The arrival of spring usually conjures images of fresh fruits and vegetables, but not necessarily pineapples and artichokes. However, with consumers seeking more in-season produce than ever before, Meijer produce buyers report an increased demand for both foods in March.
According to Statista.com, Americans now consume more than seven whole fresh pineapples annually, showing a steady increase in consumption since 2000. Meijer produce buyers report the retailer moves more than 12 million pounds of whole pineapples per year, and more than 9 million pounds of cored/chunked pineapple per year. Pineapples are also known to be rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, so they help to fight the seasonal allergies that tend to start flaring in March.
Once considered a garnish for hams, pineapples can be found in many different dishes today. At this time of year, many Midwesterners enjoy pineapples as a dessert in the form of a classic upside-down cake. If you are looking to add a little spring to your meals, try a Cast Iron Upside-Down Cake.
Artichokes also come into season in March. Meijer buyers report the retailer moves more than 9,000 pounds of artichokes per year, and that long-stemmed artichokes are gaining popularity among consumers. Producers include the stem because it’s an extension of the heart, which many people would argue is the veggie’s best-tasting feature. According to WebMD, artichokes are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K, claiming the seventh spot on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list. Artichokes pair very well with green olives, raw almonds, goat cheeses, lemons and asparagus.
Artichokes are often enjoyed steamed. If you are new to artichokes, try Steamed Artichokes with Lemon and Mint Aioli.