Pick the perfect produce...
When buying Asparagus
, look for stalks that are bright green and firm. Tips of asparagus should be tight and firm and may be slightly purple. Thickness does not necessarily indicate more or less flavor, though more mature asparagus will have thicker stalks, avoid stalks with ends that appear wood-like. When a bunch of asparagus is gently squeezed it should squeak ever so slightly.
Great on the grill, try coating asparagus with olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper then grilling until tender.
that are heavy for their size. Much like asparagus, the freshest artichokes will make a rubbery squeak when rubbed together. Leaves on the artichoke should be tightly connected and not peeling away. The best artichokes will have a rounded crown with the tips pointing in. Artichokes may have a brownish scaling on the outside, this is normal and does not affect the taste.
The artichoke heart is the prize of the artichoke but don't over look the leaves. Each leaf contains a bit of delicious flesh that is great for dipping.
are a sure sign that winter is behind and summer is near. Look for strawberries that are bright red, avoid berries that are orange in color. The best berries are those that are fully red, berries that have white shoulders or white color around the cap will have altered taste. A true test of great strawberries to give them a smell, if they have an apparent sweet strawberry smell, they are fresh and ready to eat.
All you need to do is rinse and remove the cap, slice them for fruit salad or use as a waffle topper.
Field-grown spring Rhubarb
is favored by foodies and chefs alike, with its noticeably assertive flavor and deep red color. The best rhubarb stalks are thick, firm and void of cracks, wrinkles and other signs of drying. Rhubarb that has been pulled rather than cut is ideal, but not necessary (look for jagged ends). Leaves should be discarded, but healthy rhubarb will have green un-wilted leaves.
Rhubarb is a perfect ingredient for tasty desserts like pie, cobbler and rhubarb crisp to name a few.
Do to increased demand and ideal growing conditions, Avocados
are available nearly year-round, but springtime is ideal for finding the perfect avocado. Look for avocados that are dark green in color, avocados that are too green may not be ripe and avocados that are dark brown or black may be overripe. Color is not the only indicator of ripe avocado, give the avocado a gentle squeeze it should feel soft but not mushy or too firm.
Sliced and sandwiched into your favorite panini or mixed into classic guacamole, the uses for avocado are endless.