Spring Vegetables and Fruits on the Market with Health Benefits
The health benefits of eating fresh, seasonal vegetables should not be underestimated. Spring brings with it not only warmth and sunshine but also vitamins.
Thanks to imports, supermarket shelves are filled with exotic fruits and vegetables all year round. Delivering food from distant lands offers an unprecedented choice – any food, anytime, anywhere.
However, research has shown that fresh vegetables purchased out of season may be less flavorful and, more importantly, lower in nutrients than seasonal vegetables.
Why off-season foods lack flavor and nutritional value
Off-season foods are often harvested before they are ripe. Out of season, fruits and vegetables often travel long distances, and to survive on this journey, farmers harvest them before they are ripe.
Certain fruits, such as apples, bananas, melons, tomatoes, nectarines, apricots, and peaches, are climacteric – as they ripen, they produce a chemical, ethylene, which allows them to ripen on a branch and then continue ripening after separation from the plant.
This means that tomatoes can still ripen even if they are harvested in green. At the same time, non-climacteric crops such as pepper and citrus can only mature on the plant. Even if the color of some fruits and vegetables is fully developed, the optimal amount of nutrients in the fruit has not yet been accumulated.
Benefits of Eating Seasonal Foods
Locally sourced foods tend to have a richer flavor and are healthier than imported mass-produced foods for several reasons. Seasonal products are usually produced locally. If you eat locally grown foods, the journey to consumers is shorter — hours or days from harvest to consumption, allowing for more flavor and nutritional value.
Farmers who produce crops only for the local market are more likely to favor traditional varieties of fruits and vegetables known for their flavor and high nutrient content. Today, there are many greenhouses in large areas that produce local produce in season, which goes to markets and shops.
Vegetables: what can be found on the market
The choice of vegetables and herbs, even in March-April, is much more than berries and fruits. Vegetables are easier to grow and store and are less erratic. What can you find on the market today to pamper yourself and your family with fresh fruits:
- Broccoli and cauliflower: Healthy and tasty vegetables that can be used in a wide variety of dishes.
- Savoy cabbage, similar to our usual, but more saturated color and embossed.
- Spring greens – dill, wild garlic, onion, cilantro, parsley, tarragon, basil.
- Celery, sorrel and spinach, watercress.
- Chinese cabbage, lettuce.
- Young potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, pumpkins, turnips.
- Onions (white, yellow, or red) and garlic.
Fruit: what can be found on the market
There are still few locally grown fruits in the spring. Most of them are the fruits of the previous harvest or imported fruits and berries. Now on the market, you can buy:
- Apples of different varieties (green, yellow, or red), pears (green or white-yellow).
- Oranges, tangerines, limes and lemons, pomelo, and grapefruit.
- Pineapples, kiwi, avocados, bananas, and pomegranates.
- The most useful in spring is undoubtedly citruses for a large amount of vitamin C and kiwi and pomegranate. Pears and apples are not bad, but they already contain fewer vitamins.
Five best spring fruits to try
This flower-like vegetable comes from the Mediterranean but is still a novelty for our country. After boiling or steaming, the tender base of the artichoke leaves can be eaten while the tough top of the leaf is discarded. When the leaves are removed, a soft, aromatic heart opens up – the most delicious part of the artichoke.
Artichokes are loaded with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that are beneficial for overall health and glowing skin. They also lower unhealthy cholesterol, are high in fiber (helping you stay full longer), normalize digestion, and help maintain stable blood sugar.
These nutrient-rich stems are packed with vitamins and minerals. They can be eaten raw or cooked and served plain or in gourmet sauces. Asparagus is mostly served with other spring vegetables such as potatoes, peas, and garlic, but it is side dish or you can say addition to fried dishes.
Asparagus has anti-inflammatory properties, aids digestion, helps control weight, and may even reduce cancer risk.
Rhubarb stems are resilient and shiny. Rhubarb is similar in consistency to celery, but it is usually served in desserts. The stems are usually stewed with sugar and spices to make jams, cake sauces, and other sweets mixed with strawberries and sugar to fill for pies, pies, and crumbs.
Rich in fiber, rhubarb can help you lose weight, speed up metabolism, improve digestion, promote skin health, normalize blood circulation, promote heart health, and contain vitamins and minerals.
Chives (also known as chives) are indispensable in cooking and are also known for their health benefits. Chives are often used as an addition to first and second courses. Its intense flavor is suitable for salads, sauces, and dressings.
Green onions contain several vitamins, including beta-carotene, which contribute to healthy skin and good vision. It is naturally fat-free, low-calorie, rich in calcium, iron, and other nutrients. As you know it is rich in fiber so it is a great addition to a healthy diet.
Many people love strawberries, and in the spring, they are at the peak of popularity. Eat it separately as a dessert, or add it to salads, smoothies, and cereals. Here’s an interesting fact: women who regularly eat strawberries are 34% less likely to suffer from heart attacks!
Strawberries boast a wide range of heart-healthy properties, including lowering the risk of heart disease and raising blood pressure. Due to their relatively low glycemic index, strawberries are a sweet treat for people with type 2 diabetes. What’s more, strawberries may even protect against diabetes and prediabetes. They are full of fiber and contain more vitamin C than oranges.