By Laura Parr
Jamie and I are big fans of fruit! It’s at its best when it’s eaten in season – at its ripest and sweetest it all tastes even more delicious.
It’s a myth that it’s a struggle to get enough fruit in the diet. Hitting the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day shouldn’t be a challenge, because it can all be eaten at mealtimes. Fruit doesn’t just have to be a snack on its own – it’s great in smoothies, juices and desserts, whether raw, baked, grilled, poached or stewed. It even works in savoury dishes such as stews, tagines and salads – the recipe ideas are endless! Try eating a new fruit each week, and using the recipes on www.jamieoliver.com for inspiration. One of my favourites is Jamie’s 1-minute berry ice cream, which is a quick and delicious pudding or summery treat.
By knowing when fruit is in season (www.eattheseasons.co.uk is a great place to start learning more on this), you’ll be eating it at its best in terms of taste, nutrition and often cost, because it is grown locally and is in plentiful supply. It’s always best to eat fruit that has been sourced from a local farm and not from another country.
Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, which are all essential for good health. Different coloured fruits contain different health benefits too. For example, orange, yellow and red coloured fruits such as apricots, mangoes and tomatoes get their colour from the plant compounds they contain, and it’s those compounds – such as beta-carotene and lycopene – that are good for us. This is why it’s important to “eat the rainbow” and keep your diet topped up with an array of different coloured fruits.
So whether it is eating rhubarb in March, strawberries in July or plums in September, get to know your seasons so you’re enjoying produce in its prime and eating a variety of different fruits during the year!