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  • Apr
  • 27

Spring Is in the FARE!

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Are you itching to get outside, dying to shed your sweater, and aching for warm weather? Sounds like you’ve got spring fever! Well don’t break out in hives, cure yourself with seasonal recipes featuring artichokes, peas, asparagus, apricots, and chives!

A little known fact: Strawberries are not actually fruit but the enlarged stamen of the plant. In ancient times, they were used as medicinal plants to treat gout, heal sunburn, and aid digestion. They are used today as natural aphrodisiacs.

It is no wonder that the strawberry-a symbol of prosperity, peace, and perfection-is so popular. They are not only tasty, but also rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and folic acid. Delight your taste buds with our strawberry recipes.

A member of the mint family, basil has a rich history. Ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming agent, and it was dubbed the “kingly herb” by the Greeks. In India, basil is considered sacred to the Hindu god Vishnu. His wife was believed to have turned into basil when she came down to Earth. In some parts of Italy, basil is a symbol of love and is called “kiss-me-Nicholas.”

There are more than 60 varieties of basil, including sweet, purple-leaved, lemon, and cinnamon. With all these choices, it’s easy to add basil to your menu. Try these delicious recipes featuring basil.

Looking for a veggie aphrodisiac with a lot of heart? Look no further than artichokes to add romance to any recipe. Low in saturated fat and high in dietary fiber and Vitamin C and K, artichokes are good for you and good for your love life. In the 16th century, artichokes were considered such a sexually potent aphrodisiac, that women were forbidden to enjoy them. Thankfully, that ban was lifted and everyone can now indulge in amorous artichokes, which may explain Marilyn Monroe’s appeal-she was the first official Artichoke Queen in 1949! So have an affair of the heart (artichoke hearts, that is), and heat up a spring fling with one of these recipes.

Looking for a legume that’s sweet and snappy? Then give peas a chance. Like all legumes, peas are low fat and packed with protein and fiber. The main ingredient in the bubbling kettles of 16th century English peasants, who found time to rhyme about their “pease porridge hot” and their “pease porridge cold,” peas have been filling pots and plates throughout history. From 500 to 400 B.C., Greeks and Romans on the go could even get takeout hot pea soup from Athenian street vendors. For a meal that would’ve made the ancient Romans rave, fill up on one of these peasful recipes.

Spring is truly the dawning of the age of asparagus! When most people think of spring vegetables, they can’t help but think of these vitamin-packed veggies. As healthy as it is delicious, asparagus contains no cholesterol, no fat, and very little sodium but is high in fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and B6, and potassium. This fern-like member of the lily family was so popular with the French royal family of Louis XIV, that the famous king grew asparagus in his greenhouses so that he could sup on the succulent spearheaded veggies all year round. This spring, treat yourself to these royal recipes.

The beauty of this golden fruit isn’t only skin deep. That’s because apricots are one of the best natural sources of Vitamin A, which is essential not only for healthy skinbut also for good eyesight and protection against colds and other common ailments. Plus, who can resist the “nectar of the gods”? After all, nectar made of the juice and pulp of apricots was said to be the favorite drink of Greek and Roman gods. To make a mythical meal, check out these appetizing apricot recipes.

We may be accustomed to seeing chives on baked potatoes or as a garnish, but back in the day, ancient gypsies used this herb to tell fortunes. It was also believed that dried chives hung around your house kept disease away, and Romans used chives to relieve sunburns and sore throats. We suggest that you use them to cook with, because their delicate onion flavor can enliven many savory dishes. We did, however, consult the chives and they told us that you’d enjoy these recipes.

No matter how you slice or dice it, pineapple is packed full of flavor and vitamins. A great source of vitamins A and C, pineapples also contain an enzyme called bromelain that aids digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties that have proved beneficial in treating a variety of maladies, including arthritis, heart disease, and upper-respiratory infections. Nowadays, it’s easy for us to get our paws on these prickly pieces of paradise, but back in colonial times, when pineapples were seen as a symbol of hospitality, they were much harder to come by-and much higher in demand. Used as centerpieces for decorative table settings, pineapples were such hot commodities that they were rented out! We suggest that you buy, rather than rent, your next pineapple so that you can use it in these delicious recipes.

Back when Rome ruled the world, Italian farmers, who first cultivated broccoli, referred to it as “the five green fingers of Jupiter.” This out-of-this-world veggie, which made its first appearance in North America thanks to immigrants from Italy who grew it in their gardens in Brooklyn, New York, is packed full of beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. Broccoli has been shown to be a stellar cancer-fighting food. Here are a few righteous recipes that will be sure to send broccoli-loving boys and girls over the moon.

You don’t have to be a pickle to appreciate dill. With a simple, clean taste, dill is perfect for salads, garnishes, soups, sauces, and a variety of vegetables. Dill also has a pretty spicy history: Romans thought it was lucky, Greeks saw it as a sign of wealth, and many ancient people hung it over their doorways and above cradles to symbolize love and assure protection. In the Middle Ages, dill was used to ward off witchcraft. If someone was afraid that a witch had cast a spell on them, they would drink a special concoction infused with dill or wear a charm made of dill leaves. Let us cast a spell over you with these dillicious recipes.

This post was originally published on VegCooking.

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