Get Ye to the Market: Spring is in the Air!!!

Well… spring may have come for the rest of the country but NYC has been experiencing what can only be classified as a “Canadian Chill” the past few days (likely chance of snow… really!?). However, I do know that spring is near because my allergies are rearing their ugly little heads making for sneeze filled days!

With spring slowly coming out of its winter hibernation, we can rejoice with thoughts of abandoning the dreadful and very limited winter vegetable options by celebrating the arrival of fresh new ingredients! Check out my favorite spring vegetables coming soon to a greenmarket near you!

OMG…RAMPS!!!!!

Artichokes

You can definitely find artichokes in the fall but the main harvest is in the spring when the largest thistles are available. When purchasing, find artichokes with tight and compact leaves that have fresh-cut stem ends

Asparagus

Though the season of great asparagus  is ridiculously short, its best to get the spears as soon as the show up in shops before they are gone! Choose stalks that are firm but tender, brightly colored and with closed tips.

Avocado

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love avocados; but picking the best one can be tricky. My advice? Buy them ROCK HARD! Ripe avocados barely survive a day after purchase but hard ones ripen perfectly when placed on your kitchen counter.

Endive

Endive usually costs more than other salad greens but they offer a different kind of flavor that you simply cannot find in lettuce, spinach, etc.  Don’t shy away from this green, it adds a great taste to salads!

Fiddlehead Ferns

Some people may be asking themselves “fiddlehead what?” but this vegetable is pretty darn spectacular. The premium wild foraged vegetable of spring, look for ones with a tight coil and only an inch or two of stem beyond that. Also make sure to remove the papery chaff that surrounds it before eating, if not you will not enjoy eating them.

Green Onions

The young shoot of a bulb onion, green onions differ from scallions in that they have a miniature bulb while scallions do not. Choose green onions with crisp, bright green tops and a firm white base then throw into anything your little heart desires

Peas

Fresh peas herald springs arrival and they are super rich in vitamins and nutrients. Right now you can find three types this season (snow, English and sugar snap). When using fresh peas it is best to consume right after they have been picked, otherwise the sugar converts to starch which can result in hard and mealy peas, which no one wants

Radishes

At their sweet and crunchy best in the spring, I eat them raw like apples (with a little olive oil and sea salt) or slice thinly and throw into salads or sandwiches

Ramps

New York chefs and foodies have gone absolutely gaga over ramps with daily gossip sightings of them in greenmarkets and restaurants (ramps are kind of wild onion/scallion/leek-like vegetable hybrid). and I guess it’s for a good reason…they are only in season from late March to early May (hence the craziness).

Rhubarb

I go absolutely bonkers for rhubarb and consider it to be the first “fruit” of spring! Look for heavy stalks with shiny skin and don’t be shy to make as many rhubarb concoctions as possible (I can’t wait to make jams, pies, applesauce, you get the drift)

Watercress

 Jam packed with vitamin C, look for crisp dark-green leaves when purchasing. I like to chop into salads, add into sandwiches or use in soups  

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