This month we’re looking at the spring produce that brings heart, immune, eye and gut health benefits. Find inspiration for your food shop and try new ingredients with this month’s recipe.
April’s seasonal fruit and vegetables
April… the month that brings glorious sunshine one day and spring showers the next. It’s a farmers dream as the harvest begins to really come to fruition. This month, I want to shine a light on some of the produce that often gets overshadowed by its family members – as well as a classic.
Keep reading to find out which spring fruits and vegetables can support your heart, immune, eye and gut health this month!
We may have only just entered spring but for me, it always feels like summer is on its way when different lettuce leaves are available in abundance – to grow and purchase from local stores.
Lettuce is often the veg that kids turn their nose up to and people pick out of their sandwiches but on the flip side, it’s one of the most widely consumed vegetables. Rich in fibre, iron, folate, and vitamin C and K it’s a great addition to meals to support blood, bone, immune and gut health.
It’s also super easy to grow in the garden. Don’t worry about a veg trug or allotment bed, a hanging basket will do – honestly!
Glorious leeks! Part of the allium family alongside onions, garlics, shallots, chives and spring onion (also known as a scallion).
Leeks contain a compound called kaempferol which is known to protect blood vessel lining from damage. Paired with folate, which is also vital for red blood cell formation and to reduce homocysteine – a marker of inflammation – leeks are a great vegetable to support heart health.
They are not as well known or used as other alliums, but maybe now you know how good they are you’ll find a place for them in your meals. I love leeks but I am part Welsh…
Have you heard of it? Eaten it? Cooked with it?
Celeriac might not be the prettiest vegetable in the farm shop (it’s earthy and still has the roots attached) but its distinctive flavour is becoming more and more popular.
From the same family as celery, parsnips and parsley this root vegetable is another fibrous one too so add it to the list of good gut foods! It’s also rich in B vitamins which are water-soluble so we need to keep them topped up daily to help with energy levels, brain function and skin and eye health.
I know what you’re thinking… how do I cook with it? I’ve added it to this month’s recipe so you can give it a try!
Apples are a classic, British fruit and are available all year round. I love highlighting our local orchard fruits because they both contain pectin, a type of fibre that works as a prebiotic, feeding the bacteria in our gut that helps to keep us healthy. Apples, and pears, help to:
- Increase the diversity of microbiome (gut bacteria)
- Improve the regularity of bowel movements
- Support production of short-chain-fatty-acids that play a role in our immune function
- Reduce gastric inflammation
- Enhance the intestinal immune barrier
- Balance blood sugar levels
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Is that enough reasons to champion British orchard fruits?
Now for the best bit – the recipe! I thought this month I’d combine the two less commonly purchased vegetables and our fabulous British apples and give you a recipe ready for the rainy April shower days we’re most likely to get this month. Enjoy!
April’s spring recipe
Celeriac, leek and apple soup
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 kg celeriac, peeled and diced
2 Granny Smith or Braeburn apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 large/700g russet potato, peeled and diced
2 litres of chicken or vegetable stock
1-2 bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
A handful of fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Warm olive oil in a large pot, on medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and leeks and cook for 5 minutes or until softened
- Add the celeriac and partially cover the pot, letting the celeriac cook for 5 minutes or until it begins to soften. Stir often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot
- Add the potato, apples, stock, bay leaves and sprigs of thyme
- Bring to the boil, reduce the leat to low and cover the pot. Let the ingredients simmer for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender and ready to blend
- Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and blend the soup with a large jug blender or hand blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper
- Serve immediately with a handful of fresh parsley on top. Soup can be cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days
Soup is a great choice for a nutrient filled lunch, especially on an April shower day.
Interested in improving your health?
I hope this blog has sparked your interest in how the UK’s seasonal produce can support our health. If you’d like to discuss your nutrition, find out how you can reduce nagging symptoms and address your health concerns, book a free introductory call.
Let’s get you back to feeling your best, naturally.