Making the Most of Spring Produce During Quarantine
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Given the current state of events, we are all trying to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store. In an effort to keep things positive around here, we want to acknowledge that the first day of Spring was a few days ago and longer, warmer, brighter days are ahead of us!
With the changing seasons comes a bounty of seasonal produce! We’ve talked about the benefits of eating with the seasons before on our blog, and we realize that this may be the farthest thing from your minds in the midst of all this chaos. For some of you, your kitchen may be a space to unwind and escape from the myriad of emotions surrounding us right now. Which is why we’ve included tips on which spring produce items to stock up on, how to store them, and how to cook them using pantry staples so you can make the most of your grocery haul.
If spinach and artichoke dip is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this veggie, you aren’t alone! All cheese aside, artichokes can be eaten in many different ways and come with a host of health benefits. These benefits include being a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and magnesium. The best part? These little guys come canned, making them the perfect healthy quarantine snack to have on hand at all times. This Canned Artichoke Tapenade only takes 5 minutes to prepare and uses ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen, like olive oil and lemon juice. If you’re up for a challenge but are intimidated by the thought of preparing fresh artichokes, now is a great time to learn how to do so if you can get your hands on them. To store a fresh artichoke,
Trim the stem
Sprinkle it with water
Store in a plastic bag.
Fresh artichokes should last up to a week in the refrigerator. We’re adding Amanda Frederickson’s One-Pan Chicken and Artichokes recipe to our list. Who doesn’t love a one-pan recipe?
Although this nutrient packed veggie has an elegance about it, asparagus couldn’t be easier to prepare. Like most vegetables, you can boil, steam, bake, or grill it (our fave!). Seriously, if you haven’t tried grilling your asparagus we highly recommend it. We also love finishing it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Treat fresh asparagus as you would fresh flowers.
Trim the stems when you get it home and place the bunch in a glass with about an inch of water.
Then, cover loosely with a plastic bag and store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
Asparagus can be combined with other kitchen staples like chickpeas, olives, and jarred roasted red peppers in this seasonal Chopped Asparagus Salad. If you have pasta on hand, try this Healthy Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta.
If you’ve never cooked with beets, all of this time at home is the perfect time to give them a go! They are usually steamed, baked, or boiled and can be used in soups, salads, or smoothies. When you get home from the store,
Remove the green tops
Store in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Preparing beets can be messy, and their deep red color will stain. We think messy can be fun, but if you’re new to this root veggie, you may want to look for Love Beets at your local store! They’re a brand of pre-cooked beets that can be thrown into recipes straight from the vacuum sealed packaging. Still on the fence? The color of this Roasted Beet Hummus gives us all the spring feels and may change your mind! Plus, I’m sure many of us have a can of chickpeas tucked away in our pantry right now.
The humble carrot is packed with beta-carotene, fiber, and antioxidants and is known for its reputation in boosting eye health. Bonus, carrots are very inexpensive. They’re great to have on hand for snacking, dipping, roasting, adding crunch to salads or sautéing into soups. Carrots can last about 1 month in the refrigerator if stored properly. Keep them crisp by storing them in a container of water, as shown here. This yummy and colorful salad uses seasonal carrots and beets, frozen edamame, and shelf-stable quinoa.
Kale is often hailed as one of the most nutrient dense foods around, largely because it is one of the best sources of vitamin K, and an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Additionally, kale contains many antioxidants and minerals. Without boring you with too much information, we think it’s safe to say that this cruciferous green has earned its claim to fame.
Fresh kale can be de-stemmed, drizzled with lemon juice or olive oil, and massaged into a soft base for a nutritious salad. But if you’re going to the store to stock up on food for a long period of time, you may want to grab a few bags of frozen kale while you’re at it. Frozen kale can be thrown into smoothies, soups, pasta, sauces, eggs, or on top of pizza. It’s a great way to sneak nutrition into any meal, especially during this stressful time when we’re all just doing the best we can to power through these next few weeks.
Green peas are actually part of the legume family, but they are cooked and sold as vegetables. They boast an impressive amount of nutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein. They’re also super affordable and widely available in the frozen isle of the grocery store. With long-lasting foods like beans, pasta, rice, and even fresh meats flying off of the shelves right now, scooping some green peas for your freezer may come in handy as back up. If you’re ever in need of green pea recipe inspo, What's Gaby Cooking has you covered. Every recipe from her Spring Pea Crostini to her Spring Pea Farro Salad looks amazing and couldn’t be easier to prepare.
If you’ve been passing the time social distancing by baking away in the kitchen, give rhubarb a try! It’s similar in looks and texture to celery, but is a beautiful pink in color. It’s known for having a sour taste, which is why it’s often used in jams or baked goods. This Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is sweetened with maple syrup and topped with a gluten free crumble made of oats and almond flour. You can also experiment by adding the veggie to your next loaf of banana bread.
Social distancing hasn’t been easy, but we’re all in this together. While it would be nice to spend these early weekends of spring shopping at farmer’s markets and hosting dinner parties, we hope this post inspires you to enjoy the vibrant flavors of spring in the comfort of your home, using ingredients you already have stocked up in your kitchens.