Top Foods to Eat in April

With spring creeping up on the world and summer looming not far away around the corner, the variety of fresh produce becomes more and more abundant. Let’s see what’s in season in April* and find out how to shake up your daily menu with fresh ideas!

AVOCADO

Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fats

This fruit – yes, technically it IS a fruit - is no novelty, but the creaminess and richness of its taste has marked a place for avocado in the cookbooks of the world. We know it as an ingredient of savory dishes, but in Brazil avocados are a popular ice cream and milkshake ingredient. Watch out for the amount you eat, though – half an avocado makes a daily portion, as it is packed with monounsaturated fats. The good ones they are, but still, they are fats.

Cooking with Avocado:

BROWN BEECH MUSHROOMS

Brown beech mushrooms have a pronounced flavor

These cuties are native to Japan and also go by their native name of Hon Shimeji. They have a sweetish flavor resembling that of nuts and remain cutely shaped even when cooked. But the best thing is that you need no special recipe to enjoy brown beech mushrooms – use them as you would any other mushroom, just make sure you cook them through properly, because the taste of raw brown beech mushrooms is way too strong.

Cooking with Brown Beech Mushrooms:

Try using them in place of one kind of mushrooms in this Roasted Portobello, Shiitake, and Crimini Mushrooms recipe

DANDELION GREENS

Dandelion leaves taste better with the bitter midrib removed

You sure know the little suns hiding in the grass as a pretty flower or an annoying garden weed, but did you know you can consume both greens and petals of the dandelion? Remove the bitter midrib, blanche the dandelion greens and use them to make smoothies and salads. Flowers make a perfect salad ingredient and a decoration, too, and roots can be dried, roasted, powdered and used to brew a coffee-like drink.  

Cooking with Dandelions:

Dandelion Salad

FIDDLEHEADS

Fiddleheads can only be eaten when thoroughly cooked

These beauties are young curled up sprouts of the Ostrich fern. Harvested before they unfurl, fiddleheads have the taste that some describe as resembling a mixture of spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. Since their furled stage is very brief, fiddleheads can be quite expensive and found only in specialty stores. Fiddleheads require much fuss, as one can only eat them thoroughly cooked through: boil them in water for seven minutes or steam for ten minutes and then use like any other vegetable. Fiddleheads add a great flavor to pasta dishes; they work well in omelets and other egg dishes, or as a side dish for meat or fish – just sauté them in butter for a richer taste.

Cooking with Fiddleheads:

Sautéed Fiddleheads

GREEN GARLIC

Green garlic has a milder taste

Tender sprouts and bulbs of young garlic can be used the usual way – they will give a milder flavor, which is often a nice alternative because spring dishes rarely need the intensity that cured garlic offers.  

Cooking with Green Garlic:

MAPLE SYRUP

Maple syrup is the freshest in April

Although strongly associated with fall and comfort breakfast pancakes, maple syrup is actually made in spring because this is when maple sap is collected. Fresh syrup is loaded with antioxidants and compounds that help to fight inflammation. There is another great thing about maple syrup: you can work out a seasonal analogy and look for syrups made from the sap of other trees, like birch or walnut. Why not? Spring is the time of fresh starts and discoveries!

Cooking with Maple Syrup:

Baked Apples with Walnuts and Maple Syrup

PEA SHOOTS

Tender pea shoots have a crunch

That’s right, not the familiar tiny green balls of sweet peas, but their earlier stage is now the new culinary black. Native to Asian cuisine, pea shoots have less sweetness than ripe peas, but their taste is very similar plus they have an additional bonus – a pleasant crunch. You can sauté pea shoots with garlic and add a kick with chili, or just chop them up and add to fresh salads for a new shade of flavor.

Cooking with Pea Shoots:

Stir-Fried Pea Shoots

SARDINES

Strong flavor of sardines develops when grilled

Those puppies are not widely appraised, but this is a huge case of neglect! Sardines are one of the cheapest fish you can buy, and at the same time one of the healthiest. Their peculiar taste develops in the best way when the tiny fishes are cooked fresh – brushed with olive oil, grilled or broiled, and enjoyed with tomato sauce.

Cooking with Sardines:

Spaghetti with Sardines and Lemon Juice

SORREL

Tangy sorrel can replace basil in pesto and other sauces

Also known by the name of sour grass, this spring green is often used to liven up fresh salads with its tangy, lemony taste. However, it’s often cooked in soups, where its tamed flavor works like a charm. Or it may be used as an alternative to basil in pesto and sauce for fish dishes.

Cooking with Sorrel:

Sorrel Pesto

STRAWBERRIES

Hurry up to enjoy strawberries - their season is short

No one can deny the immense popularity of strawberries. They are known to make great jam, but can be very sophisticated, too, when combined with aged cheese or basil. But of course, if you don’t want to fiddle with pots and pans, just rinse your strawberries and enjoy the sweetness and tartness of the addictive berry.

Cooking with Strawberries:

 

Do you know any other seasonal April foods or recipes with the ones we suggested? Feel free to share your knowledge in the comments!

 

* Please note that seasonal foods may vary depending on the week in April and on the area you live in.

 



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