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10 Healthiest Spring Vegetables

Ah, spring! Trees are in bloom, the air is warmer, and vegetables are at last ripening in the fields. Enjoy spring with these healthy vegetable choices.

Spinach

Spinach is an excellent spring vegetable choice, high in vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate. It's also a good source of iron, magnesium and potassium.

Spinach is healthiest eaten fresh, perhaps in a salad (a spinach salad offers much more nutritional punch than one made of lettuce). You can also steam spinach and season it with nutmeg, salt and pepper, or shallots.

Peas

Peas are another healthy spring veggie, and you can choose either traditional/"English" peas or sugar snap peas in the pods. Both are good sources of vitamins A and C. Try steaming either type of pea for a few minutes under tender but not overdone. Peas are delicious on their own, or added to salads. Snap peas are healthy additions to stir-fry dishes as well.

Asparagus

Choose asparagus for its vitamin A, C and folate content, or just for its fresh, healthy taste. Cut the woody ends off the stalks and steam for three to five minutes. Season the asparagus with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Shallots

This vegetable may be new to you, but its vitamin A and C content should make it a regular on your table. With a flavor similar to that of onions, leeks and garlic, shallots are useful in seasoning dishes. Separate a shallot into cloves (similar to garlic), then add to various dishes.

Okra

Full of fiber as well as vitamin C and folate, okra is another good-for-you spring veggie. Remove the stem ends (don't wash until ready to cook in order to avoid a slimy feel) and add to soups, stews and sauces.

Carrots

Carrots give you fiber and vitamins A and C. They are a fresh, crisp addition to your diet, either eaten raw or cooked. Shredded carrots add color to salads; steamed carrots are delicious seasoned with mint or dill.

Rhubarb

Yes, rhubarb - it is a vegetable, although it's often prepared and eaten as a fruit. Eat it for its fiber, vitamin C, and calcium. Discard the poisonous leaves and chop the stalks for use in pies, jams, cobblers and crisps.

Snap Beans

Often referred to as "green beans," these long beans are good places to find vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Remove any strings along the length of the beans, and then boil six to 12 minutes. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Onions

Rich in healthy phytochemicals, onions add a zip to the flavor of many cooked dishes. They can be stored for a month or longer in a cool, dark location, or you can chop and store them in the refrigerator for a week. Add them to sauces, casseroles, and vegetable dishes.

Fennel

This bulb-type vegetable with celery-like stalks may be new to you. Try it; it's a good place to find vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Discard the stems and feathery tops and cut each bulb in half. Grill, roast or steam fennel for a dish similar in taste to licorice or anise.

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