Spring is here. (No, really, it is!) And it’s time to start taking advantage of spring produce, so as to get the best of what the season has to offer. To that end, Foodland Ontario has a great chart of what fruits and vegetables commonly arrive by month. To find out about April, just look at the “A” between the two “M”s. The vegetables listed are still fairly wintry: cabbage, carrots, beets, parsnips. And fruit is still taking a long time: apples and rhubarb will be fresh, but other items will have been imported from elsewhere.
Don’t lose heart, though. Just as your home may be due for a spring cleaning (now that you can finally open some windows and air the place out), your culinary routines may be due for an overhaul to help you prepare for a more delicious and nutritious summer. Here are some tips to help you get ready:
- Use all that cabbage to make kimchi. Kimchi is easy, healthy, and delicious. It has beneficial bacteria from lacto-fermentation, just like yogurt. It also tastes great on grilled meat, which you may be enjoying this summer. So why not start now? Here is an easy recipe to get you started.
- Prepare your grill. You don’t want to wait for the first sunny weekend of the year to prepare your barbecue for grilling season. Cleaning your grill won’t actually take that long, and taking the time to buy propane or charcoal now means you won’t have to stand in line with everyone else who procrastinated. Besides, lugging those bags and tanks is a great workout (if you remember to lift from your knees).
- Get your canning kit together. If you want to preserve summer’s bounty, you might want to take up canning, pickling, or preserving. Ball has a great list of products to help, but the Fresh Preserving Kitis probably best for beginners. If you get it ahead of time, you’ll be able to preserve all of your favourite flavours as they make their debut.
- Clean and sterilize your beverage dispensers, or pick one up, so that you can enjoy sun tea as soon as it’s sunny. If you have a big enough jar, you can also make umeshu, a traditional Japanese liqueur made with seasonal fruit. Unlike with most liqueurs, you’ll be able to control the sugar content. If you don’t drink, you can use a similar process to make a vinegar drink with honey.