In the winter period, we mainly ate processed plants: pickles, preserves, marinated vegetables, or dried and frozen products. Now, spring has come. This is the time when we can choose from a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit which are rich in polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. These ingredients have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the body, and also help maintain healthy body weight.
When planning properly balanced meals, we should take into consideration the calendar of the seasonality of vegetables and fruit. In the spring period, it is worth paying attention to:
It is said that the inhabitants of ancient Egypt used the health-promoting and culinary properties of radish. It came to Europe in the 13th century and is still used in our dishes to this day – it is one of the most popular spring vegetables. Radish is a plant rich in vitamin C as well as other compounds with antioxidant properties. At the same time, it is a low-calorie plant, so it can also be included in a slimming diet.
Young leaves and the roots of beetroot are called “Botwin”. The season for it starts in May and lasts until September. Botvin is a source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, and zinc. In addition, it contains folates, which are especially important for women planning a child and pregnant women.
The asparagus season is very short (from May to June), so it is worth hurrying up with including them in the menu. Asparagus (especially green) is a source of folate, vitamin K, and beta-carotene. As a result, their consumption may have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the immune system and the blood clotting process. In addition, beta-carotene as a compound with antioxidant properties protects us against oxidative stress, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases or cancer.
Turnip cabbage or kohlrabi is one of the plants of the cabbage family. Its first crops in Europe appeared in the 16th century, although the valuable properties of kohlrabi were already used in ancient times. Its leaves and tuber contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and B vitamins.
Garden rhubarb probably comes from Bulgaria, Siberia, and Central Asia. It is also a plant quite commonly grown in home gardens. Rhubarb is a source of organic acids, vitamin C, and also magnesium.
Gooseberries come from Asia and have been cultivated in Europe for about 200 years. We can use the health and culinary qualities of fresh gooseberries from May to August. It is the fruit that is rich in vitamin C. Besides, it contains some amounts of beta-carotene and B vitamins. It can be successfully consumed by people on a slimming diet because it has a lot of dietary fiber, and at the same time, it is a low-calorie product (approx. 40 kcal / 100g).
Strawberries are fruits that are associated primarily with the summer period, but in fact, the season for them begins in May. Strawberries have a high content of vitamin C, polyphenols, and dietary fiber. The presence of these ingredients means that their consumption can have a positive effect on the immune system, collagen synthesis, These ingredients also protect us against oxidative stress and help maintain healthy body weight.
The culinary properties of spring fruit and vegetables can be used, among others for the preparation of salads, cream soups, homemade sandwich spreads, or desserts. Many of these plants are a good source of vitamin C, which is sensitive to external factors. Therefore, the dishes should be eaten as soon as possible after preparation. If this is not possible, store them in a cool, dark place. We should also remember that large losses of vitamin C may be caused by high temperatures. Therefore, whenever possible, eat vegetables and fruit raw. However, if heat treatment is necessary, it should be kept to a minimum (preferably steamed vegetables until al dente).
Plants that are worth paying attention to in the spring menu are mainly fresh vegetables and fruit. Fortunately, their selection is so large that each of us should find their favorite plant among them. If you include them in the spring menu, they will no only add color and taste, but also enrich it with dietary fiber, polyphenols, minerals, and vitamins.
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