Insights & Actions for Healthy Living
Picking & Enjoying Vegetables in Season – Old Favorites and Some New Friends

Picking & Enjoying Vegetables in Season – Old Favorites and Some New Friends

Farmers’ Markets are seeing a resurgence in the US, as more of us are buying local food and searching for the freshest foods for ourselves and our families.

Buying fresh food means using foods more quickly so that there is little time for it to either spoil or lose essential nutrients.

Buying produce when it is in season usually means that is more affordable making it easier to stay in your food budget. Eating vegetables and fruits when they are available from local growers allows us to have a varied diet and gives us an opportunity to try new foods instead of relying on frozen or processed items.

As we all try to reduce the amount of processed foods that we serve, we are becoming more knowledgeable about buying foods during the peak of the season. Here is more information I hope you find helpful to make your next trip to the Farmer’s Market successful!

Growing Our Vegetable Knowledge

We have already talked about fruits in “How to Pick Fruit at the Peak of Flavor & Enjoyment” so let’s look at the abundance of vegetables in our markets and see when and how to select them for optimal flavor and nutrition.

I am including a few different varieties that you may not usually select, since they have great flavor, can be used in many types of recipes, and pack a nutrition punch!

Type of VegetableHow to PickNutritional InformationIdeas for UseIn Season
Amaranth

Grain-gluten free
Leaf: purple, red,
green and gold
Root: white
Grain-Seed-Flour
Choose fresh, crisp
bunches
Avoid any insect damage
Protein
Lysine
Vitamins A, C, K
Folate
B Vitamins
Zinc, Potassium
Manganese
Calcium
Leaf:
Salad
Soup
Stew
Grain/Seeds:
Cereal
Flour
Toasted
Grain usually harvested in fall
Leaves year round with
summer peak
Winter Squash
butternut
acorn
pumpkin
spaghetti
Heavy for size
Avoid soft spots
Choose hard rind
Vitamins A, C
Fiber
Vitamin B6
Pie
Soup
Steamed
Stuffed
Decorations
Baked goods
Pasta substitute
Seeds, toasted
Year round but peak
October
November
December
Summer SquashHeavy for size
Unblemished, glossy
skin
Buy small or medium size
Edible flowers
Vitamin C
Copper
Manganese
Fiber
Salads
Sauteed
Quick bread
Casserole
Au gratin
Side dish
Steamed
Over pasta
Ratatouille
Dips, raw
June
July
August
September
October
AsparagusGreen, purple, white
Tight tips
Round stalks
Avoid wilted stalks
Store in damp paper towel
Vitamins A, C, K, E
Folate
Fiber
Copper
Vitamin B1
Steamed
Sauteed
Au gratin
Eggs
Grilled
Soup
Saladds
February
March
Peak:
April
May
June
EggplantPurple, green, white
Heavy for size
Smooth, shiny skin
Free of bruises
Bright green stem
Press skin with thumb
Should spring back with
no indentation
Fiber
Vitamin B1
Copper
Phytonutrient-nasunin
Eggplant Parmesan
Ratatouille
Decorations
Roasted
Side dish
Casserole
Grilled
June
July
August
September
October
JicamaLarge
Firm
Unblemished
Fiber
Vitamin C
Potassium
Folate
Salad/Slaw
Steamed
Sauteed
Stir Fry
Soup
October
November
December
RutabagaBoth root and leaves used
Heavy for size
Avoid soft spots, cracks
Vitamin C
Vitamin B6
Fiber
Calcium
Manganese
Phosphorus
Stew
Roasted
Steamed
Boiled
Salads
Mashed
Casserole
January
February
March
April
October
November
December
LeeksUse whiter and lighter green sections
Firm stalks
Avoid brown spots
Store in paper towel
Clean thoroughly-can hold dirt
Vitamins A, C, K
Iron
Folic acid
B vitamins
Fiber
Soup
Vegetable stock
Casserole
Salad
Stir Fry
Year round
Peak:
Autumn

As is true with fruits, it is very important to wash your vegetables even if you are going to peel them. Whenever possible, eat the skin so you don’t lose valuable nutrients, including fiber.

There are so many vegetables that are fun to eat, colorful, nutritious and have a variety of cooking choices. I hope that you will try some of the varieties that you may not usually select.

There may even be a few of these that you would like to add to your home garden. I think I will be growing amaranth next year!

Here are a couple of recipes for you to try with your new vegetables!

 

Jicama Slaw

Ingredients:

1 jicama, julienned

2 large carrots, peeled and julienned

1 cup red onions, finely sliced

 ¼ red cabbage, shredded

 ½ yellow pepper, julienned

 ½ red pepper, julienned

 ¼ cup lime juice

 1 teaspoon honey

 ¼ cup red wine vinegar

 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil

 Freshly ground pepper

 Pinch of cayenne

 Chopped Cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Combine vegetables in serving bowl.

Wisk together lime juice, vinegar, honey, oil and seasonings.

Add vinaigrette to vegetables and mix thoroughly.

Top with cilantro. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Serves: 4-6

 

Amaranth Berry Pudding

Source: Bob’s Red Mill

Ingredients:

   1/2 cup Organic Amaranth Grain

   2 cups Apple Juice

   1 Lemon’s Zest

   1 Cinnamon Stick

   2 cups Berries of choice fresh or frozen

   2 Tbsp Agave Nectar

   1 Sliced Almonds for garnish

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, bring apple juice, lemon zest, cinnamon stick and amaranth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Remove cinnamon stick and stir in berries and agave. Pour the pudding into small bowls and let cool. May be served warm or cold. Garnish with almonds.

Serves: 4

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