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Ripe apricots

It is spring time and there is plenty of wonderful fresh produce available. This is the perfect time to try different fruits and vegetables and incorporate them into a healthy meal plan. The following are some ideal spring produce to consider that are easy, tasty, and affordable.

Asparagus

Asparagus is available during the spring growing season but can be found year-round in the canned or frozen section of a grocery store. Asparagus is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and fiber. It is also easy to prepare. Most grocery stores will carry the green variety of asparagus, but it also comes in white and purple varieties. Incorporating the different types of asparagus into a meal plan will add color and variety to dishes.

Selection/Storage. Select fresh asparagus that is odorless, straight, and smooth. Avoid asparagus that is limp and wilting. Once at home, wrap a dampened paper towel around the end of the stalks and store in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Preparation. Asparagus can be enjoyed in many ways. Before serving, remember to rinse the asparagus, trim the woody ends of the stalks, and cut thinly. Try pairing raw asparagus with celery and carrots and enjoy eating with your favorite dip.

A quick grill or roast in the oven also makes asparagus a big hit. Toss, rinse, trim, sprinkle with olive oil, then add your favorite herbs and spices before placing on the grill or baking pan. When roasting, place the asparagus in the oven at 425 °F and cook until tender.

Apricots

During the spring season fresh apricots are ready for the picking. Apricots can also be enjoyed year-round and are available in the canned and dried fruit sections of a grocery store. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Selection/Storage. Select apricots that are firm and plump, with one color. Select apricots that have a similar feel as a tennis ball when gently squeezed. Unripened apricots can be stored on the counter until ripe. Store ripened apricot in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Preparation. This sweet fruit can be enjoyed as a snack, dessert, or side dish. Rinse, slice, and remove the pit before sautéing, broiling, or baking apricots. You can add them to your favorite rice side dish or hot breakfast cereal. Apricots are also a great way to add fruit in salads, yogurt, or puddings.

More Information

Visit the following websites for more information on health and nutrition:

Healthy Eating

Alabama Extension Programs

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