October is harvest time, traditionally bringing delicious seasonal fare that we can enjoy during the month ahead. So what foods are in season right now and how can we best use them in tasty recipes?
Clinical nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her five favourite foods for October.
No harvest festival table would be complete without apples! Nutritionally, apples are a great source of vitamin C and also the antioxidant quercetin, plus they’re packed with pectin fibre. They are also really versatile in recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
At breakfast time, apples are fantastic chopped in a bircher muesli or granola, or sliced over any cereal of your choice. At lunch they a great addition to any salad or as a healthy snack, and at dinnertime, apples are the perfect accompaniment to any pork dish, not to mention them being a crumble essential.
There could be no talk of traditional October foods without mentioning pumpkin. It’s packed full of vitamin A – an essential antioxidant which supports immunity. Its uses for Halloween are legendary, but of course, pumpkin is a delicious vegetable used in lots of recipes, or even just roasted in the oven. For a quick lunch time treat, why not make a pumpkin and butternut squash soup, which includes cinnamon but also, slightly indulgently, some double cream? Enjoy the flavour and just walk another circuit around the block afterwards!
There are a variety of wild mushrooms around at this time of year; porcini are probably the most common. Mushrooms contain a range of B Vitamins, which are great for providing energy. They are all delicious particularly when added to your breakfast plate, with scrambled egg, tomatoes and a toasted bagel. Wild mushrooms also taste great in chicken dishes, and make excellent soups or a vegetable ‘side’ with butter and garlic – fabulous!
Beetroot is often referred to as a ‘super food’ and for very good reason. Packed with iron and folic acid, it’s great for the heart, immune system, exercise performance, detoxification, the eyes, plus it’s rich in fibre. Wow! One of the tastiest and easiest ways to eat beetroot is in a salad; it works particularly well with goat’s cheese.
Other great recipe ideas with beetroot include roasting it in the oven with carrots and balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey, baked with white fish, lemon basil and crème fraiche, or in traditional beetroot borscht made with carrots, onions and cabbage as a hearty and warming soup.
Another great one for the harvest festival table is swede. It sits comfortably in the roasting tin alongside parsnips, carrots, beetroot and celeriac (also in season right now). However, swede does make a delicious soup or is great, simply mashed with butter and black pepper, as a vegetable side. Low in fat, high in fibre, packed with vitamin C and the minerals potassium (for a healthy heart) and calcium and magnesium, which are great for the bones.
With such a wonderful array of colourful foods to enjoy this October, enjoy getting creative in the kitchen!