Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.
Today: We’re ready to be done with winter squash and rutabagas. (Sorry fellas, we'll see you again all too soon.) Here's what we’re shopping for now -- and what we can’t wait to be able to put in our baskets.
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Potatoes. They seem like cold-weather fare, and you’re ready for spring. But potatoes make for perfect comfort food when you’re forced to pull out your heavy coat yet again during the sporadic weather of March. Visit a farmers market to find unusual potato varieties and fall in love with these versatile tubers all over again.
Fennel. In season from late fall into early spring, you still have time to enjoy fennel. And don't waste a bit of it -- the entire plant can be consumed, not just the bulb. Put the stalks, fronds, seeds, and pollen to use too!
Broccoli Rabe. Broccoli rabe seems like it should be a type of broccoli. Its flowers look like tiny broccoli florets, and if you stripped its stalk of leaves, you might swear it’s broccolini. You'd be wrong, but not so far off -- broccoli rabe is a member of the brassica family, although it’s more closely related to turnips than it is broccoli.
Mushrooms. Cultivated mushrooms are available year-round, but wild mushrooms return in the spring. Mushroom stems are edible, but on larger or older mushrooms they can be woody and tough. Cut them off, but don't toss them -- they'll add wonderful depth to your next batch of stock.
Ramps. Ramps belong to the allium family (like garlic, onions, and chives), and they take 5 to 7 years to mature! So if you’re foraging for them, do so responsibly -- only harvest 10 to 15% of a patch of ramps in a given year, so the area isn't cleared out and has a chance to regrow.