Ahhh Spring, my favourite season. We’ve already had some glorious weather here in the UK, and whilst that usually makes me anxious that it’s going to disappear in a flash, at the moment (touch wood) every day is full with the promise of summer.
I thought I’d put together a seasonal guide to Spring eating, along with some useful tips for staying healthy during this time - the change of seasons is often the hardest on the body, as we have to deal with changing light environments, temperatures and food.
Eating seasonally is not only beneficial for the planet and our environment, but it’s also a great way of taking care of your health without having to try too hard. Nature has an amazing way of providing us with the nutrients we need at the right time of year - a little more sugar in summer due to the berries and stone fruits in season (although most of us take that to extremes by pouring sugar on our strawberries!), root veg that’s higher in starchy carbs and calories to fuel us over the winter months etc. Yet, because of our insistence on Supermarket shopping we’re able to eat mangoes in December and pumpkin in August!
What’s in season in Spring?
Spring greens, spring onions, rocket, artichokes, radishes, rhubarb. In terms of fruit, there’s not a lot until later in the summer - so make the most of rhubarb in stews and crumbles!
Kale, chard, leeks, cabbage - some of these brassicas and some root veggies too will still be going in early Spring, as picking season for purple sprouting broccoli (for example) has only just ended.
A lot of seed sowing happens in spring time, and the main harvest comes later in the year, so it’s a good time to get creative in the kitchen - use up those frozen peas, sprout some seeds on your windowsill (broccoli sprouts in particular are an excellent source of sulforaphane, supportive of liver detox) Stock up on the last of the kale and broccoli harvest and batch cook some delicious soups and stews and pop them in the freezer.
Eggs are in season, even though we eat them all year round, and they’re nature’s multivitamin. Full of choline, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, vitamin A and the B vitamins.
Supplement considerations - a helping hand
Given that we can’t synthesise the active form of vitamin D, D3, via our skin and cholesterol during the winter months, if we haven't stored enough of it in our fat cells then come this time of year we may well be deficient. I think it’s always best to check, and you can do so quickly and easily using a service like Thriva. If you’re low and you can't get outside during the day much due to office work, then you could think about supplementing with some vitamin D3 to help support your immune system and overall health. About 1,000 iu (international units) should make a good difference.
Given the year we’ve all had (stress, stress and more stress), B vitamins may also be a consideration as they get used up very quickly in energy production. Whatever our body doesn’t need we simply pee out (sorry!) so there’s very little worry about overdosing. If you feel like you need a little pick-me-up then some B vits might be useful. Lookout for brands with no fillers, thickeners or unnecessary ingredients. I like the Wild Nutrition range of supplements which are all food grown and easy to absorb.
And now that the health part is out of the way, let’s look at some of 8food’s favourite spring dishes!
Raw Artichoke Salad
3 large artichokes
2 tbs EVO
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tbs capers
A handful of broccoli sprouts
Salt and pepper to taste
We’re going to be using the meaty heart of the artichoke, so peel off the leaves, remove all of the choke and cut off the stem. With a mandolin and starting at the base, thinly slice the artichoke heart and place in a bowl. Zest the lemon into the bowl. Juice the lemon and mix into the artichokes. Add the capers and the olive oil. Allow to marinate for an hour or so. Sprinkle with the sprouts when ready to serve.
Raw Fennel and Asparagus Salad
1 large head of fennel
5 stalks of asparagus
1 cup of bean shoots
½ cup flaked almonds
½ cup EVO
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
2 semi-hard boiled eggs
Using a mandolin slice the fennel starting from the base into thin slices. Thinly slice the asparagus stalks at a diagonal. Toast the flaked almonds until golden brown. Slice the avocado. Zest and juice the lemon. Mix into the fennel and asparagus. When ready to serve, combine the fennel, asparagus and bean shoots, add the avocado. Drizzle with the olive oil and finally toss in the toasted almonds. Boil the eggs, peel and slice in half. Place on the salad.