Five Early Spring Vegetables
Ah, spring. We’ve suffered through the cold and dark of winter long enough, and we are now rewarded with the harvests of the new season. As the sun stays out longer, and the snow and frost melts away from the ground, we start to see early signs of greenery growing out from under: the first bulbs pushing through the soil, and buds on the trees. These are reminiscent of the first spring vegetables also found in our farmer’s markets! All the vegetables on this list are early spring harvests, each with a delicate taste and texture. They are perfect to enjoy right after the cold and right before the sun gets too hot to appreciate the subtle flavor.
1. Fiddlehead Fern
These little beauties are not around for long! Make sure you make your rounds at the farmer’s market quickly, or else you might miss your chance to taste them. They appear in mid-spring. They have an amazing crisp texture, making them perfect for sauteeing. Be sure to clean them well.
2. Parsley and Mint
If you have ever grown an herb garden, you know that these two herbs grow rampant in the spring time. The cool air and frequent rain serves as a great environment for both parsley and mint, and their flavors pair great together or separately in any of your spring dishes. Try mint in a new way, such as in a sweet dessert, and try fresh parsley in a vinaigrette or salsa verde in place of some of the cilantro.
3. Garlic Scapes
This tendril-like creature is the flowering part of the garlic plant. They have a garlic-y aroma and taste, but are much less pungent and are great for eating as a vegetable, rather than as a seasoning! Try grilling them, or using them for a pesto!
4. Pea Greens
Pea greens, or pea shoots, are similar to garlic scapes as in they are the flowering bud of the pea plant! This is a common theme in many spring vegetables: the flowering part of the plant buds first, and if it can be eaten, it usually is! These are an extremely delicate vegetable, so its best to prepare these without a lot of heavy ingredients (or just eat them on their own as a salad.)
Ramps are a variation of the spring onion. They are really delicious, really popular, and fairly expensive—but worth it! Cooking these in a high temperature, as you would if you grilled or roasted them, will make the bulbs sweet and easy to eat. Many people also pickle them to enjoy them year-round.
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