Seasonal Produce Guides
At farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture farms, lettuces make their appearance in May and go strong through mid-summer. When I belonged to a CSA farm, each week, we could take as many as three healthy heads of lettuce for our share. No matter how much one loves salads, three heads a week is a lot of lettuce! If you shop at farm markets, they, too will be bursting with lettuces. more→
After long winter months of root vegetables and tubers, the farmers market re-awakens in spring – pulsating with energy and brimming with cheerful colors, enticing smells and delicious flavors that make for a full sensory experience. Strolling by the vibrant stands of produce, you’ll find everything to fulfill the stirring desires of re-awakened palates: fresh field strawberries, crisp green beans, plump artichokes and, of course, bright green asparagus.
Chili peppers are an indispensable part of many ethnic cuisines that have become intrinsic to the healthy cook’s home repertoire. Chilies are one of the most widely produced and utilized condiments in the world, after salt and black pepper.
Members of the capsicum genus, their flavors range from mild to sweet to explosively hot. There are hundreds of varieties, with inconsistent names and little standardization of labeling. Here are a few basic guidelines to help the curious chili lover: more→
Not long ago, when a recipe called for mushrooms, it meant the white button variety. What else was there? Now, nearly every natural foods store, supermarket, and produce grocery offers a wide array of mushrooms. Mushroom lovers, you’ll find many tasty recipes on VegKitchen’s category of recipes featuring mushrooms. more→
Everyone’s mad for greens these days! Once you get into the leafy greens habit, it’s hard to stop. And why would you? Greens are acknowledged as the most nutrient-rich group of veggies, with a multitude of benefits. The hardier greens, like kale, chard, and collards, are superb sources of highly absorbable calcium, a perk that’s especially valuable to vegans. They’re one of the best sources of Vitamin K, essential to bone health, and are abundant in vitamins A, B (especially folic acid) and C. Greens also provide a wealth of antioxidants and chlorophyll, are protective against cancers, and are anti-inflammatory. more→
When a recipe calls for basil and dill, do you reach for the spice rack? This summer, find out why the best cooks go to the garden instead. Their distinctive flavors and aromas enhance summer’s produce as dried, store-bought herbs never could. If you’re hesitant about new flavors, start with a little less than a recipe indicates. If your an aficionado, lavish summer fare with herbs to your heart’s content. Here are just a few of the fresh herb-flavored recipes you’ll find on VegKitchen: more→
When vegetables are rated in terms of overall nutritional value, spinach is usually among the powerhouse veggies that top the list. It’s vitamin-rich and a good source of iron and fiber.
Spinach is a cool-weather leafy green, and one of the first seasonal offerings at CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms and and farm markets, or if you’re lucky enough, from your own garden. Like any veggie that can be cooked and eaten the same day it’s pulled from the earth, just-harvested spinach is incomparable. Later in the summer, you might like to explore Malabar and other varieties referred to as summer spinach; they have larger, thicker leaves and stems, more akin to chard than its small and tender cool-weather cousins. more→
Few fruits offer a much sensory satisfaction as fresh strawberries. The season for good, ripe strawberries, particularly local ones, is rather fleeting compared with other fruits. The good news is that you can’t eat too much of this Vitamin C-rich fruit. The bad news is that strawberries consistently rank near the top of lists of foods most heavily sprayed with pesticides. The only answer is to buy organic strawberries. Yes, they are more expensive, but they’re usually also riper, sweeter, and juicier than mass-produced strawberries. more→