This is a great time of year to be eating seasonal and locally produced vegetables and fruits. Our changeable climate provides us with a wealth of nutritious and delicious fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood all grown or produced in the UK.
The government recommends we eat 5 fruit and veg a day but at this time of year, with plentiful salads and our own home grown fruits, it is easier to eat even more. Try a side salad with every main meal and young freshly picked vegetables can be snacked on raw. Have a piece of fruit for breakfast every day and another at lunch. Add two or three green leafy vegetables with supper and baby carrots or corn and you’ve already exceeded your total.
If you want to avoid buying food that may have clocked up lots of food miles, check out the popular Farmers Markets in both Milford and Guildford where local growers sell their produce direct. There are also numerous ‘pick your own’ farms where you can stock up on the best of the seasons fruit and vegetables.
If you want organic and the convenience of delivery to your door try, the local veg box schemes:
Somerfield Smith (www.surreyproduce.com) Tel.: 07939 441 313 are Godalming based and provide a good range of local produce and veg boxes that are mainly UK sourced, and also supply local honey and eggs. They have now added organic meat from Surrey and Hampshire to their growing list of produce.
Horti Halcyon (www.hortihalcyon-organic.co.uk) Tel: 01483 232 095 are Guildford based and grow their own produce as well as providing other groceries.
Here are some of my favourite vegetables and fruit available right now:
Spinach contains many antioxidant vitamins and minerals including A, E and zinc. It enhances immunity and helps lower cholesterol. A popular veg to have raw in salads but the whole young leaves can be used in stir fries (stir in literally a minute before serving). Spinach and eggs are a great combination: steam spinach until just wilted and drain, squeezing out excess moisture. Chop finely and add to beaten egg for use in omelettes or scrambled eggs.
Courgettes are full of Vitamins A and C and contain magnesium, potassium and carotenes. One of the nicest ways to eat courgette is to halve lengthways and parboil for a couple of minutes. Drain and leave to cool. Scoop out the flesh taking care not to tear the skins. Chop up the flesh and fry gently in a little olive oil, adding a chopped onion, sliced garlic and chopped tomatoes. Pack this mixture back into the skin and bake in a medium oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with torn basil leaves and eat either hot or cold.
Baby gem lettuce is a great source of fibre and contains vitamins and minerals include A, C and D, folic acid, potassium and zinc. It is believed to stimulate the appetite and aid digestion.
Broad Beans are a great source of vegetarian protein and are high in vitamins B5 and folic acid making them a good support for the body’s defence against stress. I find that fresh broad beans need hardly any cooking. Steam for 3-4 minutes and if the beans are large, pop out of their skins. They can be added to salads, omelettes or mixed with other steamed baby veg and drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with freshly chopped mint and chives.
Mange tout are packed full of B vitamins and Vitamin A – all of which are good for healthy skin and hair. When picked young enough, they can be eaten raw and used as a ‘scoop’ for dips such as hummus or guacamole.
Beetroot is one of nature’s super foods. As well as supplying Vitamins A, B and C and many minerals it contains a substance that can help improve digestion. It has immune enhancing activity and raw beetroot juice (delicious honestly!) has been shown to help reduce blood pressure. As well as using cooked beetroot, you can grate it raw into salads.
Raspberries have powerful antioxidant properties that can help protect against degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease. They are a rich source of Vitamin C and dietary fibre. Delicious eaten on their own or rubbed through a coarse sieve to make a refreshing sauce to use with yoghurt or ice cream.
Strawberries are another great source of Vitamin C and flavonoids – compounds that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Delicious in shakes or smoothies.
So take advantage of the abundance of vegetables and fruit to be had and enjoy eating them (hopefully outside!) happy in the knowledge that you are supporting local farmers and producers.
This is one of my favourite recipes for summer that is crunchy and refreshing!
What you need
- ¼ Chinese cabbage or ¼ pointed cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 fresh red chilli pepper, seed removed and finely diced
- 1 small bag of baby spinach, washed and dried
- 100g mange tout peas, trimmed but left whole (if large then slice lengthways)
- 250g broad beans, shelled and steamed for 2-3 minutes then popped out of their skins
- 2 spring onions, sliced
For the lime dressing
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (fresh)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 handful each of coriander, basil and mint, chopped finely
What you do
Place all the ingredients in a salad bowl and mix carefully. Add the dressing and serve.
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