Most of our favourite fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed year-round but they are only really at their best in season.
With so much choice it can be hard to work out when to eat what. For instance, did you know that June is the perfect time to enjoy peas, or that you need to wait until September for the finest figs?
To mark Fruity Friday (May 25), the World Cancer Research Fund's (WCRF) annual awareness raising event, we have produced a handy fruit and vegetable calendar to help you get the most from your greens. Many people don¹t realise that leading a healthy lifestyle is the second most effective way to reduce your risk of cancer, after not smoking.
Becky Day, WCRF¹s nutritionist, said: ³Modern farming techniques and the availability of foreign grown products means you can get just about any fruit or vegetable all year round. Whilst many people find this convenient, they don¹t realise there is a big difference between produced in season foods.²
Seasonal plants are naturally stronger and more resistant to disease than those grown out of season in artificial conditions with morefertilisers. The result is better quality fruit and vegetables that pack a bigger nutritional punch, so your five a day are worth a lot more to your body.
Becky continued: ³Fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutrients as soon as they are picked. Out of season fruits and vegetables may have been harvested six or more weeks before you buy it, so many of the nutrients will be long gone. Buying in season fruit and vegetables means you get the most from your food.
³Not only that, in season foods are less expensive, so your budget will benefit too.²
Fruity Friday is part of Cancer Prevention Week, which runs from 21 to 27 May 2007 and aims to raise awareness that cancer is a largely preventable disease.
Few people realise that up to 40 per cent of cancers, including many cases of bowel, breast and stomach cancer, could be prevented if only we thought more about the food choices we make and included a little more exercise into our daily routines.
Pears, carrots, turnips, leaks, squash, parsnips, shallots and celeriac.
Cabbage, chicory, leaks, squash, parsnips, shallots and celeriac.
Rhubarb, radishes, carrots, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and beetroot.
Spinach, strawberries, mushrooms, wild garlic, radishes, rhubarb, carrots, kale and watercress.
Asparagus, cherries, cauliflower, new potatoes, broad beans, rhubarb and new carrots.
Gooseberries, tayberries, elderflowers, courgettes, broad beans, lettuce, strawberries, peppers, asparagus, redcurrants, aubergines, peas and cherries.
Blueberries, aubergine, fennel, tomatoes, strawberries, watercress, loganberries, raspberries and cauliflower.
Greengages, peas, fennel, aubergines, peppers, courgettes, strawberries and sweetcorn.
Damsons, plums, blackberries, apples, sweetcorn, cucumber, spinach, figs and onion.
Elderberries, figs, watercress, squash, beetroot, mushrooms, courgettes, marrow, apples, kale and pumpkin.
Parsnips, cranberries, beetroot, swede, cabbage, potatoes, pumpkin, quinces, pears and leeks.
Pomegranate, celery, red cabbage, swede, celeriac, turnips, sprouts, pumpkin, beetroot, parsnips and pears.