We have all read about the governments recommendation that we eat 5 portions of fruit/veg per day and even more recently this has been increased to 7 with the main part of this being on vegetables rather than fruits.
However, come on now lets be honest about this -how many of us really do eat just 5 per day on a regular basis let alone 7?
Most people will hover around the 3 to 4 mark for most days and this most likely includes a couple of pieces of fruit.
I know for me the challenge lies not in disliking vegetables but in needing the inspiration and not having enough time to prepare my food particularly for lunchtime when not at home.
So, I thought that it might be a useful exercise to have a list of those veggies which are considered to be super veg -being a vegetable grower these are the ones that I grow every year without fail so that for at least a few months per year I have a ready supply of homegrown nutritious organic produce.
- In first place I have dark leafy greens such as Kale.Kale is so easy to grow and it just keeps on coming and coming, forming fresh new leaves as you pick the ones that are ready.I always have up to 10 Kale plants that are at any one time ready to pick, so that I have a constant supply of delicious fresh greenery packed with vitamins and minerals. The tattier leaves get fed to the rabbits who love them.
- Then comes Broccoli – Purple Sprouting and the Calabrese varieties that we see most often in the supermarket.However, mine is not sprayed with chemicals -in fact if it is good enough for the insects and bugs then it is good enough for me and my family.
- Tomatoes -in all their shapes, sizes and varieties.I particularly love the plum shaped varieties as they ripen to a deep red/orange with a wonderful sweet taste.Tomatoes can be grown in a greenhouse or simply put into the garden once the soil has warmed.I remember one year I had some self sown seeds which sprouted out of the holes in my compost bin -these were the most prolific plants I have ever had and the fruits were fabulous.
- Peas -these are great fun to grow and great for kids to grow too.As long as the plants have some sort of canes or netting to support them growing they are very low maintenance and delicious to eat.
- Beans are similar to peas in needing some sort of support to grow up and they can be very prolific throughout the season particularly if you stagger your planting.You can even eat the bean/pea shoots.
- Cucumbers -the home grown variety taste nothing like the sanitised shop bought ones.Real cucumbers are all shapes and sizes and even the more bitter tasting skin is delicious and edible.
- Home grown onions -not always the easiest veg to grow for me as the slugs round here seem to like them. However, they taste strong and fresh and I always grow as many as I can.
- Raspberries and Gooseberries are so easy and I find that the more I neglect them the more fruit I get.In fact when I got back from holiday last year and picked all that had ripened whilst I was away I had enough to make 7 jars of home made Raspberry jam.
- Potatoes -whilst really not to be counted in your 5/7 per day, I cannot ignore the fact that home grown vegetable potatoes cannot be beaten.I usually get enough to last me until at least Christmas time as long as they are stored well in the dark, dry and in hessian sacks so that they can breathe.
Put your peels and off cuts and waste back into the compost bin ready to feed the soil for next time.Feed the tatty leaves to the rabbits or other pets.Making your own compost adds a new level to your recycling efforts and cuts down on household waste massively whilst saving you money on buying the chemical based fertilisers that you really need to avoid for obvious reasons.
Growing your own need not take a great deal of time and effort- it might take a bit of planning to make sure you get the seeds in at the right time and to keep a succession going throughout the season but even so it does not take a huge amount of effort to even do this.It gives you some exercise, fresh air and helps the kids to understand how important it is to take responsibility for growing your own healthy foods.Combining healthy eating with a healthy lifestyle and plenty of good sleep will help to create a healthy family for years to come.
And, it is hugely rewarding and fun to do.