The benefits of seasonal eating
Bianca Parau, Lead Paediatric Dietitian at Bupa Cromwell Hospital, shares why it’s so good to eat the fresh food that’s in season.
If you stick to seasonal produce, you’ll not only save money (since large volumes are available in season), but you’ll support local farming. And it’s likely to taste better too.
When fruits and vegetables are transported, they’re usually picked in advance (usually when they’re not yet ripe). They’re then refrigerated and once they reach their destination, put in a hot house to artificially ripen them before they’re put on sale. Fruits and vegetables can lose some nutritional value during this process as all attempts are made to increase and extend the shelf life.
It’s a much better idea to build your family’s menus around seasonal produce, incorporating these seasonal stars where you can. You’ll be surprised how much you can do with something like a pumpkin when you start experimenting with both sweet and savoury dishes. And while this autumnal produce is in season, buy some extra, and prep and freeze it to enjoy later.
Here are three of my favourite ways to make the most of this season’s produce.
Butternut squash hummus
The perfect snack for autumn that’s full of flavour and colour.
2 cups of peeled and diced butternut squash
salt and pepper
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (hold back 3 tbsp of the liquid)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp tahini
- Preheat your oven to 2000C.
- Put your butternut squash on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Roast for 15 to 20 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Next, combine it with the chickpeas, reserved liquid, lemon juice, garlic and tahini.
- Blend in a food processor until it’s smooth.
- Chill for 30 minutes and serve with other vibrant autumnal vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.
Thai butternut spiced soup
This spicy soup is the ultimate in comfort food. Kick back and enjoy…
1 butternut squash
1 chicken (or vegetable) stock cube
2 cans of light coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of Thai green curry paste
- Empty both cans of coconut milk into a deep pan.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Remove the skin of the butternut squash and cut it up into cubes, then add them to the coconut milk.
- Add the green curry paste and stock cube.
- Cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat, or until the squash is very soft.
- Put the mix into a blender until it’s smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Chocolate and hazelnut apple
The ultimate sweet treat for this time of year.
400g milk chocolate
small packet of hazelnuts
1 tbsp butter
- Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl and then microwave for 30 seconds at a time (checking and stirring until it’s melted).
- Smash up the nuts using a rolling pin.
- Push the lolly sticks into the apples.
- While holding the stick, dip the apple into the melted chocolate and roll it into the crushed nuts. Refrigerate for two hours then enjoy!
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