Check out the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season in the spring. “In season” means that’s when they are at their best quality and price.
Avoid wasting fresh fruits and vegetables by storing them correctly, using them within a few days or freezing them. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and click on “Food Preservation” for information about freezing extra fruits and vegetables.
In many grocery stores, you will find fresh asparagus, strawberries and sweet onions (such as Vidalia), among many others, in the spring.
- Choose asparagus that is a rich green. Asparagus should have compact tips and smooth spears.
- Store refrigerated and use within a few days.
- Rinse the asparagus spears under running water and trim the ends if needed.
- Prepare asparagus by roasting, grilling and many other methods.
- To roast: Preheat an oven to 425 F. Rinse asparagus under running water and trim the ends. Place the asparagus in an oven-safe pan and drizzle with your favorite cooking oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and/or your favorite seasonings. Bake until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- To grill: Preheat the grill. Follow the preparation directions for roasting. Place the asparagus on the grill or in a grill basket. Grill about three minutes or to the tenderness you like.
- Choose fruit that is deep red, with dark green caps and a nice aroma. It should be plump.
- Store in your refrigerator in the crisper drawer.
- Just before eating, place strawberries in a colander and rinse under cool, running water. Do not soak strawberries. Spread them on paper towels or leave them in the colander to remove extra water.
- Remove the green cap and stem using a paring knife or strawberry huller.
- Slice, dice or serve whole. Try the salsa recipe included with this newsletter.
- If you have extra strawberries, place the clean, whole berries on a cookie sheet with some space. Freeze until firm, then place them in freezer bags labeled with the date you frozen them.
- Choose firm onions with little scent. Avoid onions with cuts, bruises or blemishes.
- To reduce chances of crying when preparing onions, refrigerate them for 30 minutes before preparation.
- To remove the onion smell, rub your hands with lemon juice or salt.
- Cut off the top/stem of the onion.
- Remove the papery layers, then dice or slice as you wish.
- Try grilling onions:
- Cut each large onion into about eight wedges. Place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Place pats of butter on the onion (about 1 teaspoon per wedge). Sprinkle with garlic salt or seasoning salt. Wrap well so the aluminum foil seams are tight. Place another layer of aluminum foil under the onion packet, and place the packet and foil sheet on a preheated grill for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Want to view a video about preparing onions? Visit onions-usa.org to learn more.
(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a Professor and Food and Nutrition Specialist with the NDSU Extension Service.)