Many area farmers markets are in full swing, offering healthy seasonal foods that are locally and regionally grown. Right now is the best time to get these in-season selections:
- Asparagus — at its peak from March through June — contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, a natural diuretic. Increased urination releases fluid and helps rid the body of excess salts, which benefits those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases. It is also low in fat, high in fiber and a good source of iron, B vitamins and vitamin C. Roast them on the grill or sauté in olive oil for a delicious, healthy addition to your meal.
- Strawberry season runs from April through June. One cup offers 3.5 grams of fiber and meets 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. Buy strawberries grown close to home for the best flavor, choosing the ones that are plump, firm and uniform in color.
- Sweet cherries are in season from late spring through early summer. They’re high in fiber and potassium and low in calories: one cup of cherries is about 100 calories. Cherries are full of anthocyanins, a type of phytochemical believed to be high in antioxidant activity.
- Fresh peas — sugar snap peas, snow peas and green peas — are at their peak from April through July. As part of the legume family, peas are low in fat and high in fiber and are a good source of plant protein.
- Flavorful and low in calories, radishes offer a distinctive flavor and are a good source of vitamin C. Choose radishes that are deep in color with solid roots for the best flavor.
- Apricots pack beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C and fiber and are a low-calorie choice to satisfy your sweet tooth. Apricots are in peak season from May to August. Grilling apricots brings out their sweetness.
- The season for morels — early spring through late June — is nearly ending, so be sure to visit your local farmers market in search of this delicious delicacy. These wild mushrooms are known for their honeycomb texture and nutty flavor.
- Technically a vegetable, rhubarb is often used as a fruit in pies and jams. In season from April through July, rhubarb stalks area good source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese.
Make the most of some of the season’s freshest foods with these delicious recipes:
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
- 1 pound rhubarb (washed and cut into 1” lengths)
- 1 pound strawberries (cleaned, hulled, and halved)
- 3 Tbsp tapioca (quick cooking)
- 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 1 1⁄2 cups oatmeal
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 egg whites
- 1⁄2 cup slivered almonds (or chopped pecans)
- 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, tapioca, cinnamon and 1 cup of brown sugar. Mix well.
- Pour into 10-inch pie dish or 8x12x2 inch baking dish coated with vegetable cooking spray.
- In the same large mixing bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Distribute evenly over the fruit.
- Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crumble is golden.
For a more elegant presentation, bake in individual dishes. You will need to reduce the cooking time by 10-15 minutes.
Nutrition Information (per serving)
284 calories (14.8% calories from fat), 4.7 grams total fat, (.5 grams sat. fat), 5 grams protein, 59 grams carbohydrate, 4.5 grams dietary fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 28 mg sodium, 115 mg calcium
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Fresh Peas and Radish Salad
- 8 ounces fresh shelled peas
- 4 ounces fresh spring radishes
- 4 ounces edamame, shelled 2 ounces arugula
- 3 ounces red onions, slivered ⅛ cup olive oil
- 3 ounces shitake mushrooms 2 ounces arugula
- 4 ounces firm tofu ⅛ cup light soy sauce
- 2 ounces white balsamic dressing
- 1/2-ounce fresh chive, chopped
- 1 ounce fresh parsley, chopped 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1 Tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
- Blanch the peas, radishes and edamame and shock in ice water.
- Toss the onions, shitakes and radishes in the olive oil, white balsamic and pepper.
- Roast in oven at 350°F for 5 minutes.
- While in the oven sprinkle tofu with soy and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Toss with the edamame, arugula, parsley and chives.
- Toss in the roasted items and drizzle with the lemon zest and juice.
Nutrition Information (per serving)
110 calories (45% calories from fat), 5 grams total fat, (.5 grams sat. fat), 5 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium
Source: University Unions
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