In a continuation of our ‘Sandy’s Six‘ blog series, Executive Chef Sandy DiGiovanni at The Culinary Center of Kansas City shares a bit of insight from her wealth of culinary knowledge…
Winter is winding down here in the Midwest and that means the options will soon be coming at us fast and furious for a wider variety of fruits and vegetables to use in our cooking! As spring approaches and new produce arrives at the market, it’s a benefit to both our culinary creative options and our budget. Here are 6 fruits and vegetables that are perfect for using at this late winter/early spring time:
Prices are finally dropping on asparagus, thank heavens. It’s starting to be ‘in season.’ I love grilling asparagus, so this is a happy time!
- Brussel Sprouts.
Like asparagus, they are becoming more affordable. My favorite way to prepare brussel sprouts is to roast or sauté them. Bacon is a great match with brussel sprouts. Just remove the outer leaves of the brussel sprouts and cut them in half. Place them on a cooking sheet with small pieces of uncooked bacon, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and bake for about 20-30 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through. For a special treat, add some dried cranberries toward the end of the baking time.
- Spring Peas.
Enjoy the peas fresh now or freeze them for later use. For the best flash-freezing of the peas, shell the peas and put them single layer on a baking sheet. Let them freeze in the pan, then store them in freezer-safe bags for storing up to six months.
It’s nearing the end of the season, but I’m really enjoying pears right now. They’re not great for freezing, but there are other ways to enjoy them than as just your basic fresh, hand-held treat. Try making Pear Crisps – slice them skin-on and sauté. They’re a tasty addition to a salad. Or substitute pears for the apple in our Grandma’s Apple Crisp recipe (click here). Delicious!
This is prime season for grapefruit and oranges. There’s just nothing like starting your day with a ruby red grapefruit or a juicy orange – so sweet, it’s like eating nature’s candy. I also like to grill grapefruit. Keep the rind on and cut in thick slices to grill with chicken or fish. Yum.
- Strawberries and Cantaloupe.
Prices are starting to drop on strawberries and cantaloupe, and the quality of this produce is starting to improve as spring nears. Start including these on your shopping list and weaving them into your menu plans. (Click here to find a Cantaloupe Salsa recipe we have posted on our Kitchen Talk blog!)
The change of the produce seasons brings to me the excitement that the changing of winter-to-summer wardrobes brings to some other people!
These are some of my favorite produce of the season – what are yours?