Behold, my friends, the Spring is come;

the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!

It seems Spring is upon us, in some cases it has already sprung! I suppose it depends on were you are. Today’s blog is about the first harvest. We have finished up with the reserves of 2020, it’s a new year! So lets have a look at the kinds of bounty we can be using on our menus moving forward.

Eating seasonally is a great way to get the freshest, most flavorful produce around, and as local markets start filling up with early-spring vegetables, it’s finally time for the asparagus-fest to commence! This is one of my favorite times of year for food. The bounty is green, so to speak. The most delicate and healthy foods are with us for a short time, so make good use of them. Remember to put some away for later in the form of preserves, pickles, jams and jellies. So, let’s have a look at the basic list, how to harvest, where to find them and what to do with them.

Sure, you can technically get “asparagus” year-round, but the kind of “asparagus” you get in a grocery store in November really ought to come with a warning label reminding you that it only passingly resembles the real thing. Truly fresh asparagus picked at the height of its season has a delicate flavor and a light crunch that works perfectly with eggs, steak, or just about anything else. if your entertaining the idea of growing it, keep in mind it will take three seasons to get a return on your sweat equity.

Try it in…

Rhubarb has a bit of a pucker to it, to put it mildly. It’s not the kind of vegetable you just grab and chow down on. But you also don’t need to drown it in sugar, and in fact, it doesn’t even have to be dessert at all! Try it in…

Spring onions (scallions) are a year-round crop, but spring onions are best in the earlier months – these are the ones with the long green stems and white bulbs that are just barely thicker than the ends of the stems. They’re pretty mild, and they’re particularly great for people with a FODMAPs sensitivity, because most people can still eat the green stems, even if they can’t eat the white bulbs.

Mustard greens have a slightly peppery flavor, a little bit like arugula, but not quite so intense. Most people like them better cooked than raw; they make a nice change from spinach and kale. You can use mustard greens in almost any recipe that calls for collards or other cooking greens, or try them in stir fry’s, sautes and ragouts.

  • New potatoes are in season in the late spring to early summer – they’re small and tender, and perfect for salads or roasting. They’re slightly sweeter than regular potatoes, and have a firmer texture. Try them in…

Arugula, or rocket, is a green with a serious attitude. You can get it spring through fall, but it’s a little bit milder in the spring, so if you’re not totally sold on the full-on bite of summertime arugula, the springtime version is much milder. Try it in…

Strawberries are the early birds of berries, showing up at the start of the season to whet your appetite for the summertime bounty to come. (Unless, of course, you live in Florida, in which case strawberry season is in the late fall!). Strawberries are tasty in desserts, but here’s a collection of savory recipes that feature them in salads or with vegetables as part of a main course:

FORAGING

From tender young dandelion greens (get ‘em before they bloom!) to the famous morel mushrooms to regional favorites like fiddleheads, what you forage will depend on where you are. A good place to start for recipes is to search for foraging guides for your area; in the mean time, here are some common favorites:

  • Dandelion greens: everyone knows what they look like; here’s how to make them into dandelion green salad. (Terra Americana)
  • Morel mushrooms: here’s a quick guide to identifying and finding them, including some lookalikes to avoid.
  • Ramps: ramps are wild onions that grow in the Eastern regions in Ontario, Quebec and have an intensely devoted following among amateur foragers who just can’t get enough of the taste.

Thanks for popping buy! Maybe set a little time aside to investigate your local markets, farmers and forests, who knows what you will find. Happy Cooking!