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What's In Season?

Eating in season can be a great way to explore new foods and to help local farmers. On these pages will will profile some of our favourites, sharing recipes and other tips on how best to enjoy them. We will also profile new animal-free products that make the transition to a plant-based diet a little easier.
  • Mon, April 30, 2012 2:02 PM | Anonymous

    ASPARAGUS (asparagus officianlis)


    Spring means that asparagus is plentiful, reasonably priced and on the menu everywhere. Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence. It leads nearly all produce items in the wide array of nutrients it supplies in significant amounts for a healthy diet. Fat-free, very low in sodium, an excellent source of folic acid, thiamin, B6, and a good source of potassium and fibre. It is also a natural diuretic. 'Fat Grass' comes in green, white and purple, and yes, it can sometimes make your pee smell funny (although not everyone can smell it!). Asparagus goes the extra mile by also being very low in pesticide contamination.

    How asparagus grows: A member of the Lily family, asparagus spears grow from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils. Each crown will send spears up for about 6-7 weeks during the spring and early summer. under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10" in a 24-hour period! The outdoor temperature determines how much time will be between each picking...early in the season, there may be 4-5 days between pickings and as the days and nights get warmer, a particular field may have to be picked every 24 hours.  After harvesting is done the spears grow into ferns, which produce red berries and the food and nutrients necessary for a healthy and productive crop the next season.

    You can roast the fat ones, and serve skinny ones raw. Serve with dip or wrap in pastry, you really can't go wrong with these finger-friendly nutritional powerhouses.


    How to select asparagus: What's better, thin or thick stalks of asparagus?
    Both. Every spring there is an endless debate over which is better, thin or thick stalks. What' really important is the quality of the stalk: look for straight, firm green stalks with light purple tinged tips. Look at the bottoms of the stalks. If they're white, dry, and woody, then they're probably old. Also avoid shriveled, overly dry, or pitted stalks.

    How do you store asparagus? Here are three ways:
    1. Trim the bottoms of the stalks and stand them upright in an inch or two of cold water in the refrigerator; loosely cover the stalks with a plastic bag. Asparagus should last 3-4 days, unless it's fresh from the farmers' market, in which case, it could last up to 6 days.
    2. Wrap the bunch of asparagus with a damp paper towel and place in the vegetable bin for 3-4 days.
    3. Par-boil the stalks for 1 1/2-2 minutes, then plunge in a bowl of ice water for 2-3 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

    How do you trim asparagus?
    Sanpping off the stalk works just fine. Hold the asparagus stalk with two hands and bend it. You'll feel a natural pull toward the bottom third of the stalk, where it feel like it wants to snap. Give it a quick snap, and the bottom will pop right off. If the stalks are really tender, this part isn't even necessary. Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler and shave off the thick, woody parts on the bottom.

    How do you cook asparagus?
    Very lightly. Nothing ruins asparagus more than overcooking it. You can boil, steam, roast, bake, grill, saute, or nuke it. You decide. Just keep it al dente, so it still has some crispness when you bite into it.


     

    Asparagus with Maple Tahini Dressing Recipe

    from  http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.ca

    Cook this batch of asparagus quickly- not even five minutes- because you want the stalks to be tender but ever-so-slightly crisp. Served them at room temperature with our favorite dressing.

    Ingredients:

    1 bunch of perky thin asparagus, enough for four servings

    For the dressing:
    2 tablespoons sesame tahini
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Hot water, as needed

    For serving:

    Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt

    Instructions:

    Trim the bottom ends of the asparagus stalks, rinse, and lay them in a skillet; I used my big iron skillet. Add just enough water to keep them from scorching and cook them briefly, rotating them until they are bright green. Taste test for doneness to your liking.

    Rinse them quickly in cool water (do this to stop them from cooking, getting too soft, and turning yellowish green; bright and crisp is best for this dressing).

    Whisk the dressing ingredients in a glass measuring cup; add a little bit of hot water to thin. Whisk till smooth. Taste test and adjust the balance of sweet and nutty and tart.

    Serve the drained asparagus on a plate with a drizzle of Maple Tahini Dressing and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

    Cook time: 5 min

    Yield: Serves 4


    More asparagus recipes from food bloggers:

    Vegan Ricotta Ravioli with Asparagus Walnut Pesto

    Low-Fat Roasted Asparagus Soup

    Asparagus Mushroom Lasagna
  • Mon, April 30, 2012 2:00 PM | Anonymous
    What's in season in April?

    Apples, Asparagus, Chives, Pears, Rhubarb, Rosemary, Sage, Spinach.

    What's in season in May?

    Apples, Asparagus, Chives, Fiddleheads, Radish, Rhubarb, Rosemary, Sage, Spinach, Turnips.

    What's in season in June?

    Apples, Cauliflower, Cherries, Chinese Vegetables, Chives, Cilantro, Lettuce, Peas, Potatoes, Radish, Rhubarb, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Greens, Spinach, Strawberries, Thyme, Turnips.

    What's in season in July?

    Apricots, Basil, Beans, Beets, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cherries, Chinese Vegetables, Chives, Cilantro, Cucumbers, Kale, Lettuce, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Radish, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Greens, Spinach, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Thyme, Turnips.

    What's in season in August?

    Apples, Apricots, Basil, Beans, Beets, Blackberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Vegetables, Chives, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumbers, Currants, Garlic, Kale, Lettuce, Melons, Onions (sweet), Peaches, Pears, Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Radish, Raspberries, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Greens, Shallots, Spinach, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Thyme, Turnips.

    What's in season in September?

    Apples, Basil, Beans, Beets, Blackberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Vegetables, Chives, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumbers, Currants, Garlic, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Melons, Onions (sweet), Onions (cooking), Pears, Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radish, Raspberries, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Greens, Shallots, Spinach, Strawberries, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Thyme, Turnips, Winter Squash.

    What's in season in October?

    Apples, Beans, Beets, Blackberries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chives, Cilantro, Corn, Cranberries, Garlic, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Onions (sweet), Onions (cooking), Pears, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Greens, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Thyme, Turnips, Winter Squash.

    What's in season in November?

    Apples, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Garlic, Leeks, Onions (cooking), Pears, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Turnips, Winter Squash.

    What's in season in December?

    Apples, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Garlic, Pears, Rosemary, Sage, Turnips, Winter Squash.

    What's in season in January?

    Apples, Cabbage, Pears, Rosemary, Sage, Turnips, Winter Squash.

    What's in season in February?

    Apples, Cabbage, Pears, Rosemary, Sage, Turnips.

    What's in season in March?

    Apples, Pears, Rosemary, Sage.

    more on what's in season

    Product

    Season

    APPLES AUGUST - JUNE
    APRICOTS JULY - AUGUST
    ASPARAGUS APRIL - MAY
    BASIL JULY - SEPTEMBER
    BEANS JULY - OCTOBER
    BEETS JULY - OCTOBER
    BLACKBERRIES AUGUST - OCTOBER
    BLUEBERRIES JULY - SEPTEMBER
    BROCCOLI JULY - OCTOBER
    BRUSSELS SPROUTS OCTOBER - DECEMBER
    CABBAGE JULY - FEBRUARY
    CARROTS JULY - NOVEMBER
    CAULIFLOWER JUNE - NOVEMBER
    CELERY JULY - OCTOBER
    CHERRIES JUNE - JULY
    CHINESE VEGETABLES JUNE - SEPTEMBER
    CHIVES APRIL - OCTOBER
    CILANTRO JUNE - OCTOBER
    CORN AUGUST - OCTOBER
    CRANBERRIES OCTOBER
    CUCUMBERS JULY - SEPTEMBER
    CURRANTS AUGUST - SEPTEMBER
    FIDDLEHEADS MAY
    GARLIC AUGUST - DECEMBER
    KALE JULY - OCTOBER
    LETTUCE JUNE - OCTOBER
    LEEKS SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER
    MELONS AUGUST - SEPTEMBER
    ONIONS (SWEET) AUGUST - OCTOBER
    ONIONS (COOKING) SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER
    PEACHES AUGUST
    PEARS AUGUST - APRIL
    PEAS JUNE - JULY
    PEPPERS JULY - OCTOBER
    PLUMS AUGUST - SEPTEMBER
    POTATOES JUNE - OCTOBER
    PUMPKINS SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER
    RADISH MAY - OCTOBER
    RASPBERRIES JULY - SEPTEMBER
    RHUBARB APRIL - JULY
    ROSEMARY YEAR ROUND
    SAGE YEAR ROUND
    SALAD GREENS JUNE - OCTOBER
    SHALLOTS AUGUST - SEPTEMBER
    SPINACH APRIL - SEPTEMBER
    STRAWBERRIES JUNE - SEPTEMBER
    SUMMER SQUASH JULY - AUGUST
    SWISS CHARD JULY - OCTOBER
    TOMATOES JULY - OCTOBER
    THYME JUNE - NOVEMBER
    TURNIPS MAY - FEBRUARY
    WINTER SQUASH MID SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER

EARTHSAVE CANADA ~ Save the earth one bite at a time

Earthsave Canada is a Vancouver-based charity, helping people choose foods that benefit our health, the environment, and the lives of animals.

MAILING ADDRESS: Earthsave Canada PO Box 2213 STN Terminal Vancouver, BC V6B 3W2 | office@earthsave.ca | 604-731-5885 

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