March Seasonal Produce

March 07, 2016

How to shop for and store produce that's in season this month.

It’s March, and while it’s still bitter cold in some parts of the country, that doesn’t mean you can't enjoy what’s in season. Here are six common and not so common produce items that are nutrient dense and currently in season.

Artichokes are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate and a good source of magnesium. Choose plump artichokes with tightly closed leaves. They should feel heavy for their size. Currently while it’s still cold, white, blistered or bronze appearance does not affect quality.

Storage tips: Refrigerate artichokes in plastic bag up to one week, and make sure to keep dry.

Cara Cara oranges are a type of navel orange. In fact, they are a cross between two navels and were first discovered in Venezuela. Currently they are largely grown in California and are in their peak season. They look like navel oranges on the outside but are pink, and a bit sweeter on the inside. They are rich in vitamin C and of course fiber.

Storage tips: Store all types of oranges at room temperature for one to two days. And they can be refrigerated for one to two weeks.

Watercress is not only for salads, it can be cooked as well. It’s a member of the mustard family and delivers a strong bite. Choose green watercress without any yellow areas or slippery stems. Watercress and other dark leafy greens are a good source of vitamins A, K, C and calcium.

Storage tips: Rinse cut stems, blot with a paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic bag. Use within four to five days.

Sorell is commonly used in many traditional dishes of Eastern Europe - from soups to sauces as well as salads. It is sweet in flavor and versatile. Choose sorrel with good color and a clean, fresh scent. Avoid any brown spots or wilted stalks or leaves. Excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of magnesium and manganese.

Storage tips: Store in a plastic bag, unwashed in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to three days.

Asparagus is a good source of vitamin C; high in folate; good source of vitamin A. Choose odorless asparagus stalks with dry, tight tips. Avoid limp or wilted stalks.

Storage tips: Refrigerate asparagus for up to four days by wrapping ends of stalks in wet paper towel and placing in plastic bag.

Cherimoya is part of the Custard Apple family. It has soft, sweet, white flesh with several large black seeds and a tropical flavor. Cherimoya should have green skin and be unblemished. It is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as potassium and fiber.

Storage tips: Ripen cherimoyas at room temperature until they “give.” When rips, refrigerate for one to two days.