Spring Has Sprung!

Spring Has Sprung!

You’ve probably given your house, car, and wardrobe a good once over – but how about yourself?? Maybe some of you have already been experiencing spring for awhile (the equinox was in March – but here on Long Island, its been slow to roll in. Spring is a great time to detoxify your body, refresh your energy and really explore agriculture as an outlet for health and healing!

Here I’ve made a risotto that’s just bursting with spring flavors and acts as a wonderful cleanse for the body. Removing toxins from the body means targeting three organs: the liver, kidney and colon. The onion family (spring onions, garlic, etc.) both inhibit enzymes that activate toxins, and promote the elimination of toxins from the body. Their cousin, asparagus, helps to cleanse the kidneys and purify the blood. The brassicas (radishes, turnips, kale, etc.) contain glucosinolates which help to metabolize and eliminate toxins. All these plants contain fiber, which helps clear out the colon.

Spring Risotto 
1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
6-8 cups vegetable broth
2 c. pea shoots
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch turnips
1 bunch radishes
squeeze of lemon juice
pinch of salt

Get your vegetable broth simmering on the stove. I almost always have a few containers in the fridge and freezer – instead of composting veggie scraps, I just throw them in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer. When it’s full, I boil everything, simmer it for an hour, strain the veggies, and I’ve got broth!
Heat a cast iron pan, and add your rice. You can use any kind of rice to make risotto – including brown, which I’d highly recommend, but I only had 30 minutes to make this dish, so I stuck with lame Arborio. Toast it for about a minute, stirring frequently.
Start adding in the broth a cup at a time. The heat on your cast iron should be fairly low. Keep stirring the rice after each addition of liquid, and continue adding liquid until the rice is creamy, fluffy and soft. Or whatever consistency you like your risotto.
Depending on how cooked you’d like your veggies, you can either throw them in halfway through the cooking time, or when you’ve only got about 5 minutes to go.
-I put the pea shoots in a blender with some water, and added that mix in with the 3rd cup of broth.
-The radishes and turnips were sliced in half, and thrown in with about 15 minutes of cooking to go.
-The asparagus was sliced on the diagonal and added with just a few minutes of cooking to go.
-The pink/red you see in the picture are some spinach stalks that were about to be discarded, and I figured, why not? They were tossed in.

Other great spring detox vegetables to consider:
-Bok Choy/Pak Choi: promotes digestion, great source of vitamin C & phytonutrients to strengthen the immune system
-Mustard Greens: high in glucosinolates, excellent source of vitamin C & beta carotene
-Leeks: high fiber content, mild diuretic properties, healthy dose of vitamin K
-Artichokes: stimulate bile production & fat digesting enzymes
-Fiddlehead Ferns: rich in antioxidants, vitamins A & C, magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorous

Stay tuned for the wild edibles you can find popping up all over your yard, local parks or community gardens that are a great way to continue the detox!

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