Portlanders celebrate the arrival of spring in our unique Portland way– by eating amazing, locally grown, seasonal food! Gone are those long, wet days. Now there is new Pacific Northwest produce, ready to be enjoyed.
At Burlingame Dental Arts, your Portland dental office, we’re encouraging our patients to really explore this abundance of fresh foods because it supports great dental care. Spring vegetables are rich in the minerals and vitamins we need to keep our teeth healthy— what a better way to celebrate living in the Great Northwest than with a beautiful smile?
You may be starting to see raab in the grocery store– spring is its moment to shine, but what is it? Raab is actually new shoots and buds of members of the brassica family. Broccoli raab may be the most common type seen on the shelves, but collards, kale, mustard, and even brussel sprouts all offer raabs.
Raabs are best eaten by lightly sauteing or briefly branching. Eat it as-is or use in stir-fries, omelettes, salads or sides.
Spring pea shoots
We’re still waiting for those delicious sugar snap peas to arrive, but fresh greens are already here– in the form of pea shoots! These beautiful and delicious greens don’t take any preparation and will brighten any spring salad. Because so many of us grow peas in our kitchen gardens, this is a good way to stretch the garden’s giving season just a little farther.
Portlanders are lucky in that we get to enjoy locally harvested seasonal mushrooms many times out of the year– and in the spring, that mushroom is the morel. Its funny, honey-combed exterior is unmistakable, and delicious with butter and garlic.
Many people enjoy hunting for mushrooms themselves, but experts (and Burlingame Dental Arts) still caution against hunting and eating mushrooms without experience or the help of someone versed in the art of mushroom foraging. Besides, morels are plentiful in grocery stores this time of year, making it unnecessary to trudge through the still-damp hills outside Portland.
If you are out on the hunt for morels with a local mushroom expert, keep an eye out for the wild-sourced sensation of the season: fiddleheads. Fiddleheads resemble the curly end of a violin, hence their name, but really they are the unfurled frond of an ostrich fern.
Beautiful to behold, and tasting faintly of asparagus, fiddleheads can only be found for a couple weeks each spring– making them a special treat. They can be steamed or lightly sauteed with butter and lemon for a delicious and wild side dish.
Speaking of asparagus, starting in April, this delicious vegetable will officially be in season. While asparagus is technically available year ’round, thanks to the wonders of our global economy, the best way to enjoy asparagus is to indulge by eating the young, tender shoots when they’re really in season.
Asparagus is a hearty perennial, making it a good candidate for home gardens. It offers gum-healthy B vitamins while being low in calories and sodium.
What are your Pacific Northwest spring favorites?
Share them with us at your next appointment!