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Spring is just around the corner, but let’s appreciate the Winter Vegetables while they’re here!

We’re starting to reach the end of Winter and with a bit of luck Spring will be just around the corner (although I’m sure you’ve not forgotten the Beast from the East a few years ago which hit in March!). Before Spring does arrive though, Winter vegetables are ready for prime time. We know they’re some of the least popular options in the vegetable family, but we only have ourselves to blame for that. We often overcook them or leave the plain, which is almost criminal if it puts kids off eating healthy veggies. Especially when the likes of leeks and swedes nurture us all the way through the cold and the dark winter and provide us with much needed nutrition and vitamins.

Many winter vegetables contain notable quantities of vitamin C. Let’s take Swede as an example, for every 100g, Swede contains 25 mg, which is 42% of the daily recommended dose. Other winter options like Beetroot are also packed with cancer curbing anti-oxidants.

Boring or delicious?

Boring or delicious?

Like potatoes, we have only had Swede for a few hundred years and elsewhere it has different names. In America it’s known as the rutabaga, while Scots know it simply as ‘neeps’.

A point of note though, because we see them often confused, Swede is not a turnip! While the pair are both part of the cabbage family, the turnip tends to be a lot smaller and to have a whiter bottom half, where the swede is noticeably yellow.

In spite of it’s outward appearance, Swede can be a delicious vegetable and deserves to be a stalwart of the winter larder. It’s perfectly versatile (boil it, bake it, roast it) but there’s no finer way to serve it than as a buttery mash (all you need to do is prepare it in the same way you would potatoes basically) with tatties (mashed potato) and haggis.

Quality, nutritious, soup

Quality, nutritious, soup

If you need more inspiration, veg like carrots and parsnips, can be gently rolled in a light coat of oil and rosemary and placed onto a hot tray. Pop on a couple of whole garlics and roast on high until they look delicious and soft enough to eat. Another option is to chop them finely, fry in a large saucepan then add water or stock and simmer until the veg is soft – making you the perfect healthy soup.

Have a look at our delicious vegetable stew with herby dumplings here

If you have a favourite winter veg, or any other, recipe and would like the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

To find the best swede and winter veg try your local farm shop using our local food map.

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