Sunday, 19 February 2012

Time for some crop rotation

It's very normal to go through food phases when it comes to fruit and veg, having an insatiable desire for blueberries, craving salad or wanting roasted winter root vegetables. So when I find myself not being particularly inspired by fruit and veg it usually means I'm eating out of season.

Fresh produce eaten in season should be full of flavour and a pleasure to eat - so if your food is tasting a bit bland then it's probably the wrong time of year to be eating it. In addition if it's full of flavour then it's also going to have a higher nutrient content than an out of season flavourless equivalent.

Still not being a gardener or that clued in to farming, what's in season isn't something I naturally know, so I have to rely on my trusty Leon: Ingredients and Recipes to keep me informed.

According to this wonderful tome of information, the winter foods we should currently be eating are pomegranate, clementies, blood oranges and cranberries, artichokes, leeks, potatoes, celery, sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, parsnips and kale. Well it's not a particularly inspiring selection, for me at least - my favourite fruit and veg are the summer and autumn varities. But still these are all wonderfully good for you and can be made into some pretty comforting winter food.

Roast some parsnips and leeks to have with your sunday dinner, make some new potato mustard mash to have with some sausages (preferably veggie), braise red cabbage with apples, sultanas and a little balsamic vinegar as a yummy veggie side, make some roasted butternut squash soup and serve with crusty rolls and use kale to make some bubble & squeak for a comforting sunday evening dinner. For pudding serve segmented blood orange and clementine with some fresh pomegranate seeds and make some cranberry muffins as a nice accompaniment to afternoon tea.

Once you've found some recipes you like with these ingredients you'll find you naturally pick them up when they turn up next year on the supermarket shelves, and will start rotating your foods without even having to think about it, making your diet both more interesting and more nutritious.

Ps Sylvia dearest, when are you going to share with me your wonderful polish pigeon recipe so I can get NITC readers into eating cabbage?!

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