It’s that time of year – the crisp mornings, the rainy afternoons, the colder days, and the darker evenings. But despite the feeling that summer is no more, there are wonderful things to be seen in the kitchen now that autumn is here.
Here are my top of the autumn pips:
Pumpkin These are one of the lowest calorie squashes in existence – with only 10 cals per 80g serving. A clear winner for everyone! On top of that they are loaded with the important anti-oxidant beta-carotene, are touted to reduce the risk of certain cancers, like breast cancer, as well as protect against heart disease. Even their seeds are packed with nutritional content. Top foods to try include prawn, pumkin and coconut stew, pumpkin, berlotti bean and faro soup or healthy pumpkin pancakes.
Pears Pears are a high-fibre food, providing a host a wonderful benefits. Most of the fibre is the soluble kind, which can help lower blood cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control. On top of this it can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and support gut health. Eating foods rich in pears could also play a part in protecting against cancers. Classic pear recipes you could try this autumn include pork with pears, griddle pears with goats cheese, or a pear and blueberry breakfast bowl.
Parsnips These might look like white carrots but they have a delicate, sweet flavour. While they don't contain the same high amounts of vitamin A as carrot, parsnips are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Look for smooth and firm, small to medium sized parsnips for the best quality.
Turnips A member of the mustard family, turnips have a white flesh with a tough outer skin that ranges from yellow to purple, and a more bitter flavour than potatoes. They are a good source of vitamin C and offer 2-3g dietary fibre per serving. Like their cousins, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, these cruciferous vegetables contain the potent phytochemical sulforaphane, which has been shown to protect against cancer, especially breast cancer. Try incorporating them into recipes where you'd normally use plain old spuds. They work well boiled, mashed or roasted.
Apples. Apples are cheap and readily available at this time of year, but the most important thing is they contain a whole heap of health benefits. They are top of the list for lowering cholesterol, preventing diabetes and being beneficial for bone health, as well as helping to prevent obesity and protect against heart disease. And if all of that doesn’t convince you try these recipes to get your taste buds flowing pork and apple burgers, blackberry and apple oat bake, or crispy pork belly with fennel and apple slaw.