After the barren winter season, spring once again offers a rich selection of fresh herbs and vegetables. They do not only promise a particularly fine and aromatic pleasure, but also provide valuable vitamins and minerals to strengthen the immune system.
Among the most popular spring vegetables rank asparagus, early season potatoes, carrots, radishes, cabbage turnips, spinach and many green salads. Various herbs such as chives, parsley, basil or bear’s garlic can be harvested fresh again, to enrich the cuisine in flavours and ingredients.
The asparagus season starts in October. A differentiation is made between green asparagus, which grows above the ground and white asparagus, which grows under the ground. It contains vitamin C, carotene and has a dehydrating effect.
Early season potatoes can be found on markets in September. They are important suppliers of vitamin C and can be eaten with their delicate skin.
Carrots from local farming are available from late November. Spring carrots are gentler than later cultivars and therefore are particularly easy to digest. They have a high content of beta carotene, folic acid, vitamin C, and iron.
Radishes are harvested early November. Again, the early cultivar is particularly mild. The mustard oils contained in radish have an antibacterial effect. They also provide plenty of fibers, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.
Particularly delicate lettuces can be obtained from mid-October. They also strengthen the immune system by a number of vitamins and minerals. Topped with light dressings and fresh spring herbs they give new power.
Those who can not benefit from home-grown vegetables should pay attention to buy local goods and not to revert to vegetables from greenhouses abroad with a long journey. These vegetables are usually harvested immature and therefore contain less flavour and vitamins. During long transport times many of the vitamines get lost. Organically grown vegetable is especially recommended since no chemical fertilizers are used and thus the disquieting nitrate levels are much lower.
Not only the origin but also the storage affects the taste and contents of the very delicate spring vegetables. To maintain the quality, the storage time should not exceed three days. Vegetables are properly stored in the crisper of the refrigerator where superb temperature and humidity can be found. Vegetable which is stored too cold can become glassy and lose flavour. On the other hand, if it is stored too warm, it dries quickly and gets tough. In addition, also think of storing different vegetables separately from each other as the particular maturity levels affect each other.
To keep the valuable ingredients and the excellent taste, the type of preparation is crucial. Spring vegetables should be prepared very carefully at low temperatures. Ideally, vegetable is eaten raw or for example as vegetable carpaccio, see recipe below.
Properly purchased, stored and prepared, spring vegetables and herbs offer a colourful variety of beneficial ingredients to finally expel the last of spring fever.
Recipe idea: Vegetable Carpaccio
For 2 persons
1 large carrot
1 cabbage turnip
1 small zucchini
about 100 g snow peas
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 bunch basil
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic viegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lime
First peel carrot and cabbage turnip. Slice them, together with zucchini, into very thin pieces. Roast pine nuts in a pan. Cut basil leaves into thin strips and tomatoes into small cubes. Spread carrots, cabbage turnip, zucchini and snow peas on plates.
Mix balsamic vinegar with olive oil, lime juice, pepper, salt, a hint of sugar and a finely chopped garlic clove. Add tomatoes and basil. Drizzle over the vegetables. Finally sprinkle with roasted pine nuts.
Preparation time: approx. 20 minutes