5 spring vegetables you should be eating
It's officially spring! And we bring you the top 5 spring vegetables you should be eating - these sturdy strong ones have survived the frost and cold to be all ready and delicious for your March dinner table. From the humble purple sprouting broccoli to the superfood sorrel (try this nutritious tangy leaf from your local farmers market and you'll be addicted), there is so much available in March that it is sure to drive away those winter blues. I share with you, my top 5 spring vegetables and also a cheeky take on making a quick and healthy salad in under 10 minutes.
Rocket Greens - Let's start with the simple, yet the shining star of spring vegetables - rocket. Full of peppery and nutty flavour, a handful of these nutritious greens can be mixed in with other leaves to brighten up any mixed salad. So rich and delicious are these beautifully "designed" dark green leaves, that just a simple drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper are enough to make them a worthy side to pastas, sandwiches or soups. For an element of extra luxury, add a few chunks of chopped feta cheese to them.
Purple Sprouting Brocolli - This vegetable was a real revelation to me in my first visits to the farmer markets. Having grown up in India, I had often stumbled across the more traditional green brocolli flower, but the beautiful shades of the purple sprouting variety simply took my breath away. Trust me when I say that this beaut is really low maintainance to grow in your own back garden or window sill pot. "Plant the seeds and forget about them" has been my mantra for the last two years. Sow the seeds between April to June for a healthy harvest the following March-May. The pretty purple heads add beauty and colour to the garden and can often be enjoyed as a healthy raw snack when picked fresh from the plant. For easy tips on growing this spring vegetable, follow the link here - Grow your purple sprouting broccoli And if you can't wait for the fruits (rather vegetables) of your labour till next year, grab some from your local farmers market or supermarket. A gentle marinade of olive oil, salt and pepper and 2-3 minutes of high heat sauté would soften them just enough to add to any stir-fry or cold salad. Cheeky Tip - mix a bit of plain natural yoghurt to stir-fried purple sprouted broccoli and make a quick side raita for your curry dinner!
Carrots - The vegetable that needs no introduction. A firm favourite around the world and certainly here in the UK. Did you know that almost 22 billion seeds are sown every year to produce 700,000 tonnes of carrots in the UK ? Did you also know that just 100gm of carrot provides almost 276% of the recommended daily allowance of manganese for an adult? (And a cheeky one) Did you know that eating too much carrots for a long period of time (like 3 large carrots everyday for months) can make your skin turn orange!? (My kids love this one). Well enough "carrotrivia" - we all know we love them - steam them, sauté them, boil them, add them to soups, salads, stir-frys or just on the side of our mains - we surely find enough ways of going through 700,000 tonnes every year as a country!
Radish - These ruby red salad vegetables are a great way of adding zing to your meals. Sometimes sweet and sometimes strong - these little gems can be a bit of hit and miss for most people. Often radishes are pickled to suppress their bitterness and enhance their sweetness, so they can be enjoyed over a period of time as a side or a topping on mixed salads. We love this simple and easy Jamie Oliver recipe to make a sweet pickle for your radishes - Sweet Radish Pickle Recipe We also love to pickle our radishes or mooli in India, follow this simple recipe to create a spicy Indian radish pickle that can be enjoyed with papaddums - Spicy Indian Radish Pickle Recipe
Sorrel - Well not that I are competitive with my vegetables, but I did save the best for the last. Have you tried this arrow shaped, smooth and crisp, utterly tangy and delicious herb yet ? Ohhh it's ever so addictive and surprisingly liked by young children and toddlers (just like a slice of lemon would be). The sorrel herb can seem quite sour with a slight hint of bitterness to start with, but once you understand it's flavour, it can be used to enhance so many everyday dishes. - Whizz a few leaves in your fresh rocket pesto - Use as a garnish on oily fish like salmon - Or mix with finely chopped garlic and soft butter to make a delicious "herby-garlicky" butter spread for crackers This was my list of favourite spring vegetables that I'm excited to greet and eat this March. But there are ever so many others that you can lay your hands on and have a bit of cheeky fun in the kitchen - beetroots, artichokes, watercress and spring onions to name a few. Of course my favourite way of enjoying them is often the cheeky way - a nice mix of everything seasonal, a little drizzle of good quality olive oil and a shameless sprinkle of our Silly Sesame sprinkle to bring it all together. What are your favourite spring vegetables ? And how do you like to eat them ? Let me know in the comments below.