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America’s Healthy
Cooking Teacher

Eating with the Seasons Part 4 of 5

I know it's not always spring (we can only wish...), but it's important to discover seasonal foods so you know what to eat when as the seasons change.

Spring

During those first warm days of spring, is there anything better than letting the sun kiss your skin as you munch on freshly picked strawberries? Spring is that time of year when we trade sweaters for sundresses and t-shirts. Boots get packed away and the sandals free our feet to be caressed by warm breezes. We walk around with silly smiles on our faces, drunk with the new life that surrounds us. At first, I want to just bask in the newly re-discovered warmth of the days, but soon enough, my thoughts turn to the foods of the season and my excitement takes on new depths.

 

The delicacy of spring foods lends a sweetness to the cuisine that is unmatched at any other time of year. The sheer nature of the foods themselves gives all your meals an air of romance and fancy. Shyly blushing apricots, graceful asparagus, earthy mushrooms, and the first tender leaves of herbs, and delicate bitter greens like arugula and dandelion wake us from our winter slumber and freshen us for the warm weather.  Strawberries’ gorgeous time is excruciatingly short, but when in their prime, still warm from the sun, they have a tangy sweetness that screams, “It’s spring!”

 

Fruits and vegetables, while largely available to us all year long are at their peak of flavor and nutrient density when they are in season. In Chinese medicine , we hold the view that various organ functions and emotions are governed by various seasons and nourished by the foods of that season.

 

In the spring, we say that our livers and gall bladders require some refreshing after a long winter so we are comfortable in the warmer weather on the way. By eating the foods of spring during spring, you provide your body with the nutrients it needs to feel refreshed for summer.

 

The stars of spring cooking and health are:

Apricots

Arugula

Asparagus

Beets

Broccoli

Carrots

Cauliflower

Chives

Dandelion

Fennel

Leeks

Mushrooms

New potatoes

Parsley

Rhubarb

Rosemary

Scallions

Spinach

Strawberries

Vidalia onions

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