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The healthiest foods for spring

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The heat is coming and with good weather we are adding a variety of foods to the shopping basket. Although it is true that in the face of summer we increase even more the diversity of fruits and vegetables that we find in the market, now we are beginning to have a considerable variety and, of course, it is interesting to take advantage of it.

The healthiest  seasonal foods are at their best, both nutritionally and organoleptic, or what is the same, in terms of flavor, color, aroma, texture, etc. In addition, as it is the moment of its collection, local products arrive at an optimal point of maturity and at the best price. For all these reasons, it is clear that we must take advantage of the possibilities offered by  the healthiest foods  of each season of the year.

For this we propose recipes on some of the foods that, as we have just mentioned, and that… are in season!

The healthiest foods for this spring

 

Loquats

The medlar is the fruit of a tree that, in addition to being cultivated, is used for ornamental purposes. The fruit is a sweet and fleshy food that, when eaten, can leave us a certain sensation of roughness or astringency due to the tannins it contains. Loquats are very rich in  fiber  and provide us with water, sugars (around 10%), potassium, magnesium, calcium and beta-carotene (provitamin A).

    Depending on the variety, its size and color can vary, from whitish to more intense orange, which will be richer in beta-carotene. They are delicate and quickly darken if they receive blows. When handled, they stain quickly and in contact with the skin they darken it, so if we have to peel and debone several it is advisable to wear gloves. In the kitchen we can use them in salads, smoothies, pastries, cooked pasta or meat dishes as a dressing, etc.

    Culinary suggestions:

    • Red cabbage salad, bean sprouts, green leaves, orange, medlar and ham shavings (optional).
    • Medlar smothie with carrot, lemon zest, almonds and vegetable drink.

     

    Asparagus

    Asparagus are young shoots of the asparagus plant and are now at their best harvest time. They provide us with water, a lot of fiber and very few calories, since their macronutrient content is very low. We can only highlight the protein part, in relation to other vegetables that hardly contain. As for minerals, they contain potassium, iron, phosphorus, iodine, calcium and magnesium to a lesser extent. And, in terms of vitamins, we can highlight folic acid, beta-carotenes and vitamins C and E. To a lesser extent they also contain other B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B6. Asparagus can be used in a multitude of dishes, they are good in scrambled, sautéed with other vegetables and / or with pasta or long rice, also in risottos, tortillas, salads, etc.

    Culinary suggestions:

    • Wild asparagus sautéed with leek, pasta bowls and shrimp.
    • Crispy baked asparagus, breaded and au gratin with Parmesan cheese.

     

    Green peas

    Peas, despite what many people believe, are legumes, so we must frame them with the group of  legumes  along with lentils, chickpeas, white beans, etc. Now, the young peas or snow peas that are harvested at this time, being so tender, can be consumed with the whole pod and this makes them nutritionally more similar to vegetables. If we talk about dry peas we have to bear in mind that they are much more concentrated products as they have little amount of water, while snow peas or green peas have more water and lower nutrient density, they are sources of fiber, vegetable protein, and complex carbohydrates contain potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus, and vitamins such as folates, niacin and vitamin C.
    They can be prepared in a thousand ways, they are widely used as a garnish or complement in stews, but they can also be part of salads, soups, creams, stir-fries … and they combine well with cereals such as rice, couscous or pasta.

    Culinary suggestions:

    • Pea cream with avocado and a touch of mint.
    • Sauteed peas with chives, beets and wheat grains or pasta.

     

    Healthiest Foods: Apricots

    The apricot is a fleshy fruit of the Rosaceae family, which despite its sweet taste, contains a lot of water and is quite low in sugars compared to other fruits. It provides us with fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and provitamin A in the form of beta carotenes, as we can imagine when we see its orange color.
    They are delicate fruits that, if we press them quickly, start their deterioration, so it is necessary to treat them with great care when they are already at their optimum point of maturity. Despite being able to be consumed as fresh fruit, they can be part of smoothies, elaborate desserts, salads and also as an accompaniment to pasta, rice or meat dishes.

    Culinary suggestions:

    • Mousse or yogurt cream with banana and apricot. (If you prefer it can be made with fresh cheese).
    • Baked turkey with rosemary and apricots. (The apricots are put last or they are made round and round in a pan).

     

    Tender garlic

    Young garlic is a food with a nutritional composition very similar to garlic, but with a greater amount of water and, therefore, a lower concentration of the rest of the nutrients, which also gives it a milder flavor that makes it a more versatile product. The amount of garlic or tender garlic that we can consume on a plate is really low, so although its caloric density is higher than that of other vegetables, more garlic than tender garlic, this is not relevant. Despite this, we can comment that it is a food rich in minerals and vitamins as it contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and iodine, and contains vitamins of group B, such as B1, B3, B6 and small amounts of vitamin C and E.

    In the kitchen its role can acquire great relevance, since the touch of flavor that it gives to the dishes is remarkable, however, in many homes, or it enchants and is used almost for everything, or it is hardly used at all. We can season baked or grilled meats, vegetable stews, fish, legumes, meat … Also in wok-style stir-fries, in a thousand ways. And, of course, it is a classic in the preparation of scrambled eggs and tortillas.

    Culinary suggestions:

    • Cod with potatoes, broken eggs and garlic.
    • Wok with green beans, carrots, bell peppers, garlic and sliced ​​almonds. (It can be seasoned with soy sauce for an oriental touch, or with olive oil or a citrus and / or ginger vinaigrette).

     

    What you should know…

    • Good weather brings new fruits and vegetables that should be exploited for their flavor, nutritional properties and preparation possibilities.
    • Fruits such as loquats or apricots, passing through the market quickly, will provide us with beta-carotenes, ideal at this time to take care of the skin.
    • Peas, asparagus and garlic allow us to prepare healthy, light and very appetizing recipes in the form of creams, salads, dressings …

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