7 Ways to enjoy seasonal fruit
One of the best things about summer is that we are spoilt for choice. Gorgeous, fresh, locally sourced, flavours and textures are plentiful everywhere.
Bursting with vibrant colours, this vast array of produce is the perfect opportunity to boost our bodies and energy levels with jam-packed awesome goodness.
And what’s on offer is summer gold, the nutrient powerhouses we’ve dubbed “superfoods.”
It’s therefore the time of the year to treat ourselves to a little piece of food heaven and get a huge bang for our nutritional buck.
When the juicy, sweet and luscious berries - blueberries, raspberries and blackberries – arrive at our local markets, it’s our chance to load up on tons of vitamins and minerals.
Embracing these soft fruits also mean indulging in health-giving and beauty-boosting antioxidants, the molecules that prevent cell damage and aging by neutralising those nasty free radicals.
Abundant and in season are also the delicious stone fruits - plums, nectarines and peaches. Rich in antioxidants, they pack a strong nutritional punch. More great news for our health!
You’ll be forgiven for eating these fruits straight from the punnet this summer. After all, they are at their tastiest and at their absolute best.
And figures show that we’ve developed a great passion for these superfruits. Last year, the growing soft fruit sector alone, which is estimated to be worth £351 million, contributed £81 million to the UK economy.
So this season, why not try incorporating these yummy darlings in some of the lip-smacking recipes below.
Why not also take the opportunity to preserve some of this lovely summer bounty in the form of beautiful and comforting jams. Freezing them is another fantastic option. You will not regret adding them to sumptuous desserts later this autumn or winter.
These fragile and precious red jewels are hard to resist. Who hasn’t spent time grazing on them straight from the canes?
Grown easily in a back garden or in an allotment, it is believed that they started to be cultivated in the UK in the Middle Ages and began appearing in cookbooks in the 18th century.
As a member of the rose family, these bright and plumb berries have become a real staple and essential ingredient in any classic summer dessert.
Quite a few varieties are available in the UK throughout the season. Over 3,000 tons were harvested here last year and in the last eight years, production levels have almost doubled.
Raspberries are not only anti-inflammatory and anti-aging but also loaded with vitamin C, which benefits our immune system.
With its potent source of flavonoid and phenolic compounds, this small fruit has antioxidant activities that studies found may help to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer.
Enjoy this refreshing summer smoothie to give you energy and vitality.
This is a fabulous and completely delicious summer breakfast that you can have on the go.
These are said to be the ultimate “superfood,” the granddad of them all and utter berry royalty.
Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants (namely anthocyanins), which studies suggest can aid in fighting and inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells as well as help the skin, memory and nervous system, blueberries are now getting the star treatment and exploding in popularity.
As a result of this rebranding as a superfood, blueberries - which are also a good source of vitamins K and C, fibre and manganese - are now outselling raspberries.
Strawberries still reign supreme in the UK with sales predicted to hit £325 million this year. Yet, Britons now reportedly spend £200 million a year on this blue fruit with fantastic health benefits.
Despite its soaring fame, harvesting blueberries is a relatively trend in the UK, having “only really kicked off in 2008,” according to British Summer Fruits, the industry body that represents British growers.
These little gems make an excellent afternoon snack or picnic treat.
- Blueberry courgette muffins (put screen grab and embed link in name)
This fruit and vegetable combination is truly divine on the go or in a packed lunch.
These dark purple, almost black-coloured, cone-shaped berries are another powerful winner in the rose family.
And you don’t have to go far to appreciate these juicy little creatures. Wander down country lanes, a neighbourhood park or canal paths, and chances are you’ll come across this plant and return home with purple fingertips.
Blackberry picking also elicits wonderful childhood summertime memories of scrambling through wild blackberry bushes while skillfully avoiding the prickles, nipping them right off their stalks and savouring one fruit after the other.
Grown in abundance in the UK, blackberries were ostensibly consumed in Neolithic times and filled with superstitions and eccentric beliefs. One popular folk tale, which still seems to persist and be repeated often, says that blackberries should not be picked after October 11th when the devil spits on them, thereby contaminating them.
So be bold and take advantage of them before it’s too late. Teeming with vitamin C and flavonoids (antioxidants), studies found that blackberries are a strong weapon against cancer and can help to improve skin health.
This stunning dessert makes a great sweet addition to any dinner party or picnic.
Nectarines and peaches
Nothing beats biting into a perfectly ripe and juicy peach or nectarine on a hot summer’s day.
These sweet and fragrant stone beauties come in different varieties and sizes, from yellow and red-fleshed to white-fleshed and from tennis ball size to disc-shaped.
Warmer and sunnier British summers over recent years have offered better success for peaches and nectarines as the right climate makes them easier to grow.
The peach with its velvety touch and the nectarine with its smooth and fuzz-free exterior both offer a healthy dose of antioxidants, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein and potassium.
This dairy, wheat and refined sugar free pastry filled with seasonal fruit is a beautiful dessert for any dinner party.
This soft stone fruit, which comes in more than 300 varieties and a range of hues, has been growing in Britain for centuries. The most popular type is the Victoria plum, named after our longest-serving Queen.
Eaten raw or cooked, plums are a versatile fruit that effortlessly adds density to either a savoury dish or tasty pudding, whether that’s a sauce to complement roast pork or a tangy hit in a delicious crumble.
Plums contain lots of potassium, fibre, vitamins A and C, and are also rich in antioxidants.
This is an easy and simple treat that you can whip up in a matter of minutes.
By Chantal Ouimet, Honestly Healthy Editor