Hooray! Farmers’ Market season is finally upon us! No more shelling out big bucks for organic produce at certain big box health food grocery stores (cough, cough, Whole Foods). Now you can buy local fresh produce that almost always makes juice that is yummier, healthier and all around better. Why is this? In a word: refrigeration. I’m not knocking the technology as a whole – it’s great for preserving all kinds of foods, not to mention staving off yucky diseases like salmonella. But refrigerated trucks have made it possible for us to eat fruits and vegetables in seasons that we were never meant to. Peaches in the middle of a snowy Midwest winter don’t make sense, and they usually don’t taste that great either. Typically, they’ve been picked extremely under ripe, shipped thousands of miles over many days before finally reaching your grocery story. The flesh is mealy and only a sad, distant cousin to a peach picked in summer, juicy and ripe, and tasting like sunshine.
So how are we supposed to keep track of what’s in season and when? There are a lot of great sites to find this useful information and below is a list I’ve curated for April along with tips on best uses. By choosing to juice these fruits and veggies this time of year, you’ll know your body is getting the best of the best in terms of freshness and nutrients. Happy juicing, friends!
In Season for April
Parsnips: Okay, okay, parsnips aren’t the sexiest of vegetables but you can bet that they’re good for you! A member of the root family and similar in taste and texture to carrots, parsnips contain poly-acetylene anti-oxidants such as falcarinol, falcarindiol, panaxydiol, and methyl-falcarindiol (I can’t pronounce them either). But these antioxidants are particularly great at warding off inflammation, fungus and cancer. Yay parsnips!
Arugula and Dandelion Greens: These plants may look like weeds in your backyard but resist the urge to go foraging. It’s best to buy these at your local farmers’ market and use just like you would spinach, kale, or lettuce. The juice of these green beauties is full of calcium, iron and magnesium. But users beware: they’re a little bitter/peppery so make sure to mix them up with a sweeter veggie, like parsnips (see above).
Beets: Even novice juicers know that beets are ideal for making delish juice, but are you aware that they help your heart? Yep, besides having ample amounts of Vitamin C, beets also contain betaine – a nutrient that lowers your body’s homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is bad for your blood vessels and can contribute to peripheral vascular disease, stroke and heart disease. Mix beet juice up with other veggies or drink the potent red stuff all by itself.
Oranges: No explanation needed here. REAL orange juice (not that modified, concentrated, homogenized stuff at your grocery store) is one of nature’s loveliest gifts. Enjoy accordingly.
Photo credit: Michel Meynsbrughen