Fresh and Local Spring Recipes

Use what’s in season to create delicious, healthy meals. Our spring recipes rely on fresh and local foods potentially available in your area.

| April/May 2010

Your hard work has paid off: You’ve been enjoying home-canned and sun-dried treasures for a while now, sipping on soups and stews while the snow falls, baking hearty winter squashes to heat up the house, and roasting all those long-keeping storage veggies. Right? Good for you — but things are finally warming up. It’s time for fresh and local food again! It's time for spring recipes.

Spring is the season for young and tender treats right from the garden. Snack on raw peas and radishes, add fresh berries to your cereal, and get ready for crisp salads every day. Start throwing herbs and cooking greens into every pot, and enjoy asparagus steamed, grilled, or any way you like.

You may not realize it, but many animal products are seasonal, too. Eggs from hens raised on pasture are likely to be most nutritious when the hens are pecking bright green grasses. When cows are chewing on those same vibrant pastures, their milk (and cheeses made with it) is also full of extra healthy goodness.

Spring is also the favorite season of food foragers. To learn to hunt wild edibles, such as delectable morel mushrooms and funky fiddleheads, connect with a local foraging group via the Internet (try searching “food foraging” and your state name). You’ll also want to get your hands on local field guides and one of the classic foraging texts: Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons or The Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer.

What’s In Season?

Most of the foods below are likely to be in season during April or May in many parts of the United States. You should be able to find the best deals on these foods this time of year in grocery stores and at farmers markets, which means it’s a good time to stock up on items that preserve well. For example, you may want to dry herbs and freeze berries for later use. (To learn more about when and how to preserve different foods, see Enjoy Fresh, Local Food All Year. To see which foods are in season in your area, click on your state at this Peak Season Map.)

Herbs: chervil, chives, dill, horseradish root, mint, parsley, tarragon

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D._2
5/7/2010 8:53:53 AM

My favorite spring recipe: Stinging nettle puree. Ingredients: Stinging nettle leaves (in Europe, stinging nettle is thought to be the most valuable healing herb - in spite that it is a bad weed most everywhere in moist places). Potato (also works with parsnip, celeriac, sweet potato, carrots) Olive oil, pepper, salt. Harvest stinging nettles from a clean site and strip stalks with gloves! Wash, cut potatoes with skin. Boil in some water with salt, until about half done. Add stinging nettle leaves, olive oil and pepper. Boil until leaves are soft (about 20 to 30 minutes). Puree. Serve.

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