In the world of fruit there are so many varieties to choose from – each with their own distinct flavour, aroma, texture and nutritional qualities – that there’s really no excuse for eating the same old types, week-in, week-out.
Fruit can be a snack, a dessert, take the starring role in salad, flavour drinks, be used to make meats sing and so much more besides.
Different coloured fruits offer different groups of nutrients, which further highlights the importance of a balanced, varied diet. To make sure you’re getting all the essential vitamins and minerals that fruit can offer, you really do need to, as the saying goes, ‘eat the rainbow’!
Fruit is at its best when eaten in season – just when it’s at its most juicy, ripe and sweet. So whether it’s plums in the autumn, peaches in the summer or apples in the winter, mix up the fruit you eat each week to make sure you get a good balance, and more of the nutrients you need in your diet.
In terms of cooking, certain fruits are better suited to certain methods of cooking than others: pears are delicious when poached, for example; grilled peaches make a salad into a real star and apples are wonderful when stewed.
In the UK we should all be aiming to eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and veg a day. In Australia, though, it’s seven portions! It may sound a lot, but if you can get one portion in at each meal and a couple of portions as snacks, you’re heading towards hitting that target. All fruit counts towards your 5-a-day – whether fresh, tinned or frozen – just make sure it doesn’t make up all 5 portions – you need plenty of vegetables in there, too. A good balance to aim for is two fruit and three veg portions each day, as fruit typically contains more sugar, and even though it’s natural sugar, it’s still wise to keep an eye on how much you’re getting in your diet.
Jamie has a number of recipes that will help you to embrace and celebrate all kinds of fruit. Kick start the day with this Kiwi, ginger & banana smoothie that both kids and grown-ups will love. His recipe for Box grater fruit salad makes for a great (and so-simple) dessert or snack. It would also make a great start to the day – serve a little on top of porridge with yoghurt for a brilliant balanced breakfast.
Or try this colourful and flavoursome Blackened chicken that’s quick to rustle up as a midweek meal.
Fruit is also delicious in drinks, and this recipe for a slushie makes the most of strawberries and their natural sweetness, without the need to add any extra sugar. So embrace fruit, and make it a regular feature of your mealtimes!