Spring is so close you can almost taste it. But who knows what the weather will be like over the rest of February, or even March.
As I write this, the sun is shining and big parts of the sky are the brightest blue, but winter has a habit of rearing its ugly head, and this time next week, we could all be ankle-deep in snow.
But even though the weather makes it a bit of a challenge to cycle around, I’m really grateful to enjoy such lovely winter days. And furthermore, I get to write this column, looking ahead to spring! I’m doubled up with excitement.
The first signs of spring
Now I really don’t know anybody who’s not excited and happy about spring coming. And what’s not to get excited about after a long, cold and dark winter. The weather gets warmer, the days get longer, nature’s blooming, people tend to fall in love, and at the first sight of the sun you’ll start seeing the Danes outside, curled up in a blanket and most likely freezing their behinds off. That’s right! That’s exactly how much we yearn for the sun, warmth and light.
A month of transition
March is a month of transition. The trees are starting to blossom again as they feel the warm sun beams, while the veggies are slowly starting to take on a spring feeling. Still, a lot of them remain the same as the previous winter months. Expect plenty of carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, celeriac, onions, parsnips, Hamburg parsley, leeks, Brussels sprouts, beetroot, kale and apples.
The herbs of hope
You’ll get the first taste of spring with the first fresh herbs. How wonderful is that? Slowly and steadily, they’ll start appearing in the spring (and summer). Look out for basil, rosemary, watercress, lemon balm, tarragon, sage, thyme, oregano, parsley, chives, coriander, chervil, marjoram and mint. And besides the fresh herbs, the cucumbers, radishes and a variation of mushrooms and tomatoes are coming.
It’s time to say a grateful goodbye to the root veggies – I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve had more than enough of them at this point; and hello to the true spring sensation. Besides what March offered us, a large variation of lettuces are now in season, including babyleaves and rocket. Baby spinach is also coming along. If we’re lucky, the weather has been warm and the sun’s been out, you’ll even get the first rhubarb now. And finally, here’s a small April shout out for the forgotten ramson (wild garlic). This herb is having a revival these years, and it will grant you the tastiest and craziest bright green pesto. Try it!
May you spring with health
The spring onions, pak choy, new (almost-no-need-to-peel) garlic, spinach and asparagus have come! Hold on now … we’re approaching summer … and that means STRAWBERRIES! That’s right: with a little bit of luck and sun, the strawberries will be ready to eat in May.
Keeping it seasonal is key
In our global society, you can get most vegetables and fruits throughout the year, but if you eat according to the season, I’m sure you’ll get a different experience. The flavours are more intense, and the vitamin/mineral content is higher – which of course means it’s better for you. And in a bigger perspective, it’s so much better for our planet and environment to eat local food. So give your taste buds the thrill of trying some of the season veggies – preferably the organic version.
Here’s wishing you a great spring!
A self-confessed “food passionist and organic geek since forever”, Dittemaria Søndergaard is the former assistant manager at BioMio, Copenhagen’s best known and biggest organic eatery. Founded in 2009 , and located on the always interesting Halmtorvet just outside the vibrant Kødbyen, its finger is on the pulse of what Copenhageners want on their plates: seasonal fare straight from the source with nothing in between.