With local farmers' markets gearing up for opening day, it's time to break out of your winter rut and prepare your pantry for the warmer temperatures ahead. Little additions, such as pestos and relishes, are exactly what you need to brighten up your plate for spring.
Here are nine specialty pantry staples that fully embrace the season.
Ramp Pesto from Blackberry Farm
Ramps are a popular item in restaurants throughout the spring. New York French chef Gabriel Kreuther, who uses the allium in his Gewürztraminer-braised sweetbread dish, is a big fan. "I can't wait to work with asparagus, ramps, fiddlehead ferns and morels—they are a must in the springtime," he says. Brighten up any dish with the addition of ramp pesto by serving it as a spread on your favorite crackers or add it to shrimp and grits for a twist on the classic.
Photo: Courtesy of Beall +Thomas Photography
Italian Truffle Artichoke Spread from Marx Pantry
This blend of artichokes, olive oil and Italian black truffles is a staple for quick appetizers and easy elevated dinner recipes. Spread it over toasted baguette slices or toss with fresh, warm pasta.
Photo: Courtesy of Marx Pantry
Apricot Jam from Stonewall Kitchen
Spreading this delicious jam on toast or a scone is only the beginning. Keep the party going well into lunch and dinner by adding it to recipes like glazed chicken.
Photo: Courtesy of Stonewall Kitchen
Habanero Sriracha from Kitchen Garden Farm
Upgrade that Sriracha sauce you've been using all winter with this habanero version from Kitchen Garden Farm. To make the special blend, the company ferments the chiles for seven days and then cooks and purées them. Just went you thought Sriracha couldn't get any better . . .
Photo: Courtesy of Kitchen Garden Farm
The Bronx Hot Sauce
This sauce is made from serrano peppers and perfect for dousing on everything. Plus, proceeds from each bottle directly support the gardens and gardeners who grow the ingredients.
Photo: Courtesy of Bronx Hot Sauce
Rhubarb Ginger Achaar from Brooklyn Delhi
This seasonal relish is made from locally sourced rhubarb and combines fresh ginger, green chiles and Indian spices into an irresistible and versatile condiment. Try it with rice and curry, or pair it with pork chops for a tart and tangy bite.
Photo: Courtesy of Brooklyn Delhi
Whole-Wheat Berries from Nitty Gritty Grain
This grain's sweet and nutty flavor makes it a great alternative to oatmeal and other grains you might use in your breakfast bowls. Angela Gelso from The Greene Grape, an artisanal grocery store in Brooklyn, New York, suggests adding it to spring salads, too. In addition to mixing up your daily grain routine, they are an excellent source of dietary fiber as well.
Photo: Courtesy of The Greene Grape
Meyer Lemon Honey from Bees Knees
Handcrafted in Brooklyn, this product combines sweet honey from the Hudson Valley with bright citrus flavors. It's just begging to be drizzled over a bowl of fresh berries or plate of crispy fried chicken.
Photo: Courtesy of Bushwick Kitchen
Rosé Vinegar from O-Med
Add some acidity to your spring dishes with rosé wine vinegar. Mike Morse from Regalis Foods in Long Island City, New York, says it's great for pickling, but also as dressing. "Just [make] a simple rosé vinegar and olive oil dressing, throw in some shallots and a teaspoon of mustard for a killer shallot vinaigrette." It also makes an excellent marinade for different types of meat.
Photo: Courtesy of O-Med