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Savor the season: What to eat this spring

In the springtime, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and a new crop of fresh produce is in season. Nancy Waldeck, a chef at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, shares her tips for choosing and preparing spring fruits and vegetables, plus two of her favorite recipes.

Why it’s important to eat seasonally

“For me, eating seasonally refers to the times of year when the harvest or the flavor of a given type food is at its peak,” says Waldeck. “The great news about eating by the seasons is that this is usually the time when the item is the cheapest and the freshest on the market. When ripe, fruits and vegetables are at their best nutritionally and taste-wise.”

What’s in season this spring

In the spring, seek out:

  • Apricots (late spring)
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Carrots
  • Cherries (late spring)
  • Fava beans
  • Garlic
  • Fresh herbs
  • Leafy greens (arugula, spinach, lettuces)
  • Leeks
  • Morel mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Scallions
  • Strawberries

Waldeck’s go-to spring produce includes asparagus, peas of all kinds, artichokes, dill, strawberries and beets.

The best places to shop for spring produce

The farmers market is a wonderful place to find local, seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs. Waldeck also likes international food markets and notes that many grocery stores now sell local produce.

Spring recipes

You can use your bounty of produce for salads, grilling, roasting and crudites, suggests Waldeck. Here are two of her favorite spring recipes.

Spring strawberry salad with lime-honey dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 3 cups sliced hulled strawberries
  • 2 large Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds

Instructions:

  • Wash and dry the spinach well.
  • Place the spinach in the bottom of a salad bowl and top with the strawberries and avocado.
  • In a food processor, blend together the vinegar, lime juice, honey, mustard, mint and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with sesame seeds.

Sheet pan sugar snaps and red peppers

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound sugar snap peas
  • 1 large red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups prepared quinoa

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  • Toss the peas and the red pepper with the olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper on a sheet pan and spread them out.
  • Roast for seven to eight minutes or until browned on the edges.
  • Top quinoa with the roasted veggies and serve.

Check out more recipes and nutrition tips from Cancer Wellness experts.

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