There are so many things I love about spring but one of my favorites is the fresh food that starts popping up. Here are some of my favorite spring superfoods:
Fiddleheads—The young, coiled shoots of ferns that arrive in spring, fiddleheads are packed with potassium, vitamin C, niacin, chlorophyll, and beta carotene. They are delicious sautéed in olive oil with a bit of sea salt.
Asparagus—Asparagus is a nutritional powerhouse replete with vitamins K, C, A, folate, B1, B2, niacin, B6, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and selenium. It helps to cleanse and strengthen the kidneys due to its high content of the mineral potassium. Potassium helps reduce water retention in the body and balance blood pressure. Its rutin content helps maintain healthy blood vessels and aids the prevention of hemorrhoids. Bigger is not better when it comes to asparagus. Choose thin stalks for maximum flavor without the woody texture of thicker stalks. To use, flex the stalk with both hands and it will naturally break off the woody portion of the plant. Use the top portion.
Dandelion Greens—Instead of hunting these greens down to eliminate them from your garden, it’s time to give dandelions the respect they deserve. They strengthen the liver and kidneys by helping to reduce the body’s toxic burden. Their innate bitterness stimulates digestive juices, helping to improve digestion, particularly of fats. Their bitter properties also encourage bowel regularity. Avoid picking dandelion greens near road sides or in areas that have been sprayed with pesticides. The small dandelion leaves are best, particularly early in the season as they are less bitter. Pan-fry them in a little water, olive oil, and garlic. Cover until cooked (usually just a few minutes) and remove from the heat. Add a touch of fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and sprinkle a little sea salt over them for a delicious side-dish.
Peas—Peas are surprisingly nutritious. They are packed with important nutrients like vitamins A, B1, B6, C, K, folate, and beta carotene, as well as the minerals iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Their combination of nutrients helps to reduce harmful homocysteine levels in the body that have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Add peas to soups, stews, curries, or eat them fresh by snapping them out of their pods as a snack.
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