With Winter in full swing it’s probably more important that at this time of year we all make sure we get our recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day to ensure we stay fit and healthy. Below I’ve listed some of the better choices available to you;
Although used in sweet dishes, rhubarb is actually a vegetable. It tastes great either stewed or in comforting crumbles. To stew it, wash the sticks, cut them into pieces around 7.5cm long, place in a pan with a little sugar and a dash of water and cook on a low heat. You’ll find all the rhubarb in store at this time of year is grown in the so-called ‘rhubarb triangle’ between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield. It’s called ‘forced’ rhubarb because it’s grown in darkness which encourages the sticks to grow while the leaves stay small and yellow. It’s then picked by candlelight to preserve the quality of the crop. Forced rhubarb is sweeter than summer rhubarb and is also a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fibre.
Rich in complex carbohydrates, low in fat and a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, butternut squash acquires a lovely nutty flavour when roasted or baked. It’s also a great ingredient for warming soups and casseroles. Cut it open and remove the seeds and fibre before cooking and peel it if necessary. For a winter warmer recipe for Thai butternut squash curry, see the recipe section.
Apple crumble and apple pie are the UK’s favourite desserts [http://www.ceramic-knife-sharpener.com], which is why the UK is the only country in the world to grow apples especially for cooking. Nearly 95 per cent of the cooking apples eaten in the UK are Bramley apples. They were originally cultivated by Matthew Bramley who found this special fruit in his Nottinghamshire garden in 1846. Bramley apples are full of essential vitamins and minerals and a good source of dietary fibre and vitamin C.
To stay healthy, we should all aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. At this time of year, that isn’t always easy but some types of fruit are at their very best during the winter months. Grapefruit is one of these fruits and it provides many nutrients, such as vitamin C, that we need during the dark, cold days.
There are several varieties of grapefruit, each with a different coloured flesh. The pink varieties tend to be sweeter than the slightly astringent white grapefruit which may need a little sugar to make it palatable. Try it for breakfast, lightly sprinkle the surface with sugar then fork the top of the fruit to mix the grapefruit juice and sugar together. With a small bladed cutting utensil cut through the segments to make it easier to remove from the skin and eat.
For a delicious salad, mix grapefruit segments with some green salad leaves and avocado. It’s also good with prawns, shrimps or other seafood.
Seville [http://www.ceramic-knife-sharpener.com] oranges are known as ‘bitter oranges’ because their sour taste makes them inedible without cooking. However, because of their high pectin content, they are great for making marmalade. Seville oranges give marmalade its distinctive, bitter-sweet taste, and it’s called thick cut’ or ‘thin cut’ depending on how thickly the peel is sliced.
Remember boys and girls; eat your fruit and vegetables and you’ll grow up to be big and strong.