What’s in season – Spring

 

The latter half of Spring is such a lovely time of year (aside from the hayfever). The evenings are light, the trees are green and my all-time favourite foods come into season. The Easter celebrations bring good food and family, while May offers us warmth, sunshine and the emergence of freckles, all in preparation for the summer months ahead. Here’s some of the seasonal produce that comes out to play in the spring.

Asparagus

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Health benefits: ahhh asparagus, welcome back old friend. British asparagus officially comes into season on the 23rd April (St George’s Day) and remains in season for around 8 weeks. In the height of the season it can grow up to 10cm in one day and can be bought in all major supermarkets, as well as greengrocers, markets and farm shops. Asparagus is a mild diuretic which can help to detoxify the body and also promotes healthy bacteria in the gut which in turn reduces bloating.

What to do with asparagus: the best asparagus recipes are the simple ones. These scrummy spears really come into their own when roasted, griddled or even cooked on the BBQ with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. Perfect alongside poached eggs, roast lamb or in a spring risotto.

Asparagus recipes:

Asparagus, pea and rocket risotto

Rosemary roast lamb with asparagus, parsnips and salsa verde

Asparagus and poached eggs on toast – recipe coming soon

(I also found an amazing website dedicated to British asparagus when researching it’s health benefits – read more here)

 

Radishes

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Health benefits: I’ve always believed that if a food is brightly coloured it is either unbelievably good for you, or deadly poisonous. In the case of radishes, I’m not wrong. Aside from the satisfying crunch, these fuchsia-skinned veggies contain a whole host of benefits. They’re a good source of vitamin C, they can aid and promote healthy digestion and have a natural cleansing affect that can help when fighting a cold. Bright pink is good!

What to do with radishes: thinly slice these tangy little veggies and add to your salads and sandwiches, or cover them in olive oil and a little salt and pepper and roast until lighter in colour and slightly sweet.

 

Rocket

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Health benefits: one of the lesser recognised cruciferous veggies, rocket has many of the same health benefits as other greens like broccoli, kale and sprouts. The lovely leaves contain high levels of nitrate, which can help to lower blood pressure, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin K, folate and calcium. Chuck a handful into an omelette, risotto, or bowl of pasta, or use alongside other leaves as the base for any salad.

Rocket recipes:

Asparagus, pea and rocket risotto

Beetroot, grapefruit and goats cheese salad

Rocket, watercress and walnut pesto – recipe coming soon

 

New potatoes

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Health benefits: potatoes get a bad rep! The low-carb diet craze has led us to believe potatoes have no nutritional value and are therefore best avoided, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Spring new potatoes contain a good level of potassium, which helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, plus a high concentration of vitamin B6, which is essential for metabolism and calming the nervous system. They also provide a good dose of dietary fibre to promote healthy digestion. What’s more, they’re delicious and easy to prepare.

What to do with new potatoes: new potatoes are incredibly versatile and great to serve alongside all kinds of dishes, including meat, fish, stews and salads. They can be boiled, roasted or lightly mashed with some fresh green herbs and garlic.

 

Lamb

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Health benefits: if you eat meat, lamb is a brilliant source of animal fats and protein which are used every day to keep the body going. It also contains high levels of iron, zinc and vitamin B12 which are essential for the immune system and help promote healthy blood cells in the body. When eating lamb, always ensure you buy the best quality from a butchers or local farm you trust. Organic, free-range, high-welfare lamb is not only better for the animal but is also far better for your health. If you choose to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are of course plenty of other plant-based sources of protein, fats, iron and B12 that are readily available in things like nuts, seeds, pulses and beans.

Lamb recipes:

Rosemary roast lamb with asparagus, parsnips and salsa verde

Harissa lamb flatbreads with hummus, mint yoghurt and pomegranate

 

Watercress

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Health benefits: watercress packs a surprising punch nutritionally speaking. As another cruciferous veggie, watercress has anti-carcinogenic properties (cancer preventative) and has been shown to lower cholesterol. It also contains a high volume of calcium, plus vitamin A, C, B6, B12, iron, magnesium and folate, all of which are essential for a healthy body.

Watercress recipes:

Beetroot, grapefruit and goats cheese salad

Rocket, watercress and walnut pesto – recipe coming soon

Samantha x

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