Kale is full of vitamins, minerals and health-enhancing antioxidants. Research has shown that the fibre, bone-building calcium and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in kale help support the body’s natural detox system. Kale is easy to prepare. Simply remove the centre ribs of its leaves and then slice it into thin ribbons. Add to soups and stews in the last 20 minutes of cooking, or sauté it with a splash of olive oil for a delicious side dish.
Sweet Potatoes have a high concentration of beta carotene (the healthful antioxidant that gives this potato its orange hue). Beta carotene, which has been shown to help every cell in the body stay healthy, also happens to be a skin-targeted nutrient. Studies have shown it neutralizes wrinkles and helps generate new, healthy glowing skin cells. Sweet potatoes are also packed with fibre and energizing B-vitamins. Bake them whole or mash them with milk.
Winter is the season for root vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, turnips, swede, celeriac and sweet potatoes are all included in this grouping. They are perfect for making warming soups, casseroles and stews and as an accompaniment for roast meats and cooked fish.
Carrots are a good source of beta carotene, which our bodies turn into vitamin A and vitamin A is important for seeing in dim light. Carrots can be boiled, baked, fried, mashed, juiced, grated into salads or made into puddings, cakes, pies and croquettes. They are delicious eaten raw.
Parsnips are delicious either roasted or boiled and mashed with a pinch of mace or nutmeg. When buying parsnips make sure they are smooth and firm. Avoid the soft or shrivelled ones because they can be tough and stringy.
Turnips have a peppery flavour – try steaming young turnips, grating them into a salad or peel, dice and boil older turnips. Turnip mash can be delicious mixed with other mashed vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots or potatoes.
Beetroot is a colourful sweet root vegetable. It can be pickled and added to salads, fried, baked or used to make soup.
Don’t forget we should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
It is better to eat as wide a variety as one can as this helps to get a range of nutrients. Try out a different root vegetable today.
Broccoli – steam or stir fry quickly – darker heads with purplish hue are freshest.
Carrots – eat raw, steam or stir fry, make soup with celery, onions and lentils or potatoes, bake carrot cake – carrots full of vitamin A
Cauliflower – steam or stir fry, puree cooked cauliflower and serve as soup,
Celery – steam, add to soups, stews and casseroles, eat celery stalks with peanut butter for a crunchy snack, use leaves in salad, use combination of celery, apple and walnuts in waldorf salad.
Parsnips – delicious in soups, roasted with drizzle of honey, mashed with carrots- parsnips are high in folic acid, an essential vitamin for brain function, also contain vitamin C and potassium.
Turnips –steam, mash, mix with onion and stir fry, roast.
Also in season beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celeriac, kale, leeks, mushrooms and swedes.
Broad beans – these are best while tiny and tender – cook in a little water until tender and remove the skins before serving.
Broccoli – cut into florets and steam or stir-fry to preserve nutrients.
Carrots – the smaller the sweeter. Use raw, steam, stir-fry or roast.
Cauliflower – can be used raw in salads, steamed or stir-fried. Cook lightly for best flavour.
Courgettes – young small ones have the best flavour. Slice, grate or cut into ribbons to cook. They can be steamed, sautéed, stir-fried or roasted in chunks.
French Beans – top and tail and steam lightly.
Herbs – buy tender varieties like dill, basil, coriander in bunches and chop them generously into salads, stuffing, omelettes, rice and grain dishes.
Peas (in pod) best when young and small. Use raw in salads or lightly steamed.
Potatoes – tiny new potatoes are excellent in salads or can be steamed or roasted in skins.
Spinach – choose young tender leaves, use raw in salads or steam and chop.
Tomatoes – grow your own for best flavour. Serve raw in salads – at their sweetest and best in summer.
Some summer vegetables are around for only a short time so make the most of them while they are in season. Remember to freeze your favourites for later in the year.