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spring salad Spring is on its way! With the new season comes green grass, crisp air, warmer temperatures and the return of great seasonal ingredients. At Colony Diner, we are passionate about food inside and out of the restaurant. We look forward to using fresh ingredients that are at their peak in the springtime and recommend you try them in your cooking too!

We list 8 of the most popular seasonal ingredients for spring and how to use them.

1. Artichokes

This vegetable can be intimidating to people who have never cooked one! Artichokes have a collection of buds around the central heart, the most delicious part of the plant. When you are preparing an artichoke, first cut the stem and one inch from the top before peeling back the leaves to reveal the artichoke heart. Most describe the taste as a slightly nutty flavor.

2. Asparagus

Asparagus is another spring vegetable that can be difficult to pick out. When buying asparagus, look for firm, straight and crisp stalks. A few popular ways of cooking asparagus include oven roasting, grilling and boiling on the stovetop. A tip to keep asparagus fresh for longer is to submerge the cut stems in cold water in the refrigerator.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries are a nutritious fruit and convenient snack! Come springtime, they are firm and deep blue across the supermarkets. When blueberries are plump, you can expect them to taste plump, juicy and sweet. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and may help improve memory over time.

4. Mint Leaves

Vibrant green, tender mint leaves may be small, but can bring a world of flavor to any dish. Mint leaves can be used for tea, as a recipe garnish or in alcoholic beverages. Surprisingly, this herb can complement spicy foods by providing a cool mouthfeel. Mint leaves also aid in digestion and reduce inflammation.

5. Morel Mushrooms

Did you know that there are thousands of species of mushrooms? The edible types have a strong flavor and provide many vitamins to the body. Morel mushrooms are in season for spring and have a meaty, earthy flavor. Morels should be sautéed and eaten cooked on their own, over rice or in a delicious omelette!

6. Peas

Bright green peas in the garden and snow varieties come into season in spring. Garden peas need to be shelled before eaten and tend to be sweeter, while snow peas need to be trimmed and are more mild in flavor. Peas can be blanched, stir fried or eaten raw! Sauté them in garlic, onions and butter or olive oil to combine multiple spring flavors.

7. Ramps

A ramp is a wild leek, a perennial and bulbous flowering plant with a mild onion flavor. Ramps are popular for their versatility and balanced taste. They can be sautéed, pickled, roasted or grilled and added to other spring vegetables to create a medley of flavor that will complement your main course.

8. Spinach

Like most vegetables, you can buy spinach any time of the year, but the springtime is this leafy green’s peak. Their sweet and slightly bitter taste make them useful in almost any dish from breakfast to lunch and dinner. Use raw spinach as the lettuce in your salad, sautéed in a quick breakfast dish or steamed as a dinner side.

If you enjoy fresh ingredients and quality food, stop by Colony Diner in Wallingford for a delicious meal you’ll never forget!