Speak to any expert on healthy eating, any expert on budget cooking or any expert on eco friendly eating and they will all tell you that seasonal eating is the way to go. Buying fresh, local fruit and vegetables while they are in season makes sense in every way – this when foods are at their cheapest and tastiest. April, like March, is still a time of transition for locally grown foods and there are some wonderfully colourful choices of veg and fresh fruit in April.
Fresh veg in April
Fresh greens take over from heavy root vegetables for spring, in the form of broccoli, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, leeks, spinach, salsify, spring onions and watercress. This last is a dramatically underused leaf in the UK. Its smooth, peppery flavour adds interest to salads and sandwiches and grows milder when cooked. Watercress soup will be a revelation if you’ve never tried it before. Used in juices, particularly with carrot, it gives a massive nutrition boost.
Fresh fruit in April
Much of the fruit we use in April has been imported, but will be in season in its home country so the same principles apply. While apples, pears, rhubarb and the citrus fruits of winter can still be eaten, shops will be stocking bananas, passion fruit and kiwi.
How to use fresh fruit in April
It’s hard to beat a banoffee pie for sheer sweet indulgence, but as spring is a time to lighten up, try using three of this month’s seasonal fruit in one exotic, healthy and delicious salad.
You will need:
- 6 ripe passion fruit, halved
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 pineapple, peeled and cored and cut into chunks
- 8 ripe kiwis, peeled and cut into quarters lengthwise
- 3 bananas, thickly sliced
- 10 pitted prunes, halved
Spoon out as much of the seedy pulp as you can from five of the passion fruits. Press through a sieve over a saucepan, extracting as much juice as possible. Add the sugar and cook gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and set aside to cool. Scoop out the contents of the last passion fruit and stir in.
In a large bowl, toss together the pineapple, kiwis, bananas and prunes. Pour over the passion fruit syrup, stir well to coat the sliced fruit and serve immediately with cream or ice cream.