The fruits to consume this winter
By Amreen Pathan
- Bramley Apples
- Passion fruits
Fruits any time of the year are fabulous but eating them in the season takes it up a notch.
- Eating fruits in season means, they have reached their peak ripeness, which is when they are most delectable on the tongue. Eating out of season means the fruit has been harvested and picked in advance of ripening to allow time for transport and distribution.
- Eating seasonally also means eating locally. It’s important to understand this because all fruit is seasonal somewhere. Strawberries are still available to purchase in winter because they are seasonal to someone somewhere in another country. So seasonal means eating fruits that have been harvested and picked around the same time you eat them locally. This minimises the time it takes for the fresh fruits to reach your plate from the grounds they are picked from. Not only does this taste better (see above), the nutrient value is also impacted. Being locked in shipping containers ready for transport is clearly disadvantageous. Think of free roaming poultry compared to caged ones.
- Eating seasonally favours your bank balance! Fruits that are being sold out of season means they have been stored and transported from long distances, all of which costs money. Who covers this cost? The consumer of course!
- Eating locally means supporting your local community and small businesses.
- Everything has a carbon footprint. Fruit that has travelled a long way has a larger footprint than that of seasonal local fruit. Eating nutritious fruit shouldn’t have to come with its own environmental health warning!
So what fruits should we eat in December?
Let’s start off with the pomegranate with its royal status of being mentioned in the Noble Qur’an:
“In both of them [gardens] are fruit and palm trees and pomegranates. So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?” (55:68)
Here, Allah Almighty refers to the pomegranate as a fruit of Jannah. It is also mentioned twice more, once as a sign of Allah’s craftsmanship (6:99) but also as a sign to remember Allah’s blessings in the sustenance He gives to mankind (6:141).
The pomegranate looks very royal too with its translucent pearl-like beauty encased in a honeycomb type shell, reflective of its refreshing sweetness.
About the pomegranate, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, “There is no pomegranate unless there is a seed in it from Paradise and I would like not to miss a single seed in it.” (Abu Nu’aim)
What this means is that every pomegranate on this earth contains a single seed from Jannah (Paradise). SubhānAllāh (glory be to Allah).
What are the benefits of this royal fruit?
There are so many narrations about the benefits of this fruit in the tradition of Islam. Pomegranate is said to prevent depression and worry, cleanse the stomach, reduce blood pressure and help with digestion, insomnia, thrush and treating a cough (via the leaves of the fruit). What is more, this is not a comprehensive list by any means.
What about apples and pears?
Well, both are full of antioxidants, fibre-rich, fat-free, packed with potassium (balances blood pressure), contain vitamin C (bolsters the immune system) and contain anti-inflammatory properties (especially helpful for sufferers of asthma).
Looks like ‘five a day keeps the doctor away’ is not far from the truth at all!
A clementine is similar in its advantages for the human body. Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, Clementines help with reducing inflammation and preventing diabetes as well as heart conditions. Beta-carotene (a type of antioxidant) is also found in Clementines, which aids metabolism and promotes cell growth.
And finally, what about cranberries?
I’ll admit, I’ve never had a fresh cranberry before! Dried yes, fresh no. So I’m as intrigued as you are.
According to BBC Good Food, cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections, support heart health, protects against gastric ulcers and stomach cancer and like its fruit cousins, is rich in antioxidant compounds.
By this point readers, I can safely say it doesn’t take a genius to realise: eat your fruits and eat them fresh!
And what fruit should we eat in January?
As well as apples, Clementines, pears and pomegranate, passion fruit is a January fruit.
This little fruit is somewhat strange to the eye – a little prickly, wrinkled and egg-like in shape – but its benefits are numerous.
Packed with antioxidants, the passion fruit is considered to be one of the healthiest fruits that promote foetus growth and development.
As well as being rich in vitamins C and A, passion fruit is regularly prescribed for insomniacs because of the natural sedatives it contains.
Digestive issues are so rife today and passion fruit can really help. Because of its high dietary fibre content, it regulates the digestive system and prevents constipation.
Sweet and tart, soft and crunchy; its taste and texture shouldn’t go unnoticed either! Eat it dolloped on yoghurt or make a passion fruit smoothie. Though simply scooping it from its shell and straight into the mouth negates no taste factor for me.
What fruits do you like to eat according to the time of the year? Share your favourites below – I’d love to know!
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