Berries

What’s in Season: April & May

Buying food in season is fresher, more tasty, is better for the environment (no air miles) and cheaper too!  Visit locals farmers’ markets where the seasons are more obvious and you will be wowed by all the different varieties and colours of delicious fruits and vegetables you can experiment with.

Being creative is key to producing delicious meals full of colour and flavour.

Below I summarise what is in Season and coming up in May as well as wanting to focus on my favourite vegetable of this season which is the superfood and super delicious beetroot.

IN SEASON APRIL & MAY

BERRIES

Raspberries: Most British grown raspberries originally come from Scotland where the fertile soil and long summer days help them to ripen to perfection.  Great for adding to fresh deserts, dropped in a class of still water with some fresh mint leaves or pressed through a sieve until pureed and served with plant based yoghurts and home made granola.

Strawberries:  Improved farming methods mean the UK strawberry season runs from May through to September.  You need just 7 strawberries to hit your daily quota of vitamin C so top on a cheesecake, serve in a bowl topped with some whipped/pouring plant based cream, add to smoothies or simply enjoy on their own.

Redcurrant & Blackcurrants:  With a shorter season, buy now and use these pretty berries to decorate cakes and puddings, add to crumbles, puree (removing seeds) to enjoy with yoghurts and granola or simply freeze for future use.

MELONS

With a delicious variety up for grabs, take your pick from Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Galia or Watermelon – these varieties are available year- round but work particularly well chopped into summer salads, pureed into smoothies, diced and served on skewers with a vegan feta cheese, cherry tomatoes & mint leaves or simply enjoyed on their own.

BEETROOT

Sweet and earthy, beetroot has a good nutritional content, it’s low in fat, full of vitamins and minerals, a good source of fibre and packed with antioxidant.  Choose smaller ones which are more tender, larger ones can have tough woody cores.  You can eat the leaves and stalks too, simply washed and added to salad (just like you would eat spinach).

Eaten raw, beetroot can be peeled and finely diced into salads and is sweet enough to be grated in cakes (beetroot brownies being my favourite).  For my delicious Beetroot Chocolate Brownie Recipe Click Here

It is also delicious slow roasted whole (wrap in foil first) as this intensifies the flavour, bake alongside carrots and parsnips or in wedges with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

For a healthy start to your day, juicing raw beetroot mixed with carrots makes for a vitamin rich drink.

There has been some recent sports science research released that may give more weight to the “superfood” theory about beetroot.  Beetroot is high in nitric oxide which increases blood flow to the brain and improves exercise performance.  It has also been suggested that enjoying a 250ml glass of beetroot juice every day can significantly reduce high blood pressure.  If you find the idea of that much beetroot juice challenging, try adding fresh apple juice, lemon/lime juice and fresh ginger to reduce the earthy flavour and a great anti-inflammatory drink.

For this delicious raw juice recipe, Click Here

BROAD BEANS

These are a favourite of mine enjoyed in salad or mixed in with rice and dill weed to create a truly tasty savoury dish.

RUNNER BEANS

At their best when they are served fresh, if you snap them in half you can almost hear the crunch.  Remove their stringy bits then slice horizontally and steam.  Don’t overcook them as they will lose their colour and flavour.  Delicious served cold in salads with a. mustardy vinaigrette.  As they don’t store for long, any surplus beans can be blanched, cooled quickly and then frozen in batches.

PEAS

The UK season for peas is short.  The sugar turns to starch soon after picking so they need to be eaten quickly.  Combine with mint and vegetable stock to make a wonderful light summer soup or process with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, season generously and serve on toasted sourdough for a simple started.

SWEETCORN

Look for firm cobs, poach them in plant based milk for 10 minutes then grill or bake them or roast in foil and serve with a knob of plant based spread (Vitalite tastes best).

 

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