Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food
consumed out of season. Even though we can eat strawberries year
round, the best time to eat them is shortly after harvest when they
are full of flavour and, according to some studies, contain more
nutrients. Seasonal fruits and vegetables produced on local farms
are often fresher, as they do not require long distances for
Below are some of the best spring fruits and veggies to get in
The goodness: Leeks, like garlic and onions,
belong to a vegetable family called the allium vegetables. They
contain flavonoids which help reduce inflammation and have also
shown to have cardiovascular protection. Plus they contain lots of
vitamins - A, C, K and B6.
How to choose: Leeks should be firm and
straight with dark green leaves and white necks. Avoid those that
are yellowed or wilted.
How to store: Store leeks unwashed in a loose plastic bag in the
fridge where they will keep fresh for one to two weeks.
How to eat: Try adding finely chopped leeks to
salads or to broths and stews for extra flavouring.
The goodness: Of all the commonly consumed
cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower and cabbage, broccoli
stands out as the most concentrated source of antioxidant - vitamin
C. They are also packed full of vitamins E, K and B6, chromium,
folate and are a good source of dietary fibre.
How to choose: Pick broccoli that are firm, not
bruised, with a uniformly dark green, sage or purple-green colour.
Avoid those that have yellow blossoming throughout.
How to store: Unwashed broccoli can be kept fresh in a plastic
bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
How to eat: Both raw and cooked broccoli can
make excellent additions to your meals. Use it raw in salads, toss
it in pasta, or add it to omelettes. The stem is edible too.
The goodness: As with other berries,
strawberries are packed full of vitamin C, they also contain
anti-inflammatory nutrients that play a role in protecting our
cardiovascular system. They are jam packed with manganese, which
are minerals important for bone development.
How to choose: When strawberries are optimally
ripe, they not only have the peak flavour and texture, but will
have more nutrients. So choose berries that are firm and plump,
with a shiny, deep red colour.
How to store: Strawberries are very perishable.
Greater nutrient losses can occur with storage of over two days. So
to maintain their freshness, store them in your refrigerator's cold
How to eat: Heat can often destroy nutrients,
such as vitamins. To retain the maximum amount of nutrients, it's
best to enjoy them fresh and not prepared in a cooked recipe.
Strawberries are perfect as a snack or try adding them to
The goodness: Pears are a great source of phytonutrients, which
have shown to provide us with antioxidant as well as
anti-inflammatory benefits. Not only are they a good source of
fibre, but also contain lots of vitamin C and K.
How to choose: Since pears are very perishable
once they are ripe, look for pears that are firm, but not too hard
and free of bruises.
How to store: If you are not eating ripened
pears, they can be stored in the fridge for a few days. If you
would like to hasten the ripening process, place them in a paper
bag at room temperature.
How to eat: Since the skin provides about half
of the pears total fibre as well as antioxidants, it is best to not
peel the fruit when eaten. Sliced pears are also a great addition
to a walnut, fetta and rocket salad. Squeeze several drops of
lemon/lime to prevent the sliced pear from turning brown due to
Also in season: asparagus, berries, broad beans, capsicum,
carrots, cauliflower, cherries, cucumbers, leeks, limes, parsnips,
peas, pineapple, silverbeet, strawberries, zucchini.
By Michelle Tong, Diabetes Dietitian & Credentialed Diabetes