Foods for June
There is nothing as quintessially British as Wimbledon, the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. It’s steeped in tradition, from the grass courts to the strict white dress code.
Not only are the world’s best players all there vying for the most coveted title of their career but we as spectators, also relish the amazing experience for two other reasons - the start of the summer season and chance to savour local fresh strawberries. Well, the distinctly British refreshment of strawberries and cream to be precise!
June is the time of the year when we start to celebrate and embrace summer’s delicious and juicy fruit offerings. And with Wimbledon underway, British strawberries hit the limelight in a big way!
Interestingly, around 28,000 kg of freshly picked strawberries are consumed during the two-week grand slam event held at the All England Club. That represents about 142,000 portions, according to the Wimbledon organisers. By comparison, the players hit a measly 54,250 balls.
Last year, a survey by the BBC Good Food Magazine revealed that 86% of people believe in the importance of seasonal eating, while 78% say they shop seasonally. But surprising, only 5% of those polled knew when blackberries were in season.
Being aware of when which fruits and vegetables are at the best can be a tricky business as supermarkets now stock pretty much everything all year round. After all, produce is always in season somewhere in the world.
But eating locally grown food can be to our advantage as it is fresh, in abundance and hence cheaper, of good quality and better tasting.
Experts say fruit and vegetables when harvested in season are likely to be higher in nutritional value than those picked without keeping the natural body clock of food in mind.
“Seasonal foods are usually harvested at their peak so tend to have more flavour and be higher in nutrients. Most vitamins degrade over time so it is best to eat fruit and vegetables soon after they have been harvested,” said Helena Gibson-Moore, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation.
Not only is adopting seasonal eating a win-win situation for our health and pocketbook, it’s also a fantastic way to get creative in the kitchen and experiment with different recipes by using the fruit and vegetables you are able to find near you.
Here is some seasonal produce for you to buy and cook with in June:
These red gems are the star attraction this month, with the tennis season putting them front and centre at our local farmers’ markets and shops.
Enjoy this really alkaline fruit raw while cheering for Andy Murray or have them in a salad or cooked in a crumble while out at a picnic with friends.
Strawberries are not only fit for royalty but also rooted in history. Europeans have been cultivating and savouring these juicy and sweet berries ever since a French engineer brought them back from Chile and Peru in 1714.
Packed with goodness, this plum and tender fruit is a strong antioxidant, which experts say can protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease. Studies have also shown that eating strawberries can help those suffering from arthritis.
Strawberries are a fabulous source of vitamins C, containing a good amount of fibre as well as a rich dose of folic acid and potassium, which is great news for our bones.
How about making some jam this summer? Or why not try our strawberry and coconut ice cream recipe from our first book Honestly Healthy?
This vegetable from the legume family is another stand out sensation this month.
They are at their best when they are firm and crisp so indulge this summer and add them to a colourful and yummy salad.
Grown in most soils and climates, they are pretty adaptable and offer a good vegetable source of protein, carbohydrates, folate as well as vitamins A, B1 and B2.
So having some broad beans will in turn benefit our nerve and cell development, help with our cognitive function and boost our energy levels.
According to some small studies, broad beans, also called fava beans in the United States, can also help the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in some people.
They do require a little bit of effort as they need to be double podded but once cooked after immersing them in water and boiling for a few minutes, they are a stunning addition to any plate!
Well, it’s fair to say that these guys are ubiquitous these days. In fact they are utterly unmissable.
Thanks to their new starring role as the healthy alternative to pasta, their popularity has skyrocketed. The spiralizer, which basically makes spaghetti out of courgettes, is currently a must have tool in the kitchen. It’s fantastic for creating raw noodles and enjoying a wonderful light and energising meal.
Courgettes, with their rich green skin and firm pale flesh, hail from the same family as the beloved and fresh cucumber, satisfying squash and juicy melon.
Also known as zucchini, they are most probably the most versatile vegetable out of all of them. They’re not only tender and easy to cook, but they can also be consumed in countless ways – as a muffin or cake, in a vegetable bake, salad, soup, frittata, lasagna, or grilled as part of a side dish. The list just goes on.
They do grow fast and furious so it’s wise to keep an eye on them if you have them in your vegetable garden. Pick them with they are small and firm.
Courgettes, which hold a high water content, provide vitamin C, a good source of potassium and soluble fibre, which is fabulous for our digestive system.
So go ahead and cook up a storm! Here are some delicious recipes for you to try!
By Chantal Ouimet – Honestly Healthy Editor