Cooking with Spring Ingredients

Cooking with Spring Ingredients

It’s spring: time to give winter staples the boot and dedicate dinnertime to those tender young things now appearing at greenmarkets and farm stands. Here are a few recipes to get you started (with a bit of trivia to impress your friends).

Artichokes

Artichokes

These edible thistles contain an acid called cynarin that makes everything taste sweet after eating them.

Baby Artichokes

Baby Artichokes

These small, tender artichokes grow lower down on the stalk than their more mature brethren. They just need to be trimmed a bit, and can be eaten raw if sliced very thinly, or halved or kept whole and then cooked.

Carrots

Carrots

The first carrots were cultivated in Afghanistan, and were more purplish-red than orange.

chives

Chives

Chives freeze and rot easily, so store them in the warmest part of the refrigerator.

Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddlehead Ferns

The unfurled fronds of young ferns are a popular ingredient in Indonesian cooking.

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

Green garlic is pulled from the ground before the actual garlic bulb forms.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

The German-derived name translates as “cabbage turnip.”

mint

Mint

For really aromatic mint, buy it at a farmers’ market or grow it fresh.

New Potatoes

New Potatoes

New potatoes are freshly dug potatoes that have not reached maturity and have never been kept in storage.

Nettles

Nettles

Nettles are covered in tiny, hollow, needlelike hairs filled with a toxicant that irritates people’s skin. Cooking, drying, or freezing nettles renders them safe to eat.

Pea Sprouts

Pea Sprouts

Pea sprouts are the first growth of the snow pea or English pea plant. They can be found year-round but become more prevalent at farmers’ markets in the spring. With a sweet, clean taste reminiscent of peas, they’re great in salads or stir-fries.

Peas

Peas

Peas were originally very starchy; gardeners cultivated the sweet green garden pea during the Renaissance.

Ramps

Ramps

Ramps are a wild leek native to Appalachia.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

This perennial stalk-vegetable of Asian descent has toxic leaves that shouldn’t be eaten.

Snow Peas

Snow Peas

The French name for snow peas is mange-tout, which translates as “eat it all”—quite true, since not a bit of them goes to waste. These are available year-round but peak in the spring and fall.

Strawberries

Strawberries

Wild strawberries were so plentiful in America that there was limited garden cultivation of the fruit until the late 18th century.

Tarragon

Tarragon

Tarragon was once thought to ward off serpents and dragons and to heal snakebites.

White Asparagus

White Asparagus

White asparagus is grown without exposure to sunlight, which would turn the stalks green.