Spring has sprung and to prove it, the Daffodils are dotting themselves all over the place, the baby lambs are just popping out with excitement, and the arrival of the new-season fruits and veggies are making their way onto our supermarket shelves and farmers market stalls – Yay!

So to do Spring its justice, what better way to celebrate it than by feasting on the delectable foods it has to offer us?!

Within this post we’re going to delve in a little deeper into what veggies are hitting the shelves this month and what you can do with them!

In Season: Spring

Spinach

If it’s good enough for Popeye, it’s good enough for us!

Spinach is a firm favourite among many, and loved throughout the world for it versatility in cooking and salad dishes, its delicate but delicious taste and its undisputed health benefits.

Spinach is loaded with nutrients, giving you plenty of Vitamin A, C, E and K, plus manganese, folate, zinc, magnesium, selenium and potassium.
With this plethora of nutrients, spinach helps to protect and strengthen the immune system, loads us up with antioxidants to help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body; helps to support bone health, cardiovascular health, eye health and to top it off, even helps keep skin looking fresh and radiant.

Spinach is so easy to add into many many dishes, and with its slightly sweet and subtle flavour; it goes really well with fruits and healthy fats like almond butter or avocado, so you can even add into your green smoothies or juices. The options are limitless!

Try these recipes on for size:

http://thelittlegreenspoon.com/2016/03/21/creamed-spinach-bake/
http://nutritionstripped.com/5-minute-spinach-smoothie-2/
http://nutritionstripped.com/avocado-artichoke-arugula-spinach-salad/ (please note arugula is also known as rocket over in these parts!)

Watercress

This peppery flavoured dark green leaf is a close cousin to mustard greens, cabbage, and rocket. It has slightly chewy stems and is a popular salad ingredient, working best when teamed with milder tasting leaves to give a variety of texture and flavour.

Watercress is a good source of B vitamins, Vitamins A, C and K, plus minerals iron, manganese and calcium.

Though often more popular eaten as a salad, watercress can certainly be cooked and is often used in dishes such as watercress soup or in pasta sauces.

For more inspiration on new ways to include watercress into your diet, try out these recipes:

http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2012/07/meatless-mondays-with-martha-stewart-roasted-red-pepper-chickpeas-with-watercress/
http://watercress.co.uk/recipe/falafel-in-pitta-pockets/
http://watercress.co.uk/recipe/fresh-traditonal-watercress-soup/

Rhubarb

Seeing pink stalks of rhubarb at the market is one of the tell-tale signs that spring is here. It also means good food is about to happen in my kitchen!

And here’s a fun fact, did you know that Rhubarb, although eaten as a fruit, is actually a vegetable? Mind. blown.

So what can you do with it? Well, Rhubarb makes deliciously comforting puddings (Rhubarb and apple crumble – hello!) as well as pies, fools, tarts, preserves, sauces and jams. Rhubarb is often combined with ginger or strawberry in dishes though it can also be made into savory meals.

Rhubarb contains plenty of fibre making it a good friend of your digestion; as well as containing plenty of vitamin K and calcium for healthy bone growth, vitamins C and A to promote healthy skin, mucous membranes and vision, as well as antioxidant support.

Warning! Only the stems are eaten of the Rhubarb plant as the leaves contain toxic oxalic acid making them inedible for human consumption.

Try out Rosanna Purcell’s Rhubarb Crumble Tart here http://naturalbornfeeder.com/rhubarb-crumble-tart/ for a true dessert success; plus the rhubarb filling is amazing as a porridge topping – double win win!

And another crumble because it’s my weakness and you must all join in with it! – http://nutritionstripped.com/skillet-strawberry-rhubarb-crumble/

For a savory experience try http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2011/06/meatless-mondays-with-martha-stewart-rhubarb-lentil-sweet-potato-stew-2/

Broccoli

Ah Broccoli, the ole brassica that has been repulsing children since the beginning of time!

I was always told to ‘eat my trees’ and was forcibly presented with soggy limp squishy broccoli pieces that I reluctantly had to swallow.
Now however, broccoli is one of my favourite foods! Once you know how to cook it, (by which I mean it hasn’t been murdered entirely!) you will find it a delight to cook and to eat. 

Try it steamed, sauted, roasted, blanched or raw in your meals, adding it to salads, soups, stews, curries, stir fry’s, side dishes, you name it, you can add it!

Broccoli is a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals, including A, C, K, folate, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc; all of which help support your immune health, cardiovascular health, eye health, brain health and metabolism.

Let’s also not forget it’s a great source of protein – and for any vegans out there tired of the question ‘but where do you get your protein?’ – green leafy veggies and broccoli are loaded with it, FYI!

Try it in a soup like this one http://thelittlegreenspoon.com/2016/01/25/little-green-goddess-soup/
Or in a salad like this one http://thelittlegreenspoon.com/2015/03/16/griddled-greens-salad/

Asparagus

Asparagus is yet another delectable veggie that not only tastes great, but is so so good for you!

Asparagus is a fantastic food for naturally detoxing the body and helping to cleanse the digestive system.
For anybody out there suffering from water retention or a bloated belly, asparagus is your guy. It’s a natural diuretic which helps reduce water retention and a bloated belly by increasing your urination and getting rid of excess water and salt. Happy days!

Asparagus is rich in prebiotic fiber to support your healthy gut bacteria, keeping your digestion happy and your immune system perky. For those of you who take your probiotic supplements or eat plenty of probiotic-rich foods daily, those little probiotics need feeding too, so increasing your prebiotic food will help them grow and be healthy, ultimately helping to keep you healthy too.

It’s also worth noting that asparagus is a particularly rich source of folic acid, a natural mood booster. The high levels of folate in asparagus may help to alleviate symptoms of low mood, lack of energy and foggy thinking.

Try out these recipes for a couple of new ideas on how to eat it:
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/eggs-recipes/grilled-asparagus-poached-egg-on-toast/#pbkBysdMDRCkQT4v.97
http://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-vegan-lemon-asparagus-pasta/
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That’s just a mere taster of what Spring has to offer you hungry lot, so keep a look out for the new seasonal produce that’s practically popping out the ground and bouncing onto the shelves!

And for those of you living in the Dublin area, don’t forget to head to our Nourish stores in Sandymount and Liffey Street to pick up a fantastic selection of fresh organic fruits and veggies!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact us via our Facebook or Twitter page!

– Emily
Instagram @nourishireland

*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention

Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication

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