Written by Diann Leo-Omine & Lisa Lin, Images by Lisa Lin. This publish was initially revealed in 2017 and has been up to date to incorporate produce-picking suggestions and extra pictures.
Might produce sprinkles spring with a touch of summer time in most farmer’s markets. Delectable lettuces, succulent podded peas and their shoots, and cheerful cherries welcome the beginning of lengthy vacation weekend barbecues and picnics within the park.
Different contemporary fruit and veggies which are nonetheless in season in Might embrace: artichokes, asparagus, avocado, inexperienced garlic, and strawberries. Remember to take a look at my April produce information for extra particulars on these spring fruits and veggies!
Blueberries are a fruit to maintain in your antioxidant arsenal. In addition they boast vitamin K1, manganese, and vitamin C. These juicy violet gems discover a simple residence in your morning yogurt or smoothie.
Must you wind up with a windfall of them, luscious blueberries shine in a cobbler or burst shade in a batch of muffins. You’ll be able to even freeze the blueberries in a single layer on a sheet tray to protect spring a number of months longer.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE BLUEBERRIES
You’ll almost definitely purchase blueberries in baskets or plastic clamshells. Choose baskets or clamshells with blueberries which are agency and easy, not mushy and wrinkled. Maintain blueberries in a container within the fridge for as much as per week.
RECIPES USING BLUEBERRIES
Bok choy is a member of the cabbage household, which incorporates Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale. Its specific species, Brassica rapa, attracts a detailed relationship to peppery turnip and bitter broccoli rabe.
You’re prone to see a number of several types of bok choy. In Chinese language, bok choy (白菜) means “white vegetable” and sometimes refers back to the varieties with a white stem and inexperienced leaves. Once you go to grocery shops or the farmers markets, you’ll discover varieties which are small, about 3 to 4 inches lengthy, or giant stalks which are almost a foot lengthy.
I nearly at all times purchase the smaller stalks as a result of the vegetable is extra tender; the white portion of the vegetable is just not too stringy. I discuss extra on the best way to put together bok choy within the notes for my teriyaki noodle stir fry.
In Chinese language grocery shops, you could find one thing known as 菜乾/菜干), actually “dried vegetable,” which is dried bok choy. My mother would purchase dried bok choy to make a soup often called (菜乾湯/菜干汤. (In Cantonese, it’s pronounced choy gon tong; in Mandarin, it’s cai gan tang).
You could have additionally seen one other number of bok choy often called child bok choy or Shanghai bok choy, the place the stalk and leaves are a lighter inexperienced shade. My mother calls it 青江菜 (inexperienced river vegetable), and I really feel this identify makes extra sense as a result of the vegetable is inexperienced. Nonetheless, you’ll see many Chinese language names for this number of bok choy
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE BOK CHOY
If you happen to’re selecting bok choy with white stems, decide ones with good darkish inexperienced leaves and don’t look wrinkled. You additionally wish to keep away from stalks with tiny yellow flowers within the center. This means that the vegetable is popping previous and fewer tender. Massive black spots on the stem are additionally indicators that the stalk is previous its prime. I additionally have a tendency to choose stalks that aren’t too large to make sure that bok choy is extra tender.
If you happen to’re selecting child bok choy with inexperienced stems, choose ones with leaves which are inexperienced. The outer leaves shouldn’t be turning yellow. I additionally like to choose smaller stalks that don’t look too wrinkled.
Retailer bok choy in a plastic bag in your fridge’s crisper for as much as per week.
RECIPES USING BOK CHOY
One other member of the cabbage household, broccoli is a part of the Brassica oleracea species and relative to the bok choy above. If you happen to ever thought broccoli resembles a flower bouquet, that’s as a result of the tufts of inexperienced florets are certainly the plant’s flower buds. Like it or hate it, broccoli is the epitome of a superfood. Full of nutritional vitamins C and A, folate, potassium, and fiber, that’s barely tipping the iceberg of its virtues.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE BROCCOLI
Decide broccoli with sturdy stalks and compact florets, which ought to be darkish inexperienced and even veering into purple hues. Retailer broccoli in a unfastened plastic bag within the fridge’s crisper.
RECIPES USING BROCCOLI
Cherries, cherries, cherries! If you happen to want a cheery reminder that summer time is on the horizon, look no additional than these orbs starting from golden yellow to deep purple to the extra acquainted ruby purple. Cherries are stocked with vitamin C and potassium.
If you happen to’re needing to pit a bulk quantity of cherries for a recipe, put that knife down and take a look at my how-to information and video on the best way to pit cherries with no cherry pitter. Trace: the quickest solution to pit a cherry depends on an empty wine bottle!
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE CHERRIES
Select cherries with vibrant shade which are strong and easy on the floor. Maintain within the fridge for as much as three days (in the event that they final you that lengthy!) Don’t rinse beforehand.
RECIPES USING CHERRIES
You’re probably accustomed to inexperienced onions and scallions, however have you ever tried these alliums? Each English and Chinese language types of chives are wealthy with vitamin A and calcium.
English chives are outlined by their hole skinny strands resembling grassy reeds. You typically see them garnishing a baked potato or a deviled egg. Within the grocery retailer, you’re almost definitely to see them in bundled up packages within the refrigerated herb part.
Chinese language chives (also called garlic chives or 韭菜) are recognized by their flat, foot-long blades, distinct with the assertive scent of garlic. They’re greatest for cooking, not garnishing – they in any other case could be a bit too powerful to eat straight up. You’re almost definitely to search out Chinese language chives on the Asian market and never standard grocery shops.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE CHIVES
Select chives with deep inexperienced shade and minimal discoloration. Chives ought to be perky, and shouldn’t be droopy or limp. Wrap the chives with a paper towel and retailer in a plastic bag. Then, refrigerate and use inside per week.
RECIPES USING CHIVES
Fava beans are also called broad beans. When fermented with chilis, fava beans function the premise for doubanjiang, an ingredient prominently featured in my vegan mapo tofu (素食麻婆豆腐) recipe.
Let’s be sincere, contemporary fava beans require work to organize. Sometimes, you shell the beans from the pods and blanch the beans for a couple of minutes. Then, you take away the inexperienced seed from the outer casing of the bean. Whereas there may be that work required, fava beans are certainly well worth the effort!
Nonetheless, you’ll be able to strive roasting the fava bean pods entire or fry fava beans. The excessive warmth breaks down the in any other case powerful casing across the seed. Once I was younger, my mother purchased fried and salted fava beans from Chinese language grocery shops. I’ve by no means tried making this snack by myself, however it’s positively one thing I wish to experiment with within the close to future!
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE FAVA BEANS
Early within the season, fava bean pods will look superbly inexperienced. In the direction of the top of the season, the pods begin to dry out and lose its inexperienced luster. Don’t be delay by the looks of the pods; the beans on the within are usually fantastic.
If you happen to like smaller fava beans, that are extra tender, select pods which are about 6 to eight inches. For bigger fava beans, select bigger pods with beans which are bulging. Be aware that they could be a bit bitter. Retailer the pods in a plastic bag for as much as per week. If you happen to shell the fava beans, refrigerate them in a container and use inside 4 to five days.
RECIPES USING FAVA BEANS
Leeks resemble an outsized prolonged inexperienced onion, however provide a candy, delicate various to the usual yellow onion. Be happy to substitute leeks in most any recipe that requires onions, significantly people who match a creamy taste profile.
Be aware that leeks have a tendency to gather loads of dust, particularly within the crevices the place the darkish inexperienced leaves meets the lighter inexperienced stalk. I normally slice the leeks in half and fan out the completely different layers to rinse off the dust from the leeks. Generally, it would even take 2 or three washes to get all of the dust away.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE LEEKS
Probably the most flavorful portion of leeks are usually the stalks (the sunshine inexperienced or white portion). That’s why I have a tendency to choose leeks with an extended stalk. Place leeks in a plastic bag and retailer them in a vegetable crisper. I’ve saved leeks in my fridge for as much as two weeks and so they have been nonetheless fantastic once I was able to cook dinner with them.
RECIPES USING LEEKS
Lettuce is a real welcome of spring, a break from the hardier and heartier greens like kale or cabbage. Ice inexperienced, grass inexperienced, sea inexperienced with speckles of violet, full-on burgundy – lettuce spans the spectrum of shade and form. The dietary worth of lettuce will differ by the range, however usually incorporates nutritional vitamins C and A, folate, and potassium.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE LETTUCE
Select lettuce with vibrant shade and crisp texture. A wilted, has-been head of lettuce won’t enhance itself, and will not even final the journey residence! Head lettuce (like Romaine or iceberg) will final per week after which some within the fridge, whereas leaf lettuce (Boston, little gem, purple leaf, and so on.) will solely final if even a number of days.
RECIPES USING LETTUCE
White button, cremini, portobello, oyster, shiitake, enoki, and the listing goes on. Whereas the dietary advantages fluctuate based mostly on the sort, mushrooms usually pack extra protein and B nutritional vitamins than most different varieties of produce.
This versatile fungus is nicely utilized in plant-based diets for its meaty style. Mushrooms are, actually, a pure supply of monosodium glutamate (MSG). I typically use dried shiitake mushrooms as a serious umami booster in my vegan recipes, like for congee or savory tang yuan.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE MUSHROOMS
Generally, select mushrooms with agency stems and tightly closed caps. Mushrooms don’t like an excessive amount of moisture, so retailer them in a paper bag. I normally place the paper bag stuffed with mushrooms inside a material produce bag like this. The additional material layer retains the mushrooms from drying out too shortly. Use mushrooms inside per week.
RECIPES USING MUSHROOMS
Through the spring months, you’ll probably discover bunches of onions with inexperienced tops nonetheless intact. These contemporary onions are harvested earlier than they totally mature, so they have a tendency to have the next water content material. Furthermore, the flavour of those onions are much less intense.
Against this, dry onions, are totally grown onions which are dried to forestall rotting. After the onions are dried, the outer layers of the bulb flip right into a papery sheath, often called the tunic. Just like the identify suggests, dry onions have decrease water content material and a stronger chew.
I like shopping for the brand new crop of spring onions with the inexperienced tops to benefit from cooking with your entire crop. The inexperienced tops will be sliced and cooked like scallions; they’re nice in my taro waffles!
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE ONIONS
Select bunches of spring onions with bulbs are free from main blemishes. If you happen to purchase onions with the greens nonetheless intact, you’ll be able to retailer them a unfastened plastic bag within the fridge for two to three weeks.
RECIPES USING ONIONS
PEA SHOOTS & PEA TIPS
Candy and grassy, pea shoots will be one of many rarest spring finds. Pea shoots are marked by its hole stem, bib-like leaf, and curly tendril. They’re unbelievable merely stir fried with some garlic, tossed in a salad, or as a garnish on toast. Pea suggestions are the tender leaves and stems of extra mature pea crops.
In Asian grocery shops, you’ll be able to normally discover pea shoots and pea suggestions year-round discover by the bagful. I have a tendency to search out pea shoots on the farmers market round spring time. Many farmers are beginning to promote pea shoots as microgreens.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE PEA SHOOTS
Pea shoots are normally offered by the bag or in plastic clamshells. Select baggage of pea shoots and pea suggestions which are perky and vivid inexperienced. Smaller pea shoots are youthful and extra tender. The thicker stems could be a little fibrous, so you’ll have to pluck the highest from the bottom. Retailer pea shoots in a plastic bag within the fridge for 4 to five days.
RECIPES USING PEA SHOOTS
Snap peas, in distinction to their English (shelling) pea cousins, are candy with a completely edible pod. And, you guessed it, they’ve a snap to them, particularly if eaten uncooked.
Previous to cooking, be sure you pull the string from the highest of the pea pod, or you’ll probably discover the string trapped between your enamel! Add some crunch to a stir fry or get pleasure from simply straight out of the bag.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE SNAP PEAS
Select snap peas which are vivid inexperienced and agency, with crisp exteriors. Retailer within the fridge in a paper bag for a number of days.