Buying in Season: Budget Grocery Tip

Buying produce in season is a great way to save money and enjoy the freshest fruits and vegetables. A recent trip to the grocery store found that the following is just coming into season:

Asparagus
– look for bright green stalks with closed, compact tips. Thinner stalks will be more tender than thick. Also available in purple and white stalks.
Avocado – squeeze gently; the avocado will give slightly when ripe.
Baby greens – choose bright and healthy looking greens with no brown edges.
Fava beans – find firm pods with few markings on them.
Rhubarb – bright red, firm and crisp stalks are best.
Spinach – bright green leaves with no brown spots.
Strawberries – the smaller the berry, the sweeter. Look for fragrant berries.
Sugar snap peas – firm pods with bright green color are freshest.

We’re enjoying the first stalks of asparagus from our garden. We have found that the best way to enjoy the crisp and distinct taste is to cook it simply. Cut up the stalks into two-inch strips and toss on a baking sheet with some olive oil and salt, and roast at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. Or wrap the stalks in bacon (turkey bacon works well, too) and cook at 450 for about 15 to 20 minutes. Or you can steam the asparagus for about 10 minutes, then top with salt and pepper and some lemon juice or butter. Either way, the fresh spring like taste of the asparagus will come through.