Fresh foods for February

Fresh foods for February | Mr Vitamins
There is no doubt about the many health benefits associated with a diet high in fruit and vegetables. There is plenty of epidemiologic data that supports a high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables with a much lower risk of chronic disease. Some of the health benefits include
  • antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral effects,
  • support of the immune system,
  • reduction of blood pressure,
  • modulation of cholesterol and detoxification.
There are thousands of biologically active phytochemicals that have been identified in various  fruit and vegetables. A diet committed to these wonderful  foods will undoubtedly nourish the body and soul. It’s exciting to see that some of our local greengrocers are now marking their produce with tags such as “Fresh to market”.

What vegetables are best in February?

Beans, flat Beans, butter Beans, snake Capsicums
Celery Chillies Chokos Cucumber
Eggplant Lettuce Onions, green Onions, salad
Okra Peas, sugar snap Radish Squash
Sweetcorn Tomatoes Zucchini

What fruit is best in February?

Avocados Blueberries Figs Grapes
Limes Lychees Mangosteens Melons
Nectarines Oranges, Valencia Passionfruit Peaches
Pears Pineapples Plums Rambutans

Food in Focus – Pineapple

Nothing quite beats the lusciousness of a fresh, sweet pineapple.  This well known tropical fruit resembles a large green pinecone, from which it got its name. The pineapple was discovered by Europeans in the late 1400’s on the island of Guadeloupe in the Carribean.  It is thought to originate from Brazil and Paraguay. It was introduced to Australia by Lutheran missionaries in 1830’s. Being a tropical fruit it is predominantly grown along the east coast of Queensland and northern New South Wales.

What health benefits can be gained by eating pineapples?

  • Pineapple contains bromelain which
    • Can effectively reduce inflammation
    • Break-down mucous in respiratory conditions
    • Aid in digestion

 What are the nutritional benefits of pineapples?

  • Excellent source of Vitamin C.
  • Excellent source of manganese – one cup provides 73% of daily recommended dietary intake.
  • Good source of B1, B6, copper and magnesium.

What to look for when buying pineapples?

  • A ripe pineapple has a fruity, fragrant aroma.
  • More yellow than green in colour.
  • Heavy for it’s size.
  • Free of any decayed or mouldy spots.
  • Any brown patches indicate spoilage.
  • Small, yellow fleshed pineapples are sweeter than larger, paler fleshed pineapples.

How to store pineapples

  • Pineapples can be stored at room temperature for one or two days before serving – this will not change the flavour but will help the pineapple flesh become softer and juicier.
  • Store in the refrigerator for three to five days in a perforated plastic bag.
  • Once cut, pineapple can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • Store in a little pineapple juice to enhance flavour.

How to prepare pineapples

  • Wash thoroughly before cutting up, either with a commercial produce wash or scrub well with a vegetable brush.
  • Then remove the crown and the base of the pineapple with a knife.
  • To peel, place on the base side and carefully cut off the skin, making sure to cut out any remaining eyes.
  • Cut the pineapple into desired shape and size.
  • The core can either be cut out or left depending on taste preference.

Tips for serving pineapple

  • Peel and cut into
  • wedges or slices.
  • Include in fruit salad, especially with other delicious and fresh tropical summer fruit
  • Include as a base in fruit juices.
  • Blend 1 cup of fresh pineapple and 1 cup of fresh mango until pureed, add 1 cup coconut milk and 1 tablespoon honey and blend together. For some extra flavour add lime zest and/or a little xylitol or brown sugar to flavour and blend in.  Pour into popsicle moulds and freeze until set.
  • Add to your favourite salsa recipe.
  • Add to any dish with fresh vegetables or meat to add flavour.
  • Healthy and flavoursome addition to any barbecue shish kebab.
  • Dice into small chunks and eat with yoghurt.
  • Puree and add to vanilla protein shake.
  • Serve with banana and yoghurt on your favourite pancakes.
  • Drizzle with maple syrup and grill until lightly browned.

 Bon Appetit from Naturopath Janne Ramsay!