Top 10 Spring Ingredients to Look Forward to!
This post written by guest blogger—Aparna Heroor
Spring is right around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but it happens to be one of my favorite seasons. Everything seems to just come alive during this time of the year. It is also an exciting time for foodies like me. Here’s my list, in no particular order, of the Top 10 Ingredients to look forward to this spring.
These tender, mildly flavored, garlic “flowers,” are a fantastic spring ingredient. They taste somewhat like a mix of asparagus, and artichoke, and are great roasted, or even as a garnish for pasta, and soups. I like to make a simple dip, or chutney, with garlic spears, green chilies, and peanuts. Yum!
Yes, you can find asparagus almost all year round. However, I love the real tender, fresh-from-the-field kind. When gently steamed, or grilled, with a dash of lemon, and butter— asparagus tastes perfect as a side to simple baked or grilled salmon.
Delicate, and sweeter than onions, leeks are simply beautiful. Taste great boiled in a soup, or even raw, in a salad. Did you know that the leek is one of the National Emblems of Wales, the other being the daffodil? On St David’s Day, that happens to fall on March 1st, it is customary to wear either a leek or a daffodil.
Spring Red Beets
Red beets too, are found year round, since they grown in both fall, and spring. The spring variety tends to be smaller, and sweeter than the beets that come out in fall.
Fresh Green Snap Peas
This should ideally be the topmost spring ingredient. A welcome change from that bag of frozen peas lying in the freezer! I love to just snap them open, and eat those super fresh peas right out of the pod. Why murder them in a soup? This spring vegetable is also very kid friendly.
This small red radish, white from the inside, mildly peppery, and crunchy, is perfect when eaten raw. My friend likes to pickle her radishes, that she grows in her vegetable garden, and that tastes delicious.
I love this wonderful herb for its vibrant green color, and the fragrance. Fresh green mint always makes me happy! I sometimes use mint instead of basil in pasta, and it adds a whole new flavor dimension to the dish.
Spring’s first green-top carrots are very tender, fresh, and sweet. Roasted glazed carrots, with the green tops on, are quite tasty. Of course, these tender beauties can be eaten raw, and enjoyed just as much.
Fresh blueberries taste so much better than the frozen or dried kind. And of course, we all know about the health benefits of blueberries. These are best when eaten fresh.
These mini-oranges are a definite spring-must, especially since there’s even an annual Kumquat festival! (http://www.kumquatfestival.org) Kumquats can be an acquired taste because they are bitter, sweet, and sour. If you’d rather, you could make marmalade with kumquats. Or even better, use it in your next Martini instead of that old olive, and celebrate this season!
Aparna Heroor is an avid food blogger. Her blog http://www.yetanotherfoodie.blogspot.com consists of recipes, with pictures, and instructions, as well as ruminations. She loves taking interesting food pictures that she often puts up on her Facebook page. Her motto is, “Celebrate the foodie inside you.” She currently lives in Sammamish, WA, with her husband and two children.