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All-Star Ingredients: Spring Picks

While it felt like spring was a long time coming for 2021, the sunshine has finally arrived! With the weather starting to warm up, going to the farmers' market is even more fun. Not only is walking around pleasant, but some of our favorite, truly seasonal produce are out on gorgeous display.

At the top of our list are fresh peas. Sure, frozen varieties are handy, but in spring you will find them fresh and still in the pod. These sweet, perfect little green pearls are one of our favorite springtime treats. They’re a fantastic way to add a pop of color and flavor to just about any savory dish. Making risotto? Stir in some peas. Braising beef? Pop some in at the very end. Feel free to use fresh peas in all of our Smart Cooker recipes calling for frozen; just keep in mind that you may need to cook them a little longer. When shopping for fresh peas, keep in mind that to yield one cup of peas, you’ll need to shuck about one pound of pods. 

Arugula is another green goodie this time of year. Compared to the arugula you get in winter at the supermarket, freshly picked packs a more peppery punch. We absolutely love sprinkling some leaves into our scrambled eggs or topping avocado toast for a refreshing bite.

Rhubarb is another perfect pick this season. Here at CHEF iQ, we call it red celery, and if you’ve seen it outside of a pie you’ll know why. Ripe stalks of rhubarb are available only for a short period of time, so if you’re a fan, stock up now as it freezes well. We love to use rhubarb in pies, galettes, and crumbles, as its tart flavor feels a smidge more sophisticated than your average berry. It’s classically combined with strawberries for a tangy-sweet combo that you’ll keep on craving.