by Jenny Myhill
Say goodbye to summer and those crisp and bright fruits and vegetables
But don't worry, Autumn is here and it's the season of deep green, dark yellow and brilliant orange coloured fruit and vegetables. These colours mean the fruits and vegetables are rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals. The more colourful the fruit, the better it is for your health. FACT!
A good source of fibre, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Look for smooth and firm, small to medium sized parsnips for the best quality. Large coarse roots usually have woody or fibrous centres. Did i mention they are deliously sweet when roasted?
Turnips and swedes.
A member of the mustard family, turnips (known as swedes in Scotland and Ireland) have a white flesh with a tough outer skin that ranges from yellow to purple, and a more bitter flavour than potatoes. They are a good source of vitamin C and like their cousins, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, these cruciferous vegetables contain the potent phytochemical sulforaphane, which has been shown to protect against cancer, especially breast cancer.
Try exchanging your potatoe for a turnip next time. They work well boiled, mashed or roasted.
Would you believe me if i said that the sweet potato wasn't actually a potato? Potatoes are classified as tubers, while the sweet potato is a storage root (geeky food stuff here!). Good-quality sweet potatoes will be firm, smooth-skinned and tan to light rose colour. They contain four times the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A and 50% of vitamin C in a serving. You would have to eat 23 portions of broccoli to consume the same amount.
They are ideal for baking, grilling or steaming, and you can substitute them in any recipe that calls for potatoes.
Known more for their Halloween docoration qualities more than their culinary value, it's no wonder it's a popular veg this time of year. Their bright orange colour is a dead giveaway that it's loaded with important antioxidants, as well as being rich in vitamin A and C. Even the seeds are packed with nutritional value. In fact, they are only second to peanuts in protein content and a good source of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
It's great served as a tasty side dish for a main meal and ideal for making hearty winter soups, as well as being baked into bread and pumpkin pie. Remember pumpkins also come canned if a full pumpkin is too much.
Winter squash develops hard rinds and the tough seeds and fibrous centre are inedible and must be scooped out. Here's an interesting fact – Winter squash is one of the few vegetables that, during storage, the vitamin A content increases, and they already contain more than 100% of the RDA for vitamin A. They are also a good source of heart-healthy nutrients, folate and fibre.
There are several different kinds of winter squash and many of them have a very unique taste. Butternut is probably the most popular squash and easiest to find. Acorn and spaghetti squash are also found quite easily. Buttercup and kabocha squash are delicious as well but harder to find.
Here's a nice recipe for Butternut squash, goat’s cheese and walnut pasties
Apples & pears.
Quite an obvious one, but apples contain flavonoids, some of the most potent antioxidants around and pearsare high in fibre. Very easy to get hold of and transport as a snack. Hundreds of recipes out there, you can use them in low-fat pancakes, sliced on sandwiches or poached and drizzled with syrup for a warm, sweet dessert.