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Autumn’s fruitful harvest

The seasonal shift to autumn brings with it a new crop of great tasting and delicious fruit to enjoy. From crisp new-season apples and crunchy pears, to the delicate sweetness of persimmons and the tropical tang of passionfruit, autumn fruit is a healthy medley of textures and flavours.

Pick a variety of bright, colourful fruit to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to stay happy and healthy.

Here are tips from 5+ A Day on how to enjoy seasonal fruit this autumn.

Passionfruit

Nutrition: The seeds in passionfruit are a source of dietary fibre which helps to keep our digestive system healthy.

Tips: Ripe when it’s wrinkled, passionfruit can enhance the taste of many desserts: try topping off low-fat yoghurt with the pulp and seeds. If you have a bumper crop of passionfruit, freeze pulp in ice cube trays for later use, or simply freeze passionfruit whole. When you want to use it, bring it out to defrost and use it as you would fresh.

Feijoas

Nutrition: Green fruit have varying amounts of lutein, which also promotes eye health. Fresh feijoas are a good source of vitamin C and provide around 50 percent of our daily requirements. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron from food.

Tips: Native to South America, feijoas are a popular autumn fruit. They can be used in a number of different ways, from chutneys and crumbles to muffins and smoothies – or simply cut open and eaten raw. For a zingy salsa, finely chop fresh feijoa, red onion and coriander, and mix together. Add a drizzle of olive oil and season. Mix and serve with steak, chicken, or fish – or use the salsa as a dip.  The season is short, so get in quick and make the most of this delicious fruit.

Apples

Nutrition: Fresh apples are a good source of vitamin C and contain fibre, which helps to satisfy hunger without the calories – very handy when you are watching your weight!

Tips:  Expect to see a bumper crop of New Zealand-grown apples in store, as an excellent growing season has resulted in fruit that will be bursting with flavour and sweetness. For a tasty autumnal fruit salad, cut up apple, pear, and nashi pear and mix through passionfruit pulp. Or try baked apple slices for a healthy snack:  thinly slice apple, place on a baking tray, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and bake until soft.

Pears

Nutrition: Pears a good source of dietary fibre which can help improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Tips: A quick way to get around 10 percent of your daily vitamin C is to toss a cup of sliced pear into a lunchtime salad. Start the day with an easy pear parfait: place pear chunks in the bottom of a clear glass, add layers of low-fat yoghurt and muesli, followed by more pears. For a one-pan dinner, add halved and cored pears to your next roast chicken dish. Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and drizzle over the pears while cooking.

Persimmons

Nutrition: Persimmons are a source of vitamin A, which is important for good eyesight, and vitamin C, which is necessary for the immune system and cell function.

Tips: New Zealand-grown persimmons can be eaten like an apple. As finger food, persimmons make a healthy addition to a platter. Cut persimmon into wedges and use as an alternative to crackers on a cheese platter. For a frosty treat, freeze ripe or over-ripe persimmons for 8 hours (or up to a month). To serve, lop off the tops with a serrated knife and spoon out the sweet, custard-like frozen fruit.

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About the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust

The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust was formed in 2007 for the benefit of all Kiwis, specifically children. The Trust is committed to increasing the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables for better health. Work is focused on inspiration through education.