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January is traditionally a time for new beginnings. Many New Year resolutions for 2018, made in a haze of champagne as the clock chimed midnight, will have included healthy eating and getting fit. When the bubbles wear off, a rejig of the diet is not a bad way to start the year.
The first month of the year is a sparing one on the fresh produce front. What’s around is predictable, but none the less useful for creating tasty and healthy dishes.
Here are some vegetables and fruits you can find:
Our trendy friend kale thrives through the hard winter months. Make friends with it, because it’s one of the superfoods that can help in the risk reduction and treatment of life threatening diseases. Kale has been described by some health and nutrition professionals as one of the most nutrient packed vegetables in the world. Health professionals also recommend kale as a cholesterol reducing food. It contains no cholesterol, and according to our research, it can reduce cholesterol levels in the body by helping to bind bile acids in the digestive tract for excretion. Light steaming is said to be beneficial for this process, although you can also eat kale raw and it will still have a cholesterol lowering effect, if consumed regularly.
Winter carrots and parsnips make superb smooth soups that don’t require any flour in the thickening. Simply add a little potato to the mix and you have a healthy, wheat free velvet textured soup packed with goodness.
Squashes from the autumn harvest are still around. Butternuts, Acorn and Crown Prince Squashes make delicious curries and risottos. They can be roasted with herbs and heart friendly Irish rapeseed oil as a side dish. Great with chicken or lamb.
Beetroot is another January winner. This veggie has enjoyed a revival in recent years – used for everything from posh vegetable crisps to juices, soups and sauces. Its earthy taste is softened by boiling. Don’t peel it first or it will leech all its red juice into the water. Boil, cool then slip off the soft peel easily. Use boiled beetroots in salads. Fresh beetroots can be cut into quarters to roast round a chicken, or peeled and finely grated from raw for salads.
Potatoes are the staple this time of year. Proper ‘poppies’ which burst their skins when steamed, to reveal flavoursome fluffy flesh inside.
Typical fruits of January are Seville Oranges from Spain, the oranges for marmalade making. If you are a preserver, this is the time to get your pots, pans and jam jars out!
In general, citrus fruits and pomegranate are really the fruit kings in January!