This week's blog post is written by Illinois State University student, Jade Umberger.
We made it! Finally, winter is coming to an end, and we are getting our first warm days of spring. March 20th was the official first day of spring, and that can only mean one thing: more warm weather ahead! I don't know about you, but the oncoming of spring and summer always makes me want to go out to my local farmers market, scoop up some fresh fruits and veggies, and cook up a nice, fresh meal. There are many fruits and vegetables in season in the early spring that could be on your table for dinner tonight!
After being cooped up all winter, throw open those windows and get cooking! Whether you're getting it from a farmers market or a grocery store, produce is always more fresh and flavorful, and many times cheaper, when it's in season. Keep a look out for these Illinois grown fruits and vegetables that are in season now!
Here in McLean County, there are many ways to get ahold of in-season produce. Currently, you can head on over to the indoor Farmers' Market every third Saturday of the month through the end of April at the U.S. Coliseum, 101 S. Madison St. from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Once April is over, check out Downtown Bloomington Association's Farmers' Market any Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. starting Saturday, May 2nd. Visit their website for a schedule of events, as well as a vendor directory.
Head over to your local farmers' market and pick up some fresh fruits and veggies! If you need a little inspiration, I've included a few recipes below. In-season oranges and spinach can be tossed together for a quick side salad, and you can use a salmon-asparagus recipe for an excuse to fire up the grill!
Strawberry Spinach Salad
6 cups fresh spinach
1 ½ cup sliced strawberries
½ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup sugar snap peas
In a large bowl, toss ingredients together. Serve with poppy seed dressing. Optional: add chicken!
Yield: 5 servings
Nutritional Analysis per Serving: 330 calories, 29 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 250 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 6 grams protein
Garlic Salmon and Asparagus
6 oz. salmon
7 asparagus spears
½ Tablespoon margarine
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Heat grill to medium heat. Cut a sheet of aluminum foil large enough for asparagus and salmon to fit. Arrange asparagus spears on foil and place salmon on top. Mix remaining ingredients into a paste. Smear paste onto the top of the salmon. Cut another large piece of foil to cover everything and fold up the sides. Grill 6-8 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork. Carefully open foil packet, serve.
Yield: 1 serving
Nutritional Analysis per Serving: 440 calories, 28 grams fat, 110 grams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 41 grams protein