Spring is in the air and people are craving fresh leafy greens. The days of eating starchy, hearty storage crops are over for now.
When I think about spring foods, a myriad of leafy greens come to mind. Greens are cold tolerant and love the sunny days and cool nights. They actually prefer the cooler weather and do not do well in the heat of the summer. In terms of pests, it's easier to grow leafy greens in colder temperatures because many pests of green leaves, such as flea beetles, are much more abundant in the warmer months. This can make it more difficult to grow these types of veggies in the summer.
If you’re eating in season or buying from local markets, the types of veggies to expect in spring include: arugula, mustard, spinach, bok choy, broccoli raab, kale, chard, collards, loose leaf cabbage, dandelion greens, green onions, peas, salad turnips, radish, nettles and early lettuce.
Spring greens are particularly good in helping with cleansing and fortifying the liver. Compared to our ancestors, we have gotten away from eating things that are less desirable to our taste buds, such as foods that have bitter or sour tastes, but these foods are important to keeping us healthy.
Nowadays food companies pay big dollars for researchers to find out what ingredients they can put into their processed foods to make our taste buds want more and keep coming back. Try to make a conscious effort to consume some foods that might not necessarily be your favourites by thinking about the benefit they can give you.
Spring greens can all be eaten raw or cooked as well. They come in many forms and can be prepared in many ways. Try to think outside the box and get creative incorporating them into your meals.
Connecting Albert County is grateful for a Government of New Brunswick Community Food Action grant which helps us publish articles on healthy eating using local ingredients. We invite readers to share recipes: send them to info@ConnectingAlbertCounty.org.