Autumn is my absolute favourite season when it comes to fruit – apples, blackberries, damsons, rhubarb can all be used to make so many delicious and nutritious warming breakfasts and puddings, or eaten fresh as a healthy snack (bar the rhubarb). Bursting with vitamin C, they are full of wonderful nutrients and, they all blend perfectly together, and with warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and it is oh so satisfying knowing that they have arrived on your table with so few food-miles behind them.
I am a huge advocate of seasonal produce especially as it’s wonderful to know you’re eating the fruit or veg at it’s very best, and, unlike tropical fruits that have been imported to the UK, they retain their flavour and are a cost-effective option too. It also allows you to get creative with what’s available. For more information on what’s in season, when, this BBC Good Food table is an excellent resource: www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/all
Blackberries are supremely high in antioxidants; the high levels of vitamin K which aids in muscle relaxing – their juice has also even been known to help regulate menstruation. They also promote the tightening of skin tissue, and keep your brain alert. Their high tannin content also helps reduce intestinal inflammation, making these beauties super gut-friendly.
Apples are such a delicious staple, but we get so used to eating Granny Smiths and Braeburns, that we easily forget how lucky we are to live in a country with 3000 varieties of apples! High in essential vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, apples are also more filling than other fruits and so will keep you satiated for longer.
Damsons are a nutritional power house; these small fruits are similar to plums and make a completely delicious jam. Not only do they help improve digestive and heart health, they optimise your sleeping patterns: due to their high concentration of vitamin C and magnesium they are renowned for their ability to facilitate a good night’s sleep.
Rhubarb might just be my favourite fruit ever! So completely delicious in a pie, a crumble, a cake, simply stewed with orange and spooned over coconut yogurt - the list goes on J It’s particularly high in calcium and the antioxidant lutein, which has huge benefits to eye and skin health, as well as fights free radicals helping prevent cancer.
So what to do with this seasonal fruit? Apart from the blackberries, which I prefer to eat, raw, I like to stew everything else :)
All you need to do is place it in a saucepan on a low heat with a teaspoon of honey, and cook until it has mulched down to the consistency you prefer. You can do this with apples, damsons, plums, rhubarb and blackberries – it makes a perfect addition to breakfasts of granolas, yogurts etc. or you could just have it for pudding with a sprinkle of cinnamon or with some grated some orange zest for a bit of ‘zing’.
Another favourite of mine is crumble – warming, delicious, and it doesn’t need to be full of flour, butter and sugar as my recipe demonstrates: www.cookfirst.co.uk/crumble/
Of course these fruits can be baked into cakes, or tarts or pies – these muffins could easily be made with apple instead of carrot: www.cookfirst.co.uk/carrot-cranberry-ginger-muffins/
Watch this space for more autumnal fruit recipe ideas…