I don’t know about you, but I am really enjoying seeing all of the beautiful flowers that are blooming now that spring has sprung. Another great thing I love about the springtime is the bounty of vegetables that will soon be available. So today, I thought it would be fun to write about three super-healthy spring vegetables that you may not be familiar with.
Ramps. Ramps are part of the onion family, and if you’re familiar with leeks, the flavor and looks are similar. Long a favorite at fine restaurants, ramps are hitting the mainstream. They are starting to show up at farmer’s markets and specialty grocers everywhere. Like all members of the onion family, ramps are packed with nutrition. They are especially rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium, and chromium. Use them in soups, stews, or just about any recipe where you would use leeks. Look for them starting in late April.
Purslane. The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers purslane to be a “pesky weed”. But, folks in the know, prize it for its amazing lemony-peppery flavor. And this plant powerhouse is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and beta carotene. If you love arugula, you will adore purslane. Try adding it to a salad with some avocado and walnuts. Yum! Like ramps, purslane is most likely to be found at farmer’s markets or specialty grocers in late spring.
Culantro. OK, this one is technically an herb, but I couldn’t resist. It’s so delicious! When I talk to people about culantro, invariably, I am asked, “You meant to say cilantro, right?” Nope, I meant culantro. Like cilantro, culantro is an herb used in cooking. Think of it as cilantro on steroids—it has 10 times the flavor. This is why it’s used during cooking, whereas, it’s delicate -flavored cousin—cilantro, is added toward the end of cooking or even as a raw ingredient in popular favorites like salsa and pico de gallo. And while you’re enjoying all of that great flavor, you’ll also get a heaping helping of beta-carotene, riboflavin, calcium, and iron. It normally makes it appearance in late spring, but, I have been able to find it year round at my local international grocer. Check out this great recipe for green rice.
To your good health!