Spring Into Health by Enjoying The Season's Fruits and Vegetables
Spring has arrived and along with it brings many of the season’s favorite fruits and vegetables. Although many fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed year-round, those in season are often more affordable and flavorful. So here are just a few to include on your plate this spring:
Artichokes- These are low in calories with only 25 per artichoke but are not lacking in nutrients. They provide a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate and magnesium. Select plump artichokes that are heavy for their size with tightly closed leaves. Pull back one leaf to check the heart for black blemishes. Refrigerate artichokes in a plastic bag for up to one week and keep dry to prevent mold growth. To serve, cut them in half, coat with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until softened and heated through.
Asparagus- With only 4 calories per spear, this vegetable packs a nutrient punch providing a good source of vitamin C, folate and vitamin A. When selecting, choose odorless stalks with dry, tight tips and avoid limp or wilted stalks. Refrigerate for up to four days by wrapping ends of stalks in a wet paper towel and placing in a plastic bag. To serve, drizzle with a little olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper and bake at 400 degrees F until crisp-tender.
Fennel- Fennel is sometimes called “sweet anise” and has a delicate licorice flavor. The feathery tops can be used as an herb. Fennel provides a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber and provides only 25 calories per cup. Choose firm, unblemished bulbs with bright green leaves and refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. Serve chopped or sliced fennel in salads, soups or stir-fries.
Mango- Mangos are the most widely consumed fruit in the world and are packed with vitamins A and C. Choose those that are slightly firm with a sweet aroma and store at room temperature for up to 1-2 days. Mangos are delicious in smoothies or chopped up and made into fruit salsa.
Oranges- This fruit is packed with immune boosting vitamin C providing 130% of your daily value. They also provide a good source of fiber. Choose oranges with firm, smooth skins that are heavy for their size. Store them at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Oranges are delicious eaten on their own as a snack or sliced and added to salads.
Pineapple- this fruit provides an excellent source of vitamin C. Select pineapple that are heavy for their size with dark green leaves. Avoid those with soft or dark spots and dry looking leaves. Eat as soon as possible and refrigerate cut pineapple for up to 2-3 days. To serve, throw slices of pineapple on the grill or add pineapple chunks to your favorite pizza.