Video:Spring Farmer's Marketwith Richard Ruben
Learn how to find the very best produce, herbs, and spices at a spring farmer's market.See Transcript
Transcript:Spring Farmer's MarketHi. This is Richard Ruben, food blogger and chef, with About.com. Winter's frost has melted away and nature is giving us some great fruits and vegetables. Let's see the perfect fruits and vegetables we can find for spring.
How to Choose AsparagusSo, Asparagus starts showing up, usually some time mid May through June. And what I'd look for are beautiful tight little heads, either green or with a slight purple blush. You never want to see them kind of soft or opened up. And I look at their bottom. I want to see it moist, freshly cut, not at all dry. All I have to do is snip off the bottom and I'm ready to go.
Finding RhubarbRhubarb for me is kind of like the apple of spring. And it's late spring and it is peaking. I don't care if it's not particularly red up or it's completely crimson throughout. Either way, it's this great sour note. I don't want em too skinny. From about a half inch on up - the fatter they are the more fibrous it is. So, if you don't like that fibrous coating you just peal it away. You also want it firm to the touch. It means there's a lot of juice in there. Marry it to strawberries. How about making a chutney, with some caramelized onions and a little bit of chili flake and putting it onto a grilled piece of fish. It's going to take Rhubarb in a whole new direction.
Sugar Snap PeasLate Spring. Sugar Snaps. It's like candy. Though you do, the whole snapping off part for me is snapping off the thread. You discard that. Forget about a candy store. Come to the market and get some of nature's candy. You can eat em raw or the way I cook them. I actually put up my kettle of water and I pour hot water over it and through a colander and that's all the cooking it needs. In choosing your Sugar Snap peas you kind of want to give em a little fondle as you're going through the, you want to make sure there's a nice allotment of peas in there.
Choosing StrawberriesI don't know about you all, but I wait and pray for a little crimson jewel. The strawberry.I know we can get them all year round, but I don't know about you but in the dead of February they're red, they're oblong, but they're tasteless. Strawberries should be red all the way through, right up to what we call the hull which is the green part. Then, it smells like a strawberry - shocking. And, when you bite into this it should be sweet and spring-like. Because you want to know the truth? It has a short season. If we're lucky, four weeks. Usually from early May through some time in June. Enjoy.
Finding Seasonal HerbsWe are in the season of smell. Herbs have popped. And all herbs really want is sun and warming weather into hot. Lavender sends me into an olfactory heaven. The beautiful purple buds, they're really not for perfume anymore. I just pull them off, and if I'm making a vegetable stew, throw a couple of heads in there. It's going to give you the most delicate suspicion of love you've ever had in a vegetable. Maybe you don't recognize it in it's blooming state, but this is thyme. And any herb that gives you its leaf to eat, when it flowers, use the flowers.
It's mint. Really so many different varieties. There's chocolate mint, orange mint, lemon mint. There's Apple mint, there's Spearmint. And then my personal favorite black mint or English mint. So, if you've ever had an Altoid, this is where its potency comes from. Us it like you would any other mint. Take them home. Can them in a little cup with just a smidgen of water, store them in the refrigerator, never cover them. Fresh from the market, you're going to get a week off of these.
Using GarlicGarlic. Believe it or not it's a cousin to onion, and, from the root hairs to its potential flower, it's completely edible right now. In about another month, starting in about, usually July, the bulb is going to get much bigger and start to paper over. That's when I snip it, use the bulb only and you tend to discard the stem. But, at this point, I eat from root to tip.
So, thanks for joining me on this little trip to the market this morning. So, always walk through and walk through and come back the next week and walk through again. And, that's how you're going to learn what's in season in your area.
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