Fresh in May: Produce

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May 09, 2013

Fresh in May: Produce

Spring is in full swing and that means a plethora of seasonal fruits and veggies. Here’s what’s popping up around the country.

Spring is in full swing and that means a plethora of seasonal fruits and veggies. Here are some of SupermarketGuru’s favorites popping up in May around the country.

Arugula, actually a cruciferous veggie like broccoli and collards, contains about eight times the calcium, fives times the vitamin A, C and K, as well as four times the iron as the same amount of iceberg lettuce. Arugula contains beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which are being studied for their role as antioxidants or in the prevention of diseases like cancer and macular degeneration. Arugula has a peppery kick so if you haven’t tired it yet mix some in with your regular salad and go from there – it can also be a great addition to sandwiches, wraps and quinoa, rice or pasta salads.

Collard Greens have large, thick, dark green leaves, each branching from a thick central stem. Their flavor is mild, but the tough texture calls for longer cooking times. They are part of the cruciferous family, and when chopped or chewed release compounds that researchers believe activate detoxifying enzymes in the liver. In turn, these enzymes may neutralize free radicals, thereby reducing the risk of breast, ovarian, colon and other cancers as well as general inflammation in the body.  Most recently cruciferous veggies have been shown to bind with bile acids in the digestive tract and thus lower cholesterol.  Lightly cooking collards is the best way to enjoy the flavor and many health benefits.

Mushrooms are well known for their many health benefits, especially in the immune system and with combating inflammation. Most recently certain mushrooms have been shown to offer protection against cardiovascular disease as they reduce the binding of certain immune cells in the heart valves. Mushrooms are also being studied for their anti-cancer properties. Depending on the mushroom you can bake, sauté, grill or add to eggs. 

Rhubarb is full of fiber, great for digestion, potassium, awesome to balance our minerals and electrolytes, and vitamin C to boost our immune system. Rhubarb also contains catechins, a flavonol that may contribute to heart health. It is also an excellent source of vitamin K, great for overall health and blood flow. Rhubarb is generally always cooked, it is not only used as a dessert; it also makes excellent sauces and jams. And is excellent cooked with apples and oranges sprinkled with cinnamon and ginger.

Turnips are a root vegetable commonly associated with potatoes or beets, but their closest relatives are radishes and arugula. One cup of turnips has 5 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein! Turnips are also a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as E and a fair amount of vitamin K.  Turnips can be eaten raw. Baby turnips can be cut into wedges and served with dip or sliced and added to salads for a crisp, lightly zippy tang. Turnips are also delicious roasted, mashed, baked, or added to soups or stews.