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Delicious ways to get your five a day using fresh, seasonal ingredients

todayNovember 15, 2022 8

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You may be wondering how to stay healthy in the months leading up to Christmas, and one way to do that is to eat plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Not only is it better for your body to eat fresh, locally produced goods, but you’ll also be doing your bit for the planet. Here’s a list of great options for the coming months, along with some ideas of what you can make with them.

Delicious autumn fruits

Strawberry season may be over in the UK, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get you fruit fix for another year. There are blackberries to be found in every hedgerow and apples on countless trees. Figs, pears and plums are also readily available from farm shops and supermarkets across the land.

Creative ways to use them: plum jam is really tasty and easy to make, and you can either use it at home – on toast or in a crumbly jam tart – or make a big batch to give away as Christmas presents. Figs are surprisingly versatile, allowing you to add an instant touch of sweetness and texture to a salad, pizza, cheeseboard or cake. Baked pears are an old favourite in the UK (try teaming them with walnuts, cinnamon and ice cream), or you could make a sweet pear puree or even a spicy pear punch. If all else fails, go for a classic apple and blackberry pie or crumble. With custard, obvs.

Hearty autumn vegetables

There are also plenty of mouth-watering veggies to get your chops around this autumn. Pumpkins often take centre stage in October, but butternut squash is equally delicious and available. Cabbage, spring greens, kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks and spinach will add a lovely bit of green to your plate, with carrots and purple sprouting broccoli broadening the colour palette. Root vegetables like onion, parsnip, potato and turnip are tasty and incredibly versatile.

Creative ways to use them: root vegetables are delicious roasted and can be used as the basis for warming soups and stews. Spinach is great raw in a sandwich or wilted in a curry, while leek is wonderful in a cowl or pie. Jazz up your cabbage by pickling it or making it into enchiladas. Add a little something to your kale or spring greens by teaming them with bacon and nutmeg. If you’re looking for sweet vegetable dishes, carrot cake is a tried and tested favourite, while carrot and apple muffins make the perfect autumn treat. Pumpkin and butternut squash are fabulous in soups, pies and even lattes – and you can really get into the autumn spirit by carving your pumpkin once you’ve removed the tasty insides. That just leaves the good old Brussels sprout to discuss. While some detest them and others try to hide their distinctive flavour with bacon, chestnuts or even Marmite, we believe the humble sprout is best enjoyed steamed and with a healthy dollop of gravy. Don’t wait until Christmas Day to get your sprout fix – they’re in the shops now!

The best way to enjoy good seasonal produce is with friends and family. Invite church friends over for dinner. Forage for blackberries with the kids/grandkids. Host a pumpkin-carving competition and invite your neighbours. Have a harvest festival at church or a thanksgiving supper at home. Make something delicious and take it to a friend in hospital or a care home, or to someone who has just had a baby. Try out new recipes and try to get your five a day, come rain or shine.

Written by: Steven Grimmer

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