Nutritious Winter Vegetables
Potatoes bought in February, commonly known as ‘old’ potatoes, are classified as winter vegetables but they don’t count towards your ‘Five a Day’ because they are a starchy food. Nevertheless, they are a great source of potassium and fibre as well as being naturally fat-free and gluten-free. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey in the UK (NDNS 2014/15-2015/16) reported that for adults, potatoes contributed:
- 15% of average daily potassium intake
- 13% of average daily vitamin B6 intake
- 14% of average vitamin C intake
- 12% of average daily thiamine (vitamin B1) intake
- 9% of folate average daily intake
There are numerous health benefits to eating parsnips – winter vegetables that taste even better after the winter frosts. These include their ability to improve heart health, enhance digestion, reduce birth defects (because they are rich in folic acid), aid in weight loss, and boost the immune system. They also enhance vision, promote growth, boost oral and skin health, prevent diabetes, and improve brain health.
This is due to the fact that they contain high levels of minerals such as calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron. They also contain a wide range of vitamins, including folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and vitamins B6, C, E and K. They are also low in carbohydrates, sodium and calories.OOnions are packed with nutrients. They are fat and cholesterol free and a good source of fibre. They contain vitamins A, C, B6 and folate. They also contain a wide range of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and fluoride.
Onions are packed with nutrients. They are fat and cholesterol free and a good source of fibre. They contain vitamins A, C, B6 and folate. They also contain a wide range of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and fluoride.
Swede, also known as ‘neeps’ in Scotland, contains a wide range of nutrients. It is particularly high in vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, and is also a good source of manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and fibre. These winter vegetables are available from mid- October to late February, and the smaller ones have a sweeter flavour.
How many of us as children were told to eat carrots because they’d help you see in the dark? This claim isn’t accurate – but they are good for the health of your eyes. There are so many health benefits of eating carrots I could write a blog just on this subject! To summarise, they are rich in antioxidants beta carotene, phytochemicals, glutathione, calcium and potassium. They also contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E. They contain a form of calcium easily absorbed by the body. And last, but not least, they contain copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and sulphur. Although I’ve classified carrots as winter vegetables, they are in fact available in the UK for nearly twelve months of the year.
Celery is another of those winter vegetables that is brimming with nutrients. Amongst its health benefits, are that it lowers cholesterol levels, and arthritis pain, helps in weight loss, detoxifies the body and reduces high blood pressure. It contains fatty acids and vitamins including vitamin A, K, C, E, D and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12. It also contains minerals such as calcium, sodium, copper, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. It also contains fibre.
Although mushrooms are not winter vegetables, they are normally listed as vegetables in restaurant menus and are a great addition to this recipe. Mushrooms are in fact fungi. Mushrooms claim to have a list of health benefits, including increasing the body’s immune defences, cardiovascular benefits decreasing the risk of diabetes and obesity and lowering the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins such as riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5) and niacin (B3). They contain the minerals selenium, potassium, copper, iron and phosphorus. They also contain choline, a nutrient that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.
2 sticks of celery
1 medium red onion
25g plain flour
0.5 pint milk
1 tsp dried tarragon
2 cloves of garlic
1 vegetable stock cube
100g plain flour
100g mature cheddar cheese (grated)
100g margarine or butter
Preparing the Winter Vegetables
Celery – trim & cut into 2cm lengths
Potatoes – peel & chop into 1cm dice
Carrots – peel & cut into 3cm fingers
Swede – peel & cut into 1cm rounds
Mushrooms – quarter
Red Onion – peel, quarter then separate the leaves
Making the Casserole Base
1. Melt 50g of butter in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the tarragon, chopped garlic & seasoning. Add all the winter vegetables and the crumbed stock cube and allow to sweat for 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
2. Preheat oven to 180C
3. Add the 50g of flour to the winter vegetables and mix, then gradually add the milk. When thickened, transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish.
1. In a separate mixing bowl, add the 100g of flour, oats, 100g of butter or margarine, and half the grated cheddar and mix until the texture becomes crumbly.
2. Coat the winter vegetables with the crumble and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Other Winter Vegetables to Use
This recipe can be adapted to suit your personal preferences. Winter vegetables such as celeriac, leeks, squash and turnips could all be used. Here is a diary of seasonal UK grown fruit and vegetables produced by the Vegetarian Society. Frozen vegetables could also be used.
It is evident that winter vegetables are healthy and this recipe makes a cheap and winter-warming dish. Given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit it may be that some produce will not be available all year round (see previous blog), and we may have to rely more heavily on seasonal vegetables when cooking. In any event, reducing food miles and eating fresh seasonal vegetables with their plentiful health benefits can only be a good thing. More vegetarian dishes can be found here(link to vegetarian dishes).