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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Signs of spring around us

Monday, April 19, 2010

As I write this article, it looks and feels like summer. By the time you read this, it may well feel like winter again.

Welcome to spring in Indiana!

Whether it's feeling 'spring-like' or not can certainly vary by the day, if not by the hour. That is one of the many signs of spring in our part of the world.

For some, spring is their favorite time of the year. These are probably the people who love the longer and warmer days, spring showers and flowers and those who don't suffer too much from spring allergies.

One sign of spring is the annual Extension Homemakers' Spring Dessert to recognize new members. This year's event, which is themed "April Showers," is being held at the Fairgrounds on April 29. The guest speaker for this year's program will be Randy Ollis, meteorologist for Channel 8.

The clubs hosting this year's Spring Dessert are preparing a chicken and noodle dinner which will be served starting at 5:30 p.m.

Reservations for dinner were due by April 15, and according to those serving the food, no meals will be served without a ticket. However, anyone wishing to come after the meal for the program only is welcome to attend.

Spring is also a good time for beginning to enjoy lighter foods, including spring asparagus and a wider variety of great-tasting produce that was grown closer to home.

It's also time to start looking forward visiting area farmers' markets. Whether you are going to an area market or to your regular grocery store, remember to check out the produce and pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoy.

Most Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables. They are a great source of vitamins and other nutrients and usually low in fat, sodium and calories as long as we don't fry them or cover them with cheese or a rich sauce.

One spear of asparagus is only four calories. It's low in sodium and an excellent source of folic acid, and a good source of vitamin C, Thiamin and vitamin B6. Asparagus contains no fat or cholesterol, and provides 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving.

When shopping for asparagus, choose odorless asparagus and select green stalks with dry, tight tips that are closed and compact. Refrigerate asparagus for up to four days by wrapping the ends of the stalks in wet paper towel and placing in a plastic bag.

Quick cooking is the best way to preserve the distinctive taste and nutritional bang of asparagus. Asparagus can be grilled, steamed, stir-fried or cooked in the microwave. Another option is roasting, which brings out its flavor and sweetness.

To roast asparagus, wash and trim fresh asparagus spears. Spread spears on a large-rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle spears with olive oil and roll them around to coat lightly. Roast medium-thick spears in a preheated 450-degree Fahrenheit oven about 15 minutes; thin ones only take about 10 minutes.

Occasionally shake the pan to roll them around for even browning. Test with a fork to determine doneness. Spears should be tender throughout and lightly browned.

Visit www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming events

April 23: 4-H Camper Forms Due

April 26: Pond Workshop

April 29: Ext. Homemaker Spring Dessert at Fairgrounds

May 4: Extension Office Closed (Primary Election Polling Place)

May 10: "End of Life Financial Issues," 7 p.m. in Ext. Classroom