By Diana Earnshaw
Just the thing to boost our spirits at the moment – delicious soft fruits! Just with cream might be the best way to serve the berries – or maybe a delicious Pavlova for a special occasion. When we think of soft fruits we generally think of berries, but soft tree fruits are available now too. Peaches and apricots are delectable when they are ripe and are wonderful enjoyed just as they are, but for something special – try the recipes below!
The nutrition of soft fruits is amazing. The berries are a powerhouse of goodness, containing vitamins C, K1, several B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. The drupes – apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums also have an impressive array of nutrients. They are a great source of beta carotene (the precursor of vitamin A), vitamin C, have a good range of minerals, antioxidants and in particular zeaxanthin – thought to be particularly helpful in preventing age-related macula disease (an eye condition).
No introduction needed here! Tomatoes are so versatile and are just as good sliced into salads and sandwiches as they are in cooked dishes. They lend a hint of sweetness in a salad and richness to stews and soups.
Their nutrition packs a punch too: Beta carotene, vitamins C and E and several minerals including potassium. There are lots of antioxidants which include lycopene. Lycopene may be protective against prostate cancer and possibly other cancers too. This chemical is more available to us in cooked tomatoes.
A summer favourite of mine, is gazpacho. This is a flavourful cold soup – just right for a hot day.
Gazpacho – recipe from Gordon Ramsay
Have you ever made sauerkraut or other fermented foods? Maybe now is the time to try! Fermented foods are alive with pro-biotic bacteria. These are the “friendly” bacteria that populate our gut and give our immune systems a boost. Also, they partially break down foods which will increase the nutritive value and makes digestion easier for us.
Fermented Salsa – recipe based on one from Cultures for Health