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5 of the Best Vegetables For Springtime Meals

May 31, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Seattle 0 Comments

5 of the Best Vegetables For Springtime Meals

Ah, spring is here and along with it those inevitable little vegetables calling to you from the market shelves.  You see them there, all lined up nice and pretty, shiny red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, plump red tomatoes, you see deep-green zucchini and cucumbers alongside the delicate pleasures found through artichokes and asparagus.  Then there are the snap beans, early corn, and squash.  Colleges of culinary arts make their staples fresh vegetables in the springtime and you can too even if you aren’t enrolled in cooking schools in Washington (though maybe with your passion for produce you should be!).

With so many wonderful fresh garden delights from which to choose, how do you narrow the list to the five best veggies for spring time meals? 

Some would say that the best way to narrow these is according to how versatile the veggie is for cooking whereas others may choose according to flavor and others according to nutrition.  This is an attempt to satisfy all three.

  1. Okra – In southern Louisiana, when okra comes in it is time for a gumbo.  Traditionally, okra is used as something of a “base” for the texture of the soup.  Some believe the gumminess of okra is where the traditional Cajun dish derives its name, GUMbo.  In addition, okra is great deep-fried or stewed with corn, peppers, and onions for a delightful veggie-medley.
  2. Squash – All squash (zucchini are squash as well).  The standard-yellow squash can be cooked in a variety of ways from simmered, stewed, fried, or even kabobs on the BBQ grill.  Add to this, you can make zucchini bread and even lasagna. 
  3. Tomatoes – The humble tomato.  Come early spring, the tomato is celebrated all across the south and parts of the north these days by picking early and frying.  That’s right, from fried green tomatoes to stews, sauces, soups, and salads, there are few veggies as versatile and loved as the tomato (of course, the tomatoeaccording to some is not a veggie, but a fruit.  To that just say…so?  And enjoy them anyway).
  4. Cucumber – Nothing says fresh like cucumbers.  Perhaps this is why cucumber oils and essence appears in so many beauty products today.  Whether just eating them raw or in a dish, cucs just continue to delight.  A favorite thing to do with fresh cucumbers is to pickle and freeze.  Then when the kids want a cold snack, bring out the frozen pickles.  Big hit.
  5. Snap Beans – Some of the best nutritional and educational fun you can have with your kids is prepping and canning your own fresh snap beans.  Whether you’ve grown them yourself or bought them at the market, fresh snap (green) beans are delicious, nutritious, and a great way for a family to bond.  All you do is buy a couple of bushels of beans, and everyone sits around breaking them apart to be cooked and packed into Mason® jars.

Naturally, there are many other springtime veggies that can be had, but this list is meant to provide a good balance of nutrition, versatility, and flavor.  If you can’t get enough of leafy greens and no ways to enjoy them, there are plenty of colleges of culinary arts in your area to choose from. If you are interested, you may want to schedule a tour of cooking schools in Washington to see if there are any classes that would be a good fit!

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Seattle. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Seattle offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Seattle, Washington area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Seattle for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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