Superfoods

Summer is upon us, and we’re not just looking forward to the sun, beach days, picnics, and backyard barbeques – we’re also excited about some of the scrumptious power foods are back in season.

So in case you’re like us, and are seeking some nutritious, delicious inspiration for your next culinary venture, we’ve selected four of our favorite summer superfoods (with accompanying recipes!) for you try out.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is the misunderstood band member of the famous Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. This leafy plant contains plenty of calcium, lutein (a free radical neutralizer that is also vital for healthy skin and eyes), vitamin K and antioxidants. Looking at the rhubarb, you may think it’s just a red version of celery, but rhubarb is actually of the fruit family tree. The stem of the rhubarb plant is not only good for dessert, but can also be eaten raw, which is actually the best form to reap its benefits.

Try this quick Stewed Rhubarb Vanilla Yoghurt recipe by celeb chef Jamie Oliver for a sweet treat on a warm day!

Ingredients: 750g/27oz trimmed and chopped rhubarb, 1 orange (juiced, with zest); 100g/4oz sweetener (we prefer stevia, honey or agave); 2 pieces of finely chopped ginger stems; 1 halved vanilla pod and a 250ml tub of natural yoghurt.

How To: In a medium-sized sauce pan, bring the rhubarb, orange juice and zest, sugar, ginger and 2 tablespoons of water to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the rhubarb is cooked but still in shape.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and mix them into the yoghurt. This recipe serves four people warm rhubarb with a large dollop of vanilla yoghurt on top!

Mackerel

Mackerel

The slim, cylindrical and broody mackerel lives in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea or the Black Sea. The nutrients found in this yummy fish help to cleanse your blood, make blood vessels and capillaries more elastic, and lower blood pressure.

Mackerel also helps to prevent heart attacks, reduces cancer-causing agents in cells, regulates hormone levels, strengthens the immune system and regulates metabolism.

Try this delicious and simple recipe from River Cottage chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – it makes a fantastic mackerel dish for two people in 15 minutes. Ready-set-go…

Ingredients: 2 medium-large mackerel fillets; olive oil; a few thickly-sliced garlic cloves; a few roughly-torn bay leaves; half a lemon; salt and ground black pepper.

How To: Season the mackerel fillets with salt and pepper and pour some olive oil into a large frying pan on medium heat. Once hot, scatter in the garlic and bay leaves, and then lay the mackerel fillets over them with the skin side down.

Letting the garlic and bay leaves sizzle in the oil under and next to the fish, once the fillets cook to opaque white, turn them over and leave to cook for another minute. Transfer the mackerel to a plate and squeeze some lemon over it. Serve with tomatoes, potatoes or a salad of your choice.

Gooseberries

They look like delicate grapes tucked in soft leaves, but the nutrient-filled gooseberries, which come in green, white or red – are actually filled with tiny seeds. They are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and E, and calcium. Like the mysterious and interesting relative you only see every summer, they don’t visit very often, but gooseberries have been used in jams and pies for centuries.

This Gooseberry Crumble recipe by Healthy Living Made Easy is another reason to have some friends over for coffee or tea this summer.

Ingredients: 900g/30oz topped and tailed gooseberries; sugar (can substitute with agave or honey); 175g/1.5 cups plain flour; 85g/1/3 cup butter; 55g/1/3 cup brown sugar; ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon.

How To: In an ovenproof dish, pour in the gooseberries and sprinkle with sugar. For the crumble topping, process the plain flour and butter until they resemble fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Top the gooseberries with this mix and bake at 180C/350F for 30 minutes or until the top is browned and the fruit starts to bubble.

Beet

A low-calorie, sweet super food that fills you up, yet has zero trans-fat and zero saturated fat? Don’t stop the beet!

This deep colored plant is high in (good) carbohydrates and is a healthy source of energy for your body, containing sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, fiber and vitamins A and C. It also has folic acid, which produces new cells for better healing. They are actually available all year long, but beet made this list because this talented underdog is an upcoming superstar, we believe.

Here’s a challenge – put beet on the menu at your next barbeque with this tasty Beet, Rice & Goat Cheese Burger recipe from the New York Times.

Ingredients: 2 cups of cooked brown rice; 1 cup of finely diced roasted beets; ¼ cup chopped parsley and dill; a 15oz/425g can of white beans (drained and rinsed); 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; 1 egg, 2oz/60g crumbled goat cheese; extra virgin olive oil; salt and ground pepper.

How To: Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Combine the rice, beets and herbs in a large bowl. Purée the beans, lemon juice and egg with a fork or food processor and add into the bowl, together with the goat cheese and some salt and pepper after. Mix the ingredients together, and form 6 patties.

Working in batches, brown the patties on one side with 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy ovenproof skillet for 2 minutes on the stove. Then turn over onto the other side and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve with or without buns and with the condiment of your choice!

What are your favorite super foods this season? Got any recipes to recommend to us? Share them down here and we’ll give them a try!