Temperatures are finally rising, the snow is melting, and the ground is thawing — spring has sprung! That’s cause for serious celebration in the kitchen, where it's time to reap the bounty of a new season of fresh vegetables that have weathered the long winter and are finally ready to emerge. Spring is the time when many year-round supermarket staples, like carrots and beets, are at their sweetest and most tender, and it's also the season to welcome fresh greens like lettuces and peas. And be sure to save room for some of the season’s limited-time-only marquee offerings, like artichokes and asparagus, which both appear in farmers markets for a few brief weeks when the mercury climbs.
Most spring vegetables are simple and fast to prepare — the point is to let their natural flavors shine through. Often, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper are all you need to get the most out of a vegetable, though there’s plenty of room to get creative with more complex dishes. Most vegetables are easy on the wallet, too — few of the most nutritious and delicious offerings cost more than $5 a pound, with farmers markets often boasting better prices and fresher produce than supermarkets. Prices for fresh vegetables vary significantly across the country, so the prices listed for the vegetables are estimations based on food studies, various supermarket prices, and farmers market prices.
Fresh vegetables are also nutritional powerhouses that are low in calories but pack huge amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Click through to learn about the tastiest, healthiest spring vegetables and what to do with them.