Spring inevitably brings a change in the air. We open our windows to feel the new warm breeze. We gaze out at the variety of colorful blooms that pop up in our yards, and in tune we start to change how we eat. Strawberry farms make way for pick-your-own buckets, ramps shoot up from the ground for their very short, but very savory season; the freshness of spring produce is shining upon us. Take advantage of what the season has to offer right now with this guide to four of our favorite market finds. Cut them, cook them, and save them for months to come.
A short lived, two week season is all we see from ramps. Grab them quick this month at the Swamp Rabbit Café, give them a very good wash, and keep in damp paper towels in your fridge for maximum freshness. Replace any allium with ramps in your favorite weeknight dishes, and taste how they lift any dish you make with them. Their punchy-oniony goodness is best showcased in this Pesto, and the flavor mellows overnight, making this great to have on hand for a few days.
The most popular choice for spring fruit, and yet we do not always grab them up at their peak. A late April/early May strawberry far surpasses any other month we find them in. Look for smaller berries, bright red, with little white at the top. For preservation, the options are endless. Try jam with nothing but berries, sugar, and lemon juice, and keep closed in the fridge for about a month. If you’re canning, even better. If you want to freeze them, simply cut their tops off and slice into your desired shape, quarters or halves, and toss in a plastic bag. They will keep for awhile and are perfect for when you should decide to make pie, jam, or this scrumptious Strawberry Tart for later in the year.
At their best in May, look for bright green pods with a heavy weight to them. This means juicier and sweeter peas inside. If you have an abundance, shell them with a friend or family member for peak bonding, and simply freeze in a plastic bag. Write the date on the bag, and they should keep for up to three months.
Try subbing english peas in place of the vegetables in this Ricotta Gnocchi. The lightness of the gnocchi is subtle enough to highlight the peas, while giving them texture and substance.
Cherry Belle Radishes
These are easy to grow and start to come up in early June. A good radish shows itself easily. Look for even sized, round bulbs, and smooth reddish pink skin. What will be left is a crunchy, peppery addition to any good protein packed dinner, like our Flank Steak Tacos. But a truly great springtime snack is simply sliced radishes, soft butter, and flaky salt eaten on toast.
Look for these spring stars at the Tomato Vine, Swamp Rabbit Café, Greenville State Farmers Market, or wherever you typically go for Certified SC Grown options. Come May, be sure to visit the TD Saturday Market on Main Street, the Travelers Rest Farmers Market, or the local market closest to your neighborhood.