Spring has sprung here in Canada, and that means more than finally being able to enjoy a little one-on-one with the sun. Along with warmer temps comes a fresh new assortment of produce to enjoy! Pro tip: eating fruits and veggies closest to when they’re picked means you’ll benefit from the freshest flavours, crispest textures and their optimal nutritional intake.
To kick it off, here’s a list of just some of the delicious and nutritious foods around, so get ready to hit print and head to the farmers’ market!
Seeing these loopy greens at your local grocer is a definite sign that spring has sprung. Derived from the ostrich fern, fiddleheads are the furled fronds of a young fern. They grow abundantly across Canada (we’re looking at you, east coast), and are harvested for only until the moment their coils unfurl (which is only a few short weeks, so enjoy them while you can).
Fiddleheads are extremely nutrient-dense and offer so many health benefits. Rich in vitamins A and K, they are an excellent source of potassium and folate, not to mention a great vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids; and they are also a source of fibre. And just when you thought they couldn’t be more nutritious: studies have shown that their antioxidant content is actually twice that of blueberries!
For a quick and easy way to enjoy these, try quickly sautéing them in extra-virgin olive oil with a crushed clove of garlic, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste!
Asparagus is another one of our favourite ways to kick off the season. Packed with nutrition, asparagus is a good source of fibre and folate. This star-side is rich in antioxidants from vitamins A, C and E, and the bone-building vitamin K. Loaded with vitamin B, asparagus can also help to stabilize blood sugar. It also contains an amino acid called asparagine, which is known to act as natural diuretic and may help reduce blood pressure overall.
Asparagus can be prepared in a variety of different ways. Enjoy it warm or cold, steamed or roasted, on the BBQ or even with a variety of different veggies.
This one probably has you thinking about pie but turns out this “sweet tart” is super nutrient-dense. High in lycopene, the antioxidant responsible for its bright red stalks, rhubarb is rich in vitamin K, which is pivotal to bone strength and heart health. Due to its stalk’s very high fibre content, it’s an important vegetable for digestive health.
Here’s something to try: honey roasted rhubarb! Sprinkle onto salads or smoothie bowls for great texture and a tartly sweet finish.
Arugula, also known as “salad rocket”, can take your lunch from good to great due to its superior nutritional content. Along with ample antioxidants, especially the collagen-boosting vitamin C, arugula contains high amounts of vitamin K and B-complex vitamins and iron. Its bitter taste and high fibre content make arugula very detoxifying, both for the liver and for the digestive system. With over 90% water content and a very low caloric content, this leafy green is a definite must-eat for the spring and summer months. Oh, and if you’re averse to its bitter flavour profile, here’s some food for thought: the smaller the sprig, the sweeter the taste.
Fresh farm eggs are free-range and pasture-raised. This means the hens roam outdoors, away from artificial light, and they obtain their diet through natural sources such as grass. For this reason, farmers’ eggs are shown to contain many more nutritional benefits than conventional eggs. They contain higher amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and even vitamin D, since the hens have the chance to travel outdoors. They also contain lower amounts of saturated fat. While we all know that eggs are a complete protein, we’re here to bust the myth: don’t be afraid of eating the yolk! Recent studies show that contrary to popular belief, though a source of dietary cholesterol, eggs do not raise it in most people. The egg yolks actually contain powerful carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for eye health.
Ready to shop in season? Take this list with you, too!