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Only half eat enough fresh fruit and veg; up your intake with two simple recipes

Feel your best every season by choosing locally-grown fruit and veg

Bord Bia's Best in Season

 

Research undertaken by Bord Bia found that while 18-34 year olds are eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, on average Irish people are consuming 3.9 portions a day, less than the Healthy Eating Guidelines of up to 7 servings. How can we eat more fruit and vegetables, and why should we choose in season produce?

The first step to protecting our health and wellbeing begins at the kitchen table. Fresh fruit and vegetables are natural immunity-boosters, providing us with essential vitamins and minerals. A single portion of red peppers contains 100 per cent of our daily vitamin C needs, which, along with its immune-boosting properties, is also required for collagen formation. Carrots are high in Vitamin A, which promotes good eye health and also protects our skin. 

With dinnertime accounting for almost half of all fresh produce consumption in Ireland, one simple way to increase your intake is to introduce fruit and vegetables to all meals throughout the day. Whether it’s grating carrots into overnight oats at breakfast for a hit of natural sweetness, adding spinach to a smoothie for an afternoon pick-me-up or simply snacking on tomatoes at lunchtime, small daily changes can make a big difference.

From soil to supermarket in 24 hours

Fruit and vegetables are at their freshest and of the highest quality when they are just harvested. During the summer, growers work around the clock to ensure produce is delivered to supermarket shelves when it is at its nutritional peak. For example, celery grown at Quality Assured grower Dennis Harford’s farm in Lusk, Co. Dublin is in-store within 24 hours of harvest. 

Colm and Darragh Grimes at their leek farm
Colm and Darragh Grimes at their leek farm

Eating in-season fruit and vegetables is a natural way to introduce a variety of colours, flavours and textures to your diet. As part of the Best In Season campaign, a new interactive calendar on Bord Bia makes it easy to find out what fresh produce is in season each month, as well as providing new recipe inspiration, nutritional information and storage tips to prolong freshness. 

Recipe inspiration

Nearly half of us claim to buy the same fresh produce when we go food shopping, resulting in uninspiring dishes with the same ingredients week-on-week. Below are two simple recipes which make the most of in-season vegetables and herbs. Quick to prepare and suitable to serve as a lunch, or as a tasty side to Quality Assured meat, eggs or grilled whitefish for dinner, they are sure to be new family favourites!

Carrot and Pumpkin Seed Salad
In-season carrots bring a delicious natural sweetness to this crunchy salad. Enjoy as is, or add protein of your choice for a more filling meal. 
Serves 4

Carrot and Pumpkin Seed Salad: Enjoy as is, or add protein of your choice for a more filling meal. 

Ingredients
For the salad:
•    4 medium carrots, grated
•    2 tablesp. raisins
•    4 tablesp. pumpkin seeds, roasted
•    8 radishes, thinly sliced
•    3 tablesp. mixed fresh herbs (parsley, dill
      and mint), chopped
•    200g rocket
 
For the dressing:
•    1 tablesp. rapeseed or olive oil
•    1 tablesp. apple cider vinegar
•    1 teasp. honey
•    ½ teasp. Dijon mustard
•    Salt and black pepper

Method
1.    In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until well          combined. (Alternatively, shake together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.)
2.    In a bowl, toss the carrots, raisins, pumpkin seeds, radishes and herbs               together and top with enough of the dressing to coat. Place rocket into              serving bowl and add dressed carrot salad on top.
3.    Serve with more pumpkin seeds or parsley if desired.

Broccoli, Feta and Tomato Salad
Experience a taste of Greece with this creamy, crunchy and nutty salad. It is delicious with grilled meat or fish and adds a pop of colour to your plate!
Serves 4

Broccoli Feta and Tomato Salad: It is delicious with grilled meat or fish and adds a pop of colour to your plate!

Ingredients
For the salad:
•    100g walnuts, pine nuts or hazelnuts,                            roughly chopped
•    400g broccoli, chopped into florets
•    225g cherry tomatoes, halved 
•    110g Feta cheese, chopped
 
For the dressing:
•    100ml rapeseed or olive oil
•    3 tablesp. wine vinegar
•    2 garlic cloves, crushed
•    2 teasp. Dijon mustard
•    1 teasp. dried oregano
•    Salt and black pepper
 
Method
1.    Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180˚C (350˚F)
2.    Place the hazelnuts in a single layer on a large baking tray and toast for 10        minutes or until light brown. Transfer into a clean tea towel and rub to              remove the skins. Set aside and allow to cool.
3.    In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until well         combined. (Alternatively, shake together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.)
       Season to taste.
4.    In a bowl, combine the nuts with the broccoli and cherry tomatoes. Add             the Feta, drizzle over about of the dressing and toss to combine.
5.    Serve straight away, with the remaining dressing in a jug on the side.

What is in season now?

Look for locally-grown varieties in-store to guarantee freshness, taste and high-quality produce.
Field Vegetables: New Season Queens Potatoes; Asparagus; Beetroot; Broccoli, Cabbage; Carrots; Cauliflower; Mushrooms; Pak Choi; Parsnips; Rhubarb; Turnip
Salad Vegetables: Celery; Courgette; Cucumber; Lettuces; Peppers; Radish; Scallions; Tomatoes
Fruit: Strawberries; Raspberries

To find out more about what is currently in season, along with nutritional information and some inspiring recipe ideas visit www.bordbia.ie/bestinseason