Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bring some colour to your cheeks

Why should we eat orange food in autumn? Because it’s seasonal and full of immune-building antioxidants, says chef Allegra McEvedy

Why are tomatoes red and what does that redness do for you? Why is a pink grapefruit better for you than a yellow one? Are black grapes really more nutritious than red ones? (Yes.) And what is it that makes pumpkins so vibrantly orange? For most of us, when we sit down to a plate of food our first impressions come from appearance and smell, long before flavour comes into play. The decision about whether we like what we see is determined by several factors, such as texture and complexity of appearance, but far and away the most important is colour.
There are a lot of people in the food-supply business who realised this a long time ago and, unfortunately, they have been trying to dupe us subtly ever since with an assortment of devices such as chemical preservative sprays and even genetic modification. Yet it isn’t just the food suppliers who are at fault. Joe Public has been lazy, choosing to go for the easy option: “Wouldn’t a summer berry pavlova be delicious after the Christmas turkey!” We rarely stop to work out that those strawberries have come a minimum of 4,000 miles and have been squirted with all sorts of funniness to keep them in pristine condition for a scary amount of time.

The tragedy is that strawberries in mid- winter don’t do any kind of justice to their seasonal counterpart when it comes to flavour, nor for that matter do they do your body much good. A strawberry that has been flown in from Morocco, if you’re lucky, or South Africa, if you’re not, will contain less than 10 per cent of the iron, vitamin C and immune-building antioxidants than one bought locally in summer.

Source - Times

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