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 highly ranked are asparagus, early season potatoes, carrots, radishes, cabbage turnips, spinach and many green salads. Various herbs such as chives, parsley, basil or wild garlic can be harvested fresh again, to enrich the flavours and ingredients into your cuisine.
The asparagus season starts in April. A differentiation is made between green asparagus, which grows above the ground and white asparagus, which grows under ground. It contains vitamin C, carotene and has a dehydrating effect.
Early season potatoes can be found in green grochers in May. They are important suppliers of vitamin C and can be eaten with their delicate skin.
Carrots are available from late May. 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 May. Again, the early cultivar is particularly mild. The mustard oils contained in radish have an antibacterial effect. They also provide plenty of fibre, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.
Particularly delicate lettuces can be obtained from mid-April. They also strengthen the immune system with a number of vitamins and minerals. Topped with a light dressing and fresh spring herbs they are given a new taste.
Those who do not benefit from home-grown vegetables should try to buy locally grown goods and not to revert to vegetables from abroad which have had a long journey. These vegetables are usually harvested forcefully and therefore contain less flavour and vitamins. Organically grown vegetables are recommended since no chemical fertilizers are used and thus the disquieting nitrate levels are much lower.
Not only the origin but also the storage effects the taste and contents of very delicate spring vegetables. To maintain the quality, the storage time should not exceed three days. Vegetables are properly stored in the salad drawer of the refrigerator where superb temperature and humidity can be found. Vegetables which are 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, vegetables eaten raw or for example as vegetable gazpacho, see recipe below.
Recipe idea: Vegetable Carpaccio
Freshly purchased, stored and prepared, spring vegetables and herbs offer a colourful variety of beneficial ingredients to finally expel the last of spring fever.
For 2 persons
1 large carrot
1 cabbage turnip
1 small Courgette
about 100 g sugersnap peas
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 bunch basil
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lime
First peel carrot and cabbage turnip. Slice them, together with courgette, 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, courgette and suger snap 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