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Celebrate fresh seasonal summer produce

2nd December 2014

Celebrate fresh seasonal summer produce

Fresh seasonal produce makes it easy to create delicious, healthy meals over summer, according to 5+ A Day.

Strawberries, blueberries, asparagus, stonefruit, tomatoes and other seasonal produce contain a variety of minerals and vitamins that are important for good health.

5+ A Day recommends eating a variety of fresh New Zealand summer produce to help maintain wellness over the Christmas and New Year period. Apricots are a good source of vitamin A equivalent, which is important for growth and development and good vision. Apricots, nectarines and blueberries all contain dietary fibre which aids digestion.

Strawberries, peaches and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin C, which not only helps the body to absorb iron, it also contributes to a healthy immune system, helps fight fatigue and supports healthy skin.

Asparagus is a good source of folate which is important for growth and development making it a great choice for expectant mums.

Here are some seasonal recipe ideas using fresh summer produce.

Berry mascarpone tarts
Serves: 12
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: No cooking required

Ingredients
3 handfuls of fresh strawberries, stems removed
1 handful of fresh blueberries
1 orange, juice and zest
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
1 packet of mascarpone
Silver sprinkles (for Christmas)
Packet of 12 individual sweet tart cases

Method
Slice one handful of strawberries and mix with mascarpone, vanilla, lemon and orange juice and zest. Spoon into tart cases and decorate with remaining strawberries and blueberries, add silver sprinkles for a festive look.

Colourful caprese salad
Serves: 8
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: No cooking required

Ingredients
4 handfuls of different coloured cherry tomatoes
125g fresh baby mozzarella, halved
12 basil leaves, torn
20ml good quality olive oil
Fresh cracked black pepper
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Method
Mix halved tomatoes and mozzarella in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and season with cracked pepper. Scatter torn basil leaves over the tomatoes. Serve as an entrée on crostini or as a salad at lunch or dinner. For best flavour, store tomatoes at room temperature.

New Zealand summer fruit salad
Serves: 6
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: No cooking required

Ingredients
2 plums
2 nectarines
2 peaches
2 apricots
1 orange
2 passionfruit (optional – adds a crunch to the texture)
Juice from half a lemon
A few fresh mint leaves

Method
Wash stonefruit and chop up into chunks with orange. Place in a mixing bowl and scoop out passionfruit and mix in with the lemon juice, toss thoroughly. Top with torn fresh mint leaves.

Roasted asparagus with chilli and lime
Serves: 4
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Ingredients
20 asparagus spears, woody ends removed
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. Wash and cut the ends off the asparagus. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes and lime juice. Lay flat in a roasting dish and cook for 15 minutes, flip halfway through. Sprinkle over flat leaf parsley for garnish.

For more tips and recipes go to 5aday.co.nz. Or find 5+ A Day on Facebook at facebook.com/5adayNZ or Fredge_5Aday on Twitter.

ENDS

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