From Our Chefs

Spring Ingredient Guide: Our Top 15 to Grab as the Weather Warms Up

Spring is almost here! Winter hit us hard this year, but we’re looking forward to all of the amazing fresh dishes we’ll be cooking as the temps heat up. Seasonal produce can vary slightly depending on where you are geographically, but this guide is a general rule for those living across the United States. Look for them at your local farmers market!

spring produce

1. Artichokes

The edible bud of a flower. Humans have been cultivating Artichokes since Roman times. They have a divine earthy flavor and hearty, meaty texture. They require a little prep work, but they’re well worth it.

Sourcing tips: Look for tight, compact leaves and fresh-cut stems that are plump-looking and firm to touch. Avoid shriveled-looking leaves.

Preparation tips: Steam whole, add a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of butter, or aioli to dip and you're set! Artichoke hearts are delicious batter-fried or chopped and used in pastas, on top of pizzas or even in salads.

2. Asparagus

It can take 3–4 years to grow to a harvestable length, so you can think of it as a luxury vegetable.

Sourcing tips: Look for spears with firm stalks. Asparagus becomes thicker, the later it grows in harvest and can be bitter and woody. Avoid: wrinkly, limp stalks.

Preparation tips: Try it puréed in soups, pan-seared, or steamed! It makes the perfect side dish with a light and simple seasoning such as vinaigrette, balsamic, lemon, or salt and pepper.

3. Beets

This sweet root vegetable comes in an array of bright colors, adding a beautiful touch to any dish.

Sourcing tips: Look for firm, smooth, and blemish-free spring beats. Look for bright green, perky leaves.

Preparation tips: Roasted beets are perfect for soups, purées, sandwiches or wraps! Pickled beets are a classic way to add a punch to any dish.

4. Carrots

Think outside of the crudité platter! A kid friendly veggie that also grows in an array of colors. Sourcing tips: Look smooth, firm, and crisp with deep color. avoid any soft spots, discoloration, or sprouts from the root itself.

Preparation tips: We love this fun recommendation to think outside of the box from Saveur: “carrots, grated raw with honey and spices for a punchy salad, roasted with orange zest, and baked into sweet cakes and breads.”

5. Fava Bean

Mediterranean favorite with a growing fan base.

Sourcing tips: For fresh fava beans, aim for bright green pods. Smaller beans tend to be sweeter and more tender. For shelled beans, select beans, look for a smooth surface.

Preparation tips: Fava beans work well in stews, purées and salads. They’re also delicious grilled whole and eaten from the pods with a pinch of salt and a little lemon.

6. Leeks

A relative of both onions and garlic. It has a milder, sweeter flavor than it’s cousins. It adds a punch to a dish, without overpowering more subtle ingredients.

Sourcing tips: Leeks that are wider than 1.5 inches tend to be tougher. The top leaves should be fresh and perky. Smaller, younger leeks are more tender and mild.

Preparation tips: Sautéed and added to egg dishes, savory tarts, soups and pretty much anywhere you'd use sweet onions.

7. Morels

The first mushrooms to appear in the spring! They have honeycomb-shaped structures throughout the cap and spores visible to the naked eye.

Sourcing tips: Look for firm, plump mushrooms with ends that aren’t dried out. Avoid bruised or softening morels, as they can rot quickly. Find them at specialty markets and foragers' stalls at farmers markets.

Preparation tips: They have a meaty, earthy flavor. Wonderful pan-fried or sautéed in a touch of butter. Pairs well with other fresh spring vegetables.

Warning: Never eat Morels raw due to trace amounts of toxins!

8. Onion

Endlessly versatile, onions are a foundation of flavor in cuisines the world over. Spring onions are actually immature onions that are pulled before the bulbs are fully formed.

Sourcing tips: Look for shiny, tissue-thin skin. Avoid discoloration or soft spots.

Preparation tips: Use them in everything from fresh salads to creamy soups.

9. Peas

That veggie you were taught to hate as a child. We promise, you can still avoid mushy peas at all costs! But, early spring yields both garden peas and snap peas. Both are amazing raw or in a cooked dish.

Sourcing tips: Look for firm, green pods. Large, thick-skinned pods, tend to have larger, tougher peas.

Preparation tips: Add a crispy crunch to salads, stir-fries or test them out mixed into a risotto dish!

spring peas

10. New Potatoes

Ahh, the potato. Arguably one of the most versatile foods on the planet. Cultivated by humans for more than 5000 years, the potato is a staple food in cultures all around the world.

Sourcing tips: Choose potatoes that are firm with no soft or dark spots, cuts, or holes. Avoid old potatoes that have started to sprout or have a green tinge to them.

Preparation tips: The possibilities are endless! High starch potatoes like russets, purple or blue potatoes, have a fluffier texture and are best for baking or french fries. Waxy red, white, and yellow potatoes hold their shape better, and are often better for salads or gratins. New potatoes, the small ones, are freshly dug in spring and have a thin, delicate skin perfect for roasting whole.

11. Spring Radish

Ancient Greeks gave the radish it’s name because of how fast it grows! They’re some of the first vegetables you’ll see at markets in the spring.

Sourcing tips: Aim for firm radishes with bright green tops and brightly colored roots. Avoid: Cracks, spots or squishy centers.

Preparation tips: Usually eaten raw or pickled, they're also great roasted or sliced and sautéed.

12. Rhubarb

Does it remind you of your Grandmother’s pie? The intensely tart flavor and velvety texture is offset with sugar and baked into pies.

Sourcing tips: Stalks should be a vibrant pink or light green, glossy, and firm. A deeper the color, generally means a sweeter stalk.

Preparation tips: In the U.S. it is usually treated like a fruit, but it’s also fantastic in savory dishes.

spring Rhubarb
spri

13. Scallions

It’s common for immature onions to be referred to as scallions, but true scallions will have straight sides where the stem meets the root, opposed to the curved beginnings of a bulb.

Sourcing tips: Look for bright green tops and firm white bases. Avoid wet, wilted, or slimy scallions.

Preparation tips: Add them to omelettes and stir-fries, or use them to top salads or soups.

14. Spinach

While spinach is available year-round, it’s especially flavorful in spring and summer, when the leaves are especially delicate and tender.

Sourcing tips: Look for crisp, dark green and smooth leaves. If you’re getting pre-packaged spinach, be sure to examine the back to make sure all of the leaves look fresh.

Preparation tips: In salads, smoothies, saag paneer, inside of an omelette, the sky’s the limit!

15. Strawberries

In modern times, strawberries are usually accessible in grocery stores year round. But, they truly shine in season mid-late spring through summer.

Sourcing tips: Look for bright color and plump berries. Be sure to check for mushiness and mold.

Preparation tips: Amazing fresh from the bush, they can be added to salads, parfaits, shortcakes, pies, etc! Strawberry preserves are a great way to make the fresh strawberry flavor last all year.

strawberries
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