are great for soups and Cajun dishes. Add ham, and you have Hoppin John over rice.
- Potatoes: Although your basic white potato is not extremely healthy in large quantities, but they are high in carbohydrate energy, so they are a great prepper food. They are boiled and mashed, baked, steamed, fried, deep fried, made au gratin, made into soups, and added to roasts.
- Spinach: Eaten by itself, or added to a lot of the other quiches, casseroles, and dishes that you would see asparagus in. Also, baby spinach is used as a healthier alternative to lettuces in sandwiches and salads.
- Spring Greens: Basically leafy lettuce varieties for burger, sandwiches, and salads. Some lesser known ways of using lettuce is wraps, soups, and even stir-fry!
- Tomatoes: I don’t think that I have to explain much about tomatoes. This is a food that almost anyone knows how to use. In half of our recipes, we use tomato sauce, tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, or even diced or sliced tomatoes. If you are trying to learn to use tomatoes, you may choose to learn how to can the different types of what I named off, so you can use it in recipes in the off-season. Large uses of tomatoes include sauces, goulashes, soups, salsas, and throwing at people in the stocks!
I hope that this has given you some ideas of things to look up in your recipe books, or to Google some good recipes.
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