After record snow fall this winter, the sun is finally peeking out through the clouds and the cherry blossoms are in bloom! With the dawn of spring comes the decisions farmers need to make to yield a plentiful fall harvest. Yet, in the meantime, an abundance of local fresh crops awaits to be added to your weekly grocery list this April.
Apple season has turned the corner and will ending in April/May. This fresh crisp fruit is best when bought organic and local. You know the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away!” There’s much truth to this popular phrase as apples provide fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and bioflavonoids.
Asparagus – it’s here and it’s local! This locally grown vegetable only peaks three months out of the year and starts in April! Start scanning your local farmer market or grocery store for fresh bundles of asparagus to complement your kale salad or grilled steak. Have seasonal allergies? Asparagus is particularly high in the allergy fighting antioxidant called quercetin. You will also consume a healthy dose of vitamin K, folate and selenium. Store the spear bundle with a damp paper towel and consume within 48 hours for maximum nutrient benefit. Healthy sauté time for asparagus is 3-5 minutes; the thinner the spears, the less time they need to cook.
Rhubarb is making an entrance this April as well! This tart stem is packed with nutrients such as vitamin K and antioxidants such as, yes you guessed it, quercetin! Vitamin K will help with bone metabolism and decrease risk for bone fractures. Quercetin not only helps relieve the nasal congestion and itchy eyes during allergy season, it helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer. Rhubarb is best known for making rhubarb pie, a sweet nutritious treat to welcome the beginning of spring!
I couldn’t end this article without giving you an obligatory delicious Rhubarb “Pie” Crisp recipe! Created by Lindsay at PinchofYum.com. The recipe is Paleo, which means the ingredients are gluten-free, dairy-free and low sugar. Give it a shot, I know I will!
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Author: Pinch of Yum Serves: 8
Ingredients For the filling
2 cups rhubarb, diced
2 cups strawberries, diced
zest from one orange (or lemon)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 Tablespoons honey
a pinch of salt
1 1⁄2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder*
For the crumbles
1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
3⁄4 cups almond flour
2 Tablespoons coconut flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup honey
4 Tablespoons coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the strawberries and rhubarb in a large mixing bowl with the orange zest, lemon juice, honey, salt, and arrowroot powder and mix well.
- Mix the pecans, flours, cinnamon, salt and honey together in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the coconut oil with your hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture begins to form crumbs.
- Grease an oven proof casserole or skillet and spoon in the fruit filling. Crumble the topping evenly over the top. Bake for 25 minutes, checking occasionally. When the topping is browned and the fruit is bubbling, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
*Arrowroot powder acts like cornstarch. I found some at my regular grocery store (good ol’ Cub Foods) in the spice section.
Recipe by Pinch of Yum at http://pinchofyum.com/paleo-strawberry-rhubarb-crisp