SEASONAL FOODS: JANUARY / FEBRUARY

Tuesday, 29th January 2019

Seasonal Foods: January / February

Chicory

Cigar-shaped leafy vegetable that grows in the dark and hence will not be defeated by miserable January. Generally come in either white or red varieties, try to pick ones with crisp leaves as they have a better flavour. Bella’s Italian host-mum’s recipe works wonders: centimetre-thick slices of chicory, laid on baking paper, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned generously. Grill until golden. Two minutes before they’re done sprinkle with sunflower seeds and return to grill.

Nutritional perks:

High in vitamin A- good for your skin, did you know that the last-resort acne-clearing drug ‘Roaccutane’ is just a highly concentrated derivative of vitamin A? Also topical acne-remedy retinoid is otherwise known as vitamin A1. However, you’d have to eat an earth-shattering quantity of chicory to reach these concentrations so don’t expect miracles.

Very high in vitamin K- essential for bone health, also linked to memory, and cardiovascular health. 

 

Leeks

The humble British leek appears to be neither humble nor distinctly British according to Wikipedia; a national emblem of the Welsh, leeks were worn on helmets into battle with the Saxons- apparently it worked. Emperor Nero also claimed the vegetable was “beneficial to the quality of his voice". n.b. as it stands there is no connection between his plethora of morally-defunct decision-making and his favourite lunch.

Nutritional perks:

Also high in vitamin K- essential for bone health, also linked to memory, and cardiovascular health.

 

Cabbage

Despite it’s unglamorous reputation, cabbage is packed-full of goodness that will give your diet a super inexpensive health-boost. Shred Savoy and fry with caraway seeds, or spice up red with all-spice and red wine vinegar if you’re extra.

Nutritional perks: vitamins C, K, B6, Folate, Manganese, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, polyphenols and fiber.

 

Brussel sprouts

Christmas is over but sprouts are still in season until mid-February. Apparently good when combined with sage and chestnuts (also in season).

Nutritional perks: Not only are they full of antioxidants, they also contain ALA omega-3 fatty acids so are an alternative to animal-based sources of omega-3.

 

Apples and Pears

Not technically “in season” but still retain their flavour due to oxygen-free storage. To cut your carbon footprint, make sure they’re British. Pears poached in Merlot is the perfect remedy to January-blues- it’s not breaking dry-January if your not drinking the alcohol, right? Also great for dinner parties as you can cook up to two days before and store in fridge. This is one of our favourite recipes.

Nutritional perks: low GI, so they won’t spike your blood sugar.

 


 

Mussels

Don’t be scared off by food poisoning horror stories, mussels are actually very easy to cook as long as you follow the rules: closed before cooking (lightly tap open ones to see if they close) and open after cooking. Discard all that don’t comply. Mussels are also a good source of iodine which your body can’t make and has been identified as one of the leading deficiencies in the UK. Iodine is essential for your thyroid which regulates growth and metabolism, a deficiency could be the cause of symptoms from weight gain to a changing heart rate. The demographic most severely affected by iodine deficiency is pregnant women, dangers include seriously stunted cognitive and physical development of the child. A good vegan alternative to animal-based iodine sources is seaweed.

Nutritional perks: iodine, selenium.

Store in bowl in salad drawer, covered by damp tea towel

 

Oysters

Oysters are in season and Valentine’s is around the corner, how convenient. Low in calories, high in protein and containing a cocktail of vitamins and minerals, oysters are the New Year New You dream. The ultimate foodie aphrodisiac, eighteenth century womaniser, Casanova appears to have tried-and-tested the theory, feasting on fifty for breakfast: true commitment to the cause.

Nutritional perks: iron and omega 3.

Click here for a guide on how to prepare.

Store in bowl in salad drawer, covered by damp tea towel

 

Game: hare, pheasant

As we know, meat is responsible for a large proportion of the carbon emissions produced. However, this is generally due to mass farming techniques, choosing wild game instead reduces your carbon-footprint. As a rule of thumb try to choose organic, local sources that have a good animal-welfare policy, and try to keep eating meat to a minimum - quality over quantity.

Hare is best slow-cooked and pheasant is fairly versatile, but keep in mind it has a low fat content so will easily dry out when cooking if no additional fat or moisture is added.

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