What’s Cooking – Local Food at Its Peak

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Photo: Epicurious.com

Photo: Epicurious.com

While its relatively easy to find most types of food year-round due to preservation methods, nothing beats snatching it fresh and at its peak. Thanks to this handy peak-season map, you can browse and see which ingredients near you are hitting their highest taste potential for the month. I’ve picked one food item that peaks in May from each area of the US, and found the best recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lets get cooking!

 

Northeast: Asparagus

Whether playing sidekick to a protein in a dish or starring on its own, asparagus is one flexible veggie. A delicacy in Ancient Greece, it has a mild flavor and tender texture, making it suitable for everything from pastas to bakes. Beyond the taste, it’s loaded with nutrients, and is a great way to add health benefits to whatever you’re whipping up.

Photo: Simplyrecipes.com

Photo: Simplyrecipes.com

Breakfast: Start the day off with the egg and cheesy goodness of an asparagus frittata.

Photo: BBCgoodfood.com

Photo: BBCgoodfood.com

Lunch: This light and super-healthy asparagus soup is a satisfying lunch solution.

Photo: Chow.com

Photo: Chow.com

Dinner: Celebrate spring by digging into a pesto and asparagus fettuccine. In other news, I’m now drooling.

 

Southeast: Blueberries

Prepare for an epidemic of purple mouths, because blueberries are hitting their peak all across the southeast. This antioxidant-packed fruit is known for making some killer pies, but also weirdly works in entrees. Don’t knock it until you try it, South Easterners!

Photo: Cookingquinoa.net

Photo: Cookingquinoa.net

Breakfast: These crunchy blueberry-almond muffins are gluten-free and vegan, and 100% amazing looking.

Photo: Yummymummykitchen.com

Photo: Yummymummykitchen.com

Lunch: A watermelon, cucumber and blueberry salad is a great light lunch or snack.

Photo: Barbellsandbellinis.com

Photo: Barbellsandbellinis.com

Dinner: Say it with me: blueberry guacamole. Once you wrap your head around the idea, this grilled chicken dish sounds pretty great.

 

Midwest: Rhubarb

Tart and stringy, rhubarb is a tough veggie to take on its own. Lucky for you Midwesterners, cooking it combats the notoriously sour flavor. While rhubarb desserts are common, like the blueberry, you might be surprised by its application in entree dishes.

Photo: Food.com

Photo: Food.com

Breakfast: Nothing like a slice of rhubarb coffee cake (paired with an actual coffee) to get your day started.

Photo: Theguardian.com

Photo: Theguardian.com

Lunch: This beetroot and rhubarb salad matches its tanginess with savory elements of cheese and onion.

Photo: Greatist.com

Photo: Greatist.com

Dinner: Tanginess is a classic element of good barbecue sauce, and this recipe for pork with rhubarb chutney sounds like a creative update.

 

Southwest: Swiss Chard

I’ve never had this leafy green before, but have heard tons about its health value. From antioxidants to anti-inflammatory benefits, swiss chard is consistently ranked among the healthiest vegetables around. Your May motivation is to take full advantage of all of the nutrients at its peak!

Photo: Bigeatstinykitchen.com

Photo: Bigeatstinykitchen.com

Breakfast: South-westerners will appreciate this twist on huevos rancheros: black bean and chard breakfast burritos!

Photo: Goodfoodnet.com

Photo: Goodfoodnet.com

Lunch: White beans and swiss chard are the springtime power couple behind this healthy soup.

Photo: Food52.com

Photo: Food52.com

Dinner: Bacon and parmesan cheese add a salty touch to this swiss chard and lemon ricotta pasta recipe.

 

West Coast: Apricots

If you live near California, you’ll want to take advantage of the apricots in season. Used for its alleged medicinal properties for centuries, apricots are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and are even thought to be good for your heart. Whatever your reason for eating them, this stone fruit works deliciously in savory and sweet dishes.

Photo: Barbarabakes.com

Photo: Barbarabakes.com

Breakfast: For those who don’t want a super-sweet breakfast, try some toasted apricot cherry bread with butter!

Photo: Delish.com

Photo: Delish.com

Lunch: If this grilled goat cheese, arugula and apricot dish tastes half as good as it looks, I know what I’m making after work…

Photo: Sheknows.com

Photo: Sheknows.com

Dinner: Apricots help control the spiciness in this delicious looking recipe for Moroccan chicken.

 

Hope you’re inspired to start recipe testing with local foods! Have a favorite recipe you think we should try, or another favorite food hitting its peak in May? Let us know in the comments!

 

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