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Fresh ideas for Spring produce

MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate release
4 September 2013                                                                                             

Fresh ideas for Spring produce

Spring’s seasonal produce provides a great opportunity to add fresh flavours to healthy, tasty meals, says 5+ A Day.

5+ A Day nutritionist, Bronwen Anderson, says eating fresh fruit and vegetables in season offers many benefits. “Seasonal produce is not only excellent value, it is also at optimum flavour and quality, making it highly nutritious,” she says.

“Spring lends itself to lighter meals and seasonal produce makes that easy. Eating a wide range of fresh seasonal produce helps maintain a strong immune system and provides a wide mix of nutrients.  Go for variety and colour to maximise health benefits,” she says.

Here are some quick seasonal recipe ideas using asparagus, avocado, mushrooms, strawberries and tangelos.

Asparagus is one the first vegetables to signal the start of spring.

Nutrition: A good source of Folate important for pregnant mothers, also a source of Riboflavin, which helps release energy from carbohydrates. Asparagus is delicious cooked or raw and is low in calories.

Quick recipe ideas: For an easy asparagus salad, shave raw asparagus lengthwise with a peeler, toss with olive oil, lemon juice and a mix of fresh herbs, such as mint, basil, coriander and dill. Top with shaved Gruyere and season. Or simply steam asparagus and drizzle over a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, finely chopped shallots and parsley.

Avocados were once called ‘ahuacat’ or the testical tree by the Aztec.

Nutrition: Avocados are a real superfood. They are a good source of fibre, helping to maintain a healthy digestive system and lower bad cholesterol. A source of Potassium, an essential part of every cell. Also a source of Iron, Niacin, B6 and vitamin C and an excellent source of folate.

Quick recipe ideas: For a creamy taco topping, purée an avocado with plain yogurt and a healthy squeeze of lime. For a fresh twist on guacamole, mash up an avocado, mix in lime juice, diced granny smith apple, fresh chilli, chopped coriander and season. Serve with fish or chicken. Try mashing 1/4 of an avocado with a fork and spread on bread instead of butter.

Mushrooms were referred to as ‘Food of the Gods’ in Ancient Rome.

Nutrition: Mushrooms are low in calories and a source of Riboflavin, B6 and Niacin which are important for healthy skin and hair.

Quick recipe ideas: For a versatile pasta sauce sauté chopped onion and garlic with sliced Portobello mushrooms. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes. Toss in chopped parsley and cooked pasta of your choice. For an easy appetizer combine chopped parsley and tomato with crumbled feta cheese, breadcrumbs and a little olive oil. Stuff mixture into large button mushrooms. Bake until soft.

Strawberries are not actually berries because their seeds are on the outside.

Nutrition: Strawberries contain ellagic acid, a phytochemical, said to have anti-cancer properties. They also contain flavonoids which help reduce cholesterol.

Quick recipe ideas: For something a bit different try tossing sliced strawberries through a chicken salad, drizzle over a tangy vinaigrette and finish with a little crumbled blue cheese. Or for a sweet and savoury touch to roast chicken, fish or grilled pork tenderloin, mix chopped strawberries through avocado salsa. This salsa is also great as a dip served with baked tortilla chips and of course fresh strawberries make a great a great addition to a cheese platter.

Tangelos are a cross between a tangerine and grapefruit.

Nutrition: Tangelos are rich in dietary fibre and provide an excellent source of Vitamin C, which helps build immunity and aids the body to absorb iron.

Quick recipe ideas: Try a mixed citrus salad for dessert with oranges, grapefruit and tangelos. Stir through a little white balsamic vinegar, honey and fresh mint. Add zing to fish by sprinkling tangelo juice over fillets before cooking in foil parcels on the BBQ.

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

ENDS

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