Celebrate spring! Look for these seasonal ingredients showing up in your local market or garden—asparagus, peas, rhubarb, and even fiddleheads and dandelion blossoms. Make these recipes to greet spring in a delightful and delicious way.
The first day of spring arrives with the vernal equinox! Finally, green things are growing and there is truly fresh produce to enjoy. Below are recipes based on harvest dates of crops across North America.
Why eat fresh? Eating food at its peak means: better flavor, more nutrition, lower costs, safer food, and a better Earth! Put spring produce on your grocery list!
Asparagus IS spring to many of us. To keep that bright green color, don’t overcook asparagus; pull the stalks out of the cooking water straight into an ice bath. See how to grow asparagus.
Fiddleheads are the first wild edible of spring but only last a few weeks. They are the furled fronds of the young ostrich fern, harvested for use as a vegetable. They make great pickles and a delicious vegetable side dish.
Look for fiddleheads in local farmers’ markets. If you forage, fiddleheads are the very top of a young ostrich fern and must be picked before unfurling. Forage with an expert and know exactly what you’re looking for; fiddleheads of most other ferns are toxic and there are a few species that look similar to the ostrich fern when young.
Credit: Elena Elisseeva Shutterstock
Credit: Brian Douglas/ChefSteps
Fresh peas at the market herald spring’s arrival. Peas add a beautuiful green color and delicate taste to any dish, plus they’re packed with nutrients. If you’ve ever had peas raw in the garden, there’s nothing like peas right after they’ve been picked before they turn to starch. Nature’s candy! See more about growing peas.
By any conventional standards, broccoli is a nutritional superhero. It’s not just low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. See how healthy broccoli is! Cook lightly to retain nutrients and maximum flavor. Broccoli can also be grown at home. See our broccoli growing guide.
Cooking Greens (Chard, Kale, Mustard, Collards, Dandelions)
Spring Tonic, using the early greens of spring, may be just the thing you need to get through this month! The trick to enjoying dandelion greens? Harvest them young with their underground crowns attached, and clean them well. Use them as you would spinach, in salads or soups. One thing to know about dandelions is that they are an important spring flower for bees, so you should only take a small amount from multiple areas. Learn more about cooking with dandelions as well as foraging dandelions.
Ah, rhubarb! Sign of spring. We love their bright, tart flavor! Some folks like to sweeten rhubarb with strawberries. Pick rhubarb when the stalks are about 12 to 18 inches long. Don’t eat the leaves, which contain oxalic acid (an irritant). See how to grow rhubarb.
See more Rhubarb Recipes!
After a long winter, don’t we all live for fresh, tender salad greens! Whether you love romaine or arugula, enjoy these cool-season young leaves when they’re at their freshest. Lettuce is very easy to grow from seed; stagger your plantings every few weeks for a continual harvest. See how to grow lettuce.
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Spinach is an iron-rich superfood that must be part of your repertoire. In the spring, spinach appears brighter and greener, and we think the tender leaves are more tasty in the springtime. Baby spinach, which is harvested before it’s mature, is especially delicate. See how to grow spinach.
Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner
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