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SPOON-FED:

Seasonal Spoonfuls: A guide to spring seasonal cooking from the Lovin’ Spoonfuls team

Spring has sprung and the Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ team is beginning to rescue early season veggies from our farm partners – the same ones you’ll shortly find on the shelves of your local pantry or up for grabs at farmers’ markets and grocery stores.

Seasonal eating is one of the best ways to support our regional food system here in New England. It’s better for the environment to eat local (less transportation involved), good for our economy (it keeps jobs and money in the pockets of people who live here), and the produce often tastes fresher because it is!

If you’re looking to eat locally this spring, here’s what’s coming out of the ground in Massachusetts over the next few months. Below this list, find recipes for a few of our favorites: asparagus, garlic scapes, and strawberries.

Spring season food in Massachusetts

  • Parsnips (April – June)
  • Arugula (May – September)
  • Asparagus (May and June)
  • Chard (May – November)
  • Fava beans (May – June)
  • Garlic scapes (May – June)
  • Green onions/scallions (May – September)
  • Lettuce (May – October)
  • Mushrooms (May – October)
  • New potatoes (May)
  • Parsley (May – November)
  • Radishes (May – September)
  • Spinach (May – September)
  • Thyme (May – September)
  • Beets (June – December)
  • Cabbage (June – October)
  • Carrots (June – September)
  • Corn (June – August)
  • Kale (June – November)
  • Kohlrabi (June + July, September + October)
  • Oregano (June – November)
  • Strawberries (June)

See more on The Spruce Eats.

Asparagus

Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to be harvested in spring, a sure sign of the changing seasons. It is rich in flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes. There are also white varieties (grown in the dark), and purple varieties. Asparagus is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, and iron, and is often plentiful and inexpensive while in season!

Asparagus Fritatta

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter or oil
  • 1 red onion (or 3 shallots), finely chopped
  • 1 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
  • ¼ tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven on broil.
  2. On the stove top, melt butter in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and ricotta together, then stir in chives, tarragon, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook until almost set, but still runny on top, about 4 – 5 minutes. Tilt and shake pan gently to distribute egg, but do not stir.
  5. Top with cheese and place in the over (about 6 inches below the broiler), cook until the cheese is melted and browned, about 6 – 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the flower stalk of the garlic bulb, usually cut off to allow the bulb to grow bigger. They taste similar to garlic but are milder and more herbal. Garlic scapes are high in vitamin B6 and C, as well as a variety of minerals, and can offer a lot of flavor without adding any salt, fat, or sugar.

Sweet Braised Garlic Scapes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 lb garlic scapes, cit into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 cup chicken stock or white wine (or water)
  • 2 tbsp honey (or other sweetener)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering (very hot).
  2. Add garlic scapes (careful, oil may pop and sizzle) and cook, shaking or stirring occasionally, until scapes begin to brown, 5 – 8 minutes.
  3. Add stock, honey, and vinegar to the skillet, cover tightly and cook until scapes are tender, 8 – 10 minutes.
  4. Remove lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a thick glaze, another 5 – 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Serve alongside meats, darker fish, or roasted vegetable dishes.

Strawberries

Native to North and South America, small wild strawberries have been slowly bred into the big, juicy berries commercially grown today. High in antioxidants and vitamin C, strawberries are a sweet and healthy snack. Local strawberries will be sweetest and most flavorful when they are in season in June. Frozen strawberries are the best option when not in season, as they are picked and frozen at perfect ripeness.

Strawberry Banana Breakfast Bars

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tsp whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1 ½ cup oats (rolled or steel-cut, not instant)
  • 2 bananas, mashed (overripe is best)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X9” baking dish, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix melted butter, banana, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until well combined. Add the oats and 1 ½ cups of the flour, stir until moist and clumpy.
  3. Scoop out about 1 cup of oat mixture and set aside for topping. Pour the rest into the baking dish and press down firmly into an event layer on the bottom. 
  4. In a bowl (you can use the same one without washing), combine strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla (option), and 2 tsp flour. Stire until evenly mixed, then pour into baking dish and spread into an even layer, pressing down firmly.
  5. Crumble reserved oat mixture over the top. Bake until golden brown and firm, 35 – 45 minutes. Let cool fully before cutting.

Related posts:

Seasonal Spoonfuls (Summer): A guide to seasonal cooking from the Lovin’ Spoonfuls team

Seasonal Spoonfuls (Winter): A guide to seasonal cooking from the Lovin’ Spoonfuls team