We all know that we should be eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, and at times, even that target can seem impossible, but have you ever stopped to think that the quality not quantity rule could also apply to your autumn produce? Sticking to the same five vegetables all year round will of course be better than nothing, but you may be surprised to learn that the quality of these favourites will vary from season to season, and that’s why it’s important to add variety to your diet in the autumn and familiarise yourself with what autumn vegetables are fresh from the allotments each month.
Now autumn has well and truly established itself into our gardens, the knitwear has been dusted off and the boots have made a comeback, it’s time to turn your attention to your pantry; here’s why you should ensure your kitchen also echoes the taste of autumn throughout these next few months…
We need the nutrients
Shopping in the autumn will fill your trolley with vegetation that’s likely to have been picked relatively recently and this means you’ll consume it when its nutritional value is still high. As soon as vegetables are separated from their roots, the vitamin content will begin to gradually decline, so anything that’s out of season will be far less beneficial than you first thought. Knowing your plate is full of autumn vegetables that’s nutrient-dense is certainly reassuring, but it’s even better when you realise that the vitamins and minerals woven into each leaf, such as potassium, carotenoids and vitamin C, are the ones you need to battle through the seasonal changes.
Better taste means less waste
We all know that sense of disappointment when you bite into a seemingly plump strawberry to find it tastes of cheap flavoured water, or when you spend ages breaking open an orange, lovingly peeling away the pith to discover it’s either super sharp or drier than the Sahara. This food faux par occurs when you eat out of season, so for tastes that please your palate, choose autumnal produce and guarantee delicious and strong flavoured vegetation that won’t end up in the compost heap!
It’s time to arm your immune system
With the temperature dropping and the kids picking up all sorts as they enter a new term, ensuring your immune system is well protected is more important than ever. Thankfully, a lot of the autumnal produce you’re about to consume is packed with vitamins that specialise in immune health. Folate, iron, vitamins A, C and B6 all contribute to the normal function of the immune system and fall favourites like cabbage, turnips and squash are bursting with these kinds of nutrients.
You can celebrate your roots
Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onions grace our soils throughout the autumn months and these nutritional powerhouses are exactly what you and your dinner will need. Naturally low in calories and high in fibre, these colourful autumn vegetables are an excellent source of carbohydrate and antioxidants – perfect for protecting cells from oxidative stress.
It’s about going green
You may not realise this, but fruits and vegetables purchased in season are less likely to have been treated with pesticides since the environmental conditions are usually already at optimum levels. Avoiding artificial help in this way is a definite plus for the health of our environment (as well as our bodies), and if everyone starts eating in season, the demand for out of season veg will reduce which means transportation and irradiation would also lessen – result!
You’ll learn to love local
It is so important to support UK farmers and buying fruits and veg from the market is the ideal way to invest into the local economy. If you’re really keen to find out where your food is coming from, start a conversation with the retailer and dig deeper to find out how the autumn veg has been farmed and harvested. Market produce is likely to be freshly picked, abide to UK agricultural laws and taste delish!
What do you love most about fruit and vegetables in the autumn? Let us know by commenting below.