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by • March 30, 2015 • Recipes, What's in SeasonComments Off on Spring’s Best of the Bunch1270

Spring’s Best of the Bunch

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One of the best parts of transitioning from one season to the next is all the different fruits and veggies that are at their best. Here are our seasonal picks for spring with all the need-to-know info to keep these treats at their absolute yummiest! 

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>> nutritional facts
Asparagus is the perfect green compliment to any meal; it’s nutrient-dense, high in Folic Acid, a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, and thiamin. It also has zero fat, contains no cholesterol and is very low in Sodium.

>> buy the best
If the asparagus is firm to the touch—spears are strong and unbendable— and bright green, you’ve got a good bunch. We also recommend checking the tops of the spears and making sure they’re closed tightly. A dark green or purple tint to the tips indicates the asparagus is good quality; yellow, dried out or mushy tips means the asparagus is too old.

>> storage how-tos
Make sure you do not wash your asparagus before storing them in the fridge. To keep them fresh and crunchy in storage, trim the ends of the asparagus and stand them upright in a jar filled with about an inch of water. Cover with a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for up to two days max.

>> prep process
Rinse the asparagus spears under cool water to remove any dirt and grit. Snap off the bottom inch or so with your hands (the stem will naturally break near the tough end), and dry the spears by rolling them in clean kitchen towels.

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>> nutritional facts 
Artichokes are low in calories and fat, are a rich source of dietary fiber and anti-oxidants, and are an excellent source of vitamin C and Folic Acid.

>> buy the best
Check the leaves of the artichoke to see if it’s at its prime. If the leaves are clinging tightly together, the artichoke is good to grab. If the leaves are open, the artichoke will lack taste.

Once the leaves past the test, check the color of the stem and body. A dark brown stem and leaves with brown or soft spots are signs that the artichoke might be old. Always choose an artichoke with firm, light green leaves and a pale, fresh-looking stem.

Last, check the weight of the artichoke to make sure it’s heavy and firm. Press your thumb against the bottom of the artichoke, and feel for hardness. If it is soft and light, put it down and choose another!

>>storage how tos
Avoid storing your artichokes in a plastic bag. Moisture will build up in the bag and cause your artichokes spoil.

>> prep process
Preparing artichokes might be a little more time consuming than other veggies, but the taste is worth it! After rinsing under water, cut off the bottom of the stem, leaving about 1/2 inch. Pull off the small fibrous dark leaves around the base, and cut off the top 1/2 inch of the artichoke. Using scissors, trim off the sharp, pointy tips of the remaining leaves.

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>> nutritional facts
Besides being a delicious and healthy snack between meals, mangoes are rich in pre-biotic dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.

>> buy the best
Like avocados and peaches, ripe mangoes are soft to the touch— not too hard and not too mushy. If you plan on eating the mango soon after buying, buy one thats soft below the skin.

A good mango is football-shaped; avoid flat or thin mangoes because they’re likely to be stringy. Also steer clear of mangoes with wrinkled or shriveled skin because they will no longer be ripe.

Smelling the mango is another indicator if it’s good to buy, or if you should grab another. Ripe mangoes have sweet, fragrant aromas near the stem. If it smells like you’d want to eat it, you’re probably right!

>> storage how tos 
Store mango at room temperature until ripe, and then refrigerate in a plastic bag until ready to eat. Store in fridge for 2-5 days.

>> prep process
Wash mango under cold water and clean the outer skin with a paper towel or soft cloth to remove the dust and surface pesticide residue. Cut the fruit lengthwise into three pieces (the middle potion should consists of husky seeds), and slice through the skin to separate it from the pulp.

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>> nutritional facts
Pineapples contain high amounts of vitamin C, are fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in Sodium. Regularly consuming pineapples has been found to improve bone strength, eye health, digestion, has anti-inflammatory benefits, reduces blot clots and fights common colds.

>> buy the best
Put pineapples to the smell test before making the purchase. A sweet scent is usually most important when choosing a ripe pineapple. If there is no scent, it is not ripe.

You should also keep an eye out for color. Ripe pineapples are golden-yellow, not green, and leaves should be a healthy green color, not brown and crackly.

An easy test to make sure your pineapple is ripe is by plucking a leaf from the top of the pineapple. If it comes out without too much struggle, it should be in its prime!

>> storage how tos
Store your pineapple on the counter in a fruit bowl or in the fridge for 1-2 days.

>> prep process
Using a sharp knife, cut leaves and base off fruit. Rest the pineapple on its base and slice the peel in a downward sawing motion to remove it, working your way round the whole fruit. Remove any “eyes” by cutting small ‘v’ shaped grooves diagonally down either side of the eyes again, working all the way around the fruit. Cut into thin rounds, or cut lengthwise into quarters, remove the woody core and then cut into chunks.

happy pickings!

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