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These are the fruits and vegetables to eat this spring

You might have heard that “eating seasonally” being good for you, but you might not know exactly why, or which fruit and vegetables are in season.

One of the reasons why eating seasonally can be good for general health is because it allows you to enjoy a wide variety of foods throughout the year. This can help keep you healthy because different fruits and vegetables provide different nutrients like vitamins and minerals that play an important role in different areas of the body.

If you’re someone who is mindful about sustainability, eating seasonally can help to reduce your environmental footprint. This is because it allows you to eat produce that is produced more locally, minimising the number of kilometres that your food needs to be transported and supporting local farmers.

Eating seasonally can also be more cost-effective, as foods that are being harvested in abundance tend not to be marked up as much as those in scarce supply.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season in spring in Australia:

Avocado

Avocado on toast is basically a staple in Australia, and these treasured fruits are in season throughout October and November.

Nutritionally, avocados are an excellent choice. They’re rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, often referred to as “healthy fats”. These fats help the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K and E, are anti-inflammatory and can assist with maintaining a healthy heart, brain, and reproductive system.

An avocado also contains more potassium than a banana, and one study even found that people who eat avocados tend to have healthier diets overall as well as less risk of metabolic syndrome.

Try adding sliced avocado to a salad, spreading avocado on toast, crackers or rice cakes, or mashed up with a squeeze of lime juice and some salt and pepper as a delicious dip.

Asparagus

Asparagus contains vitamin A, C, and K, as well as folate, fibre, and prebiotic inulin, which acts as food for your healthy gut bacteria.

Like many vegetables, asparagus is low in calories but rich in nutrients, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to reduce or maintain their energy intake and eat a nutrient-dense diet.

The skin is particularly rich in antioxidants, so try and pick long, skinny spears for maximum health benefits.

Asparagus adds flavour and crunch to salads and is particularly delicious when dipped into soft boiled eggs.

Broccoli

Broccoli is part of a family of vegetables called ‘brassica’ which include brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. These leafy vegetables contain vitamins A and C and folic acid.

Some research suggests that cruciferous vegetable consumption may decrease cancer risk.

Broccoli also has vitamin K, fibre, iron, and potassium.

Broccoli makes a tasty side dish when steamed, blanched, or wok friend, and can also be added to salads, soups, pasta dishes and stir-fries.

Citrus fruits

Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits and mandarins are all available in spring and packed with nutrients. Many people know that citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, but they also have fibre (as long as you eat the whole fruit, not just the juice), and antioxidants.

Interestingly, there is lots of research which points to a connection between the consumption of citrus and many kinds of cancers, including esophageal cancer, oral cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer. This may be because people who eat more citrus fruit tend to eat more fruit and vegetables or a better-quality diet, but the research is interesting nonetheless.

Citrus fruit is delicious when eaten alone or used on cooking. Try adding a few orange segments to a salad, eating half of a ruby grapefruit with your breakfast, or squeezing lemon juice over meat, fish, poultry and veggies.

Fennel

Fennel is low in calories and contains plenty of fibre, a decent amount of vitamin C, as well as minerals including iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and calcium.

Not only is fennel flavourful and in abundance during spring; it’s a vegetable that you can almost eat from root to tip. The bulb, seeds and leaves are all used for slightly different purposes in cooking.

Try adding the finely sliced bulb to salads or using it to add flavour when roasting poultry or fish. The fronds or delicate leaves make a delicious garnish, particularly for fish, and the seeds can be used for seasoning or brewed as a tea.

Pineapples

You might associate pineapples with summer, but these sweet, juicy fruits are in season all through spring. They’re rich in vitamins C and B6, copper, folate, and manganese.

Pineapples also contain an enzyme called bromelain that may help with digestion. Some initial research also indicates that bromelain could help with the prevention of cancer, though further human research is required.

Pineapple can be chopped an eaten alone as a snack, finely diced and combined with chilli, onion and coriander to make a salsa, or, of course, used in a Hawaiian pizza.

One of the best ways to east seasonally is to visit your nearest farmer’s market and buy from local producers. If you’re not sure what a particular fruit or vegetable is or how it should be eaten, the stallholder is usually delighted to explain it to you.


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