Spring has sprung...


Spring is here, and that means lots of new crops of healthy goodness are sprouting and ready to show up at The Heritage Farmers Market. Please do yourself a favor this spring and try all of the fruits and veggies you've never heard of, seen, or tasted before. We know from experience that you will most definitely find something new that you love! Also, tasting new items will broaden your palate, and possibly your dinner table. Check out the list below ow fruits and veggies that are popping up this spring!
Enjoy!
1. Mini Watermelons
Who doesn't like watermelons! These are easy to eat, easy to store, and generally have great flavor, too.
Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Find firm mini watermelons that feel heavy for their size, but that yield slightly when you press on them.
How to store: Ripen at room temperature. Once ripe, store cut or whole mini watermelons in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Nutritional attributes: 2 cups diced mini watermelon contains 20% of the Daily Value for vitamin A and 25% for vitamin C, according to data from Melissa's Produce.
Eating/cooking/serving tips: Use wedges or half slices to garnish plates. Or serve fruit salad in a hollowed-out mini watermelon half. Serve cubes or balls alone as a side dish, or in a fruit salad or fruit kabob.
2. Pluots
You've got to try this new fruit, a hybrid of a plum and an apricot. I liked them even though I'm not crazy about plums.
Available: June-September.
Buying tips: They are ripe when they give under gentle pressure.
Best way to store: To ripen pluots, keep at 65-70 degrees.
Nutritional attributes: Nutritional information was not yet available for this new variety.
Eating/cooking tips: Anywhere you would eat and serve plums or apricots, have these instead!
3. Passion Fruit
This tropical fruit has a jelly-like inside, sweet-tart in flavor, with edible seeds. It gets the ooey-gooey award; you have to eat it with a spoon.
Available: January-July.
Buying tips: A ripe passion fruit has a wrinkled outer shell. Look for fruit that is full of color and fragrance.
Best way to store: If the skin is still smooth, ripen at room temperature, turning occasionally. Refrigerate ripe fruit in a plastic bag and use within three days, or freeze it.
Nutritional attributes: 4 pieces of passion fruit (2 1/2 ounces) contain 8 grams of fiber, 10% Daily Value for vitamin A, and 35% for vitamin C.
Eating/cooking tips: Cut the fruit in half and scoop out the edible pulp and seeds with a spoon. You can use as an ingredient in a smoothie, or in a sauce or filling.
4. Blood Oranges
They look like regular oranges on the outside, but inside are darkly colored and full of flavor.
Available: January-June.
Buying tips: Choose firm oranges that seem heavy for their size and have a sweet fragrance.
Best way to store: Store on the kitchen counter for up to one week, or two weeks if refrigerated.
Nutritional attributes: One orange contains 3 grams of fiber, 6% Daily Value for vitamin A, 120% for vitamin C, and 6% for calcium.
Eating/cooking tips: Colorful slices or wedges make great plate garnishes or a great snack. Segments add color and flavor to fruit salads or green salads.
5. Star Fruit
This fruit gets the award for the most unusual shape! It adds a refreshing tropical flavor to any meal or dish.
Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Look for firm, glossy-skinned fruit without bruising. Don't worry if you see browning on the tips of the ridges; it's a sign of ripeness.
Best way to store: Store in the refrigerator in a plastic or paper bag for up to a week. Or, you can slice the fruit and freeze it in sealable bags.
Nutritional attributes: One fruit contains 30% Daily Value for vitamin C.
Eating/cooking tips: Slice it horizontally into star shapes, and you have fun garnish for your plate or an attractive addition to any fruit salad or green salad. Remove the seeds before eating.


6. Sunburst Squash
These bright yellow, small round squash pieces are easily sliced or cubed. Use them in any recipes calling for zucchini.
Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Look for squash that are plump and feel heavy for their size, with glossy and tender skin.
Best way to store: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to a week.
Nutritional attributes: One cup contains 38% Daily Value for vitamin C.
Eating/cooking tips: Colorful slices or wedges make great plate garnishes or a great snack. Segments add color and flavor to fruit salads or green salads.
7. Sugar Snap Peas
These are one of my favorite raw veggie snack foods. They are crunchy and fresh-tasting, easy to eat straight from the refrigerator.
Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Select firm, plump, bright-green pods.
Best way to store: Keep refrigerated in a plastic bag and use within a few days.
Nutritional attributes: 1 cup contains 4 grams fiber, 140% Daily Value for vitamin C, 16% for iron.
Eating/cooking tips: You can eat the entire pod. These are great in lunches (just put raw sugar snap peas in a sandwich bag), or add them to a vegetable platter and serve with light dip. They taste good cooked, too, so you can use them in your favorite stir-fry recipe.
8. Radicchio
This gorgeous green is a flavorful way to add color to your salad.
Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Pick crisp heads with fully colored leaves (with white ribs) and no brown spots. They come in different color variations; pink, red, and green, and burgundy-red.
Best way to store: Keep in refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a week.
Nutritional attributes: 10 leaves contain 10% Daily Value for vitamin C.
Eating/cooking tips: Shred it and mix it in with other salad greens, or serve it sautéed or cooked in soups, casseroles, or side dishes.
9. Swiss Chard
This leafy green is a member of the beet family. The leaves have a beet-like flavor, especially when eaten raw.
Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: This leafy green is sold in bunches. Pick a bunch with crisp stalks and glossy leaves.
Best way to store: Store in the vegetable crisper (in a bag) and use within a few days.
Nutritional attributes: 1 cup contains 60% Daily Value for vitamin A, 45% for vitamin C, 4% for calcium, and 8% for iron.
Eating/cooking tips: Use in place of spinach in recipes. Or, cook as you would any leafy green vegetable.
10. Okra
Although it's commonly cooked as a vegetable in the South, okra is rather uncommon to people living in other regions. It's also available sliced in the frozen section.
Available: Year-round.
Buying tips: Look for bright-colored pods with no spotting or browning.
Best way to store: Store in a paper bag in the vegetable crisper. Use within a few days.
Nutritional attributes: 6 pods contain 10% Daily Value for vitamin A, 20% for vitamin C, and 6% for calcium.
Eating/cooking tips: Okra can be steamed, sautéed, oven-fried, or pickled. Use it in soups, salads, and casseroles, or as a side dish or appetizer. Don't cook it in iron, copper, or brass pans -- their chemical composition will turn okra black.
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