If you love summer (like us), then the onset of Autumn might make you a tiny little bit sad inside. It’s ok, we understand, saying goodbye to sunshine and BBQs can be depressing. And let’s not even mention the looming cold weather, or super-short days.
But before we start sobbing over the iPad, and sink into a cookie-munching sadness (save that for the seriously dark days in Feb), let’s remind ourselves of all the fun stuff that Autumn brings…
- Bonfire Night – fireworks, bonfires, sparklers, and toasting marshmallows. Basically naked flames and sugar, what’s not to love?
- Cookable fruit – there’s something about autumn fruit that brings out the crumble maker in us. Apple and blackberry, rhubarb, or plum crumble are favourites of ours. So we’re currently experimenting with how to transform these tasty desserts into their smoothie equivalents. Look out for some recipes soon, or send us your own crumble inspired ideas…
- Soup – oh soup, how we’ve missed you. Yes we know there are lots of gazpacho-esque cold soup recipes that we could have experimented with over the summer, but there’s nothing like a steaming bowl of homemade chunky soup, complete with crusty bread.
Ok Autumn, we take it all back. You’re our new favourite season (sorry summer). There’s just too much outdoorsy, fruity, festival-related fun to be had! And definitely a lot of delicious, seasonal smoothies to experiment with.
So let’s kick off autumn by looking at some seasonal ingredients… Whether you’re a farmers market fan, or supermarket shopper, there’s a tonne of tasty, fresh produce, that’s at its seasonal best over the next few months.
Wander the stalls or aisles, and you’ll see pumpkin, beetroot, blackberries and plums all fresh out of the fields and orchards. Not to mention apples, pears and spinach, which we’re accustomed to seeing all year, but are actually at their best during autumn.
Needless to say we’ve already bought several bagfuls and have set about creating some simple, delicious recipes to make the most of the new season. But this got us thinking, exactly what do these tasty ingredients do for our health? After all pumpkin isn’t something that springs to mind as a health food. So we did some nutritional research, and thought you might be interested in some of the health benefits too…
A study funded by the British Heart Foundation found that beetroot juice lowers blood pressure and may help fight heart disease. It’s also great for detox smoothies since it contains nitrates which increase blood flow, helping your body to expel toxins faster.
There are yellow, white and even striped varieties available, but the classic purple contains the most anti-oxidants and is also easiest to find as it’s stocked in most supermarkets. Just be sure to rinse your chopping board immediately after slicing it, to avoid purple stains. And since they’re pretty dense, you’ll probably need a powerful blender to get a super-silky smoothie.
Beetroot & Berry Smoothie
- 1 small beetroot (approx 5cm or 2” in diameter)
- 40g (1½ oz) mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
- 120ml (½ cup) orange juice or water
Blitz the beetroot with liquid, then add the berries once smooth.
With so many tasty varieties, we could write a complete article just about apples. Cox, Braeburns, and Pink Lady apples are all super sweet, so make ideal smoothie companions to savoury veg. The sharper green varieties like Golden Delicious or Granny Smith are great with sweet fruits like banana and pineapple.
Apples are packed full of anti-oxidants, which combat disease at a cellular level. They protect against damage caused by modern day attackers, like pollution and cancer. An apple provides 17% of your daily dietary fibre needs, which is not only good for digestion, but according to the NHS can help prevent certain diseases from developing, and manage bad cholesterol.
Try one of our Apple-based detox smoothie recipes, or blend with berries and ice for an Indian Summer cooler.
Pumpkin is surprisingly well-balanced from a nutritional perspective. It provides a small amount of most key vitamins and minerals, but is particularly high in vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.
Just 50g (2 oz) of pumpkin contains the majority of your daily vitamin A requirements (75%), which is important for healthy eyes, skin and hair. Potassium can help restore electrolyte balance after a workout (even more than banana), and with only 55 calories per 50g, it won’t undo all our hard work.
Post-Workout Pumpkin Smoothie
- 50g (2 oz) pumpkin
- 1 individual pot of dairy-free vanilla yogurt (125g or ½ cup)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Blend the leftovers from your lantern with some vegan yogurt and cinnamon for a filling post-workout snack.
Plums are a very good source of vitamin C, ideally timed to protect against the coming cold and flu season. They also aid the absorption of iron, which is why we’ve paired them with spinach in this delicious recipe.
Damsons can be a little tart, so opt for Blackamber, Friar or Sugar plums, and make sure their fully ripe to get the sweetest flavour. Prunes (aka dried plums) make great smoothies addition all year round, aiding digestion whilst also adding extra sweetness.
Spicy Plum & Strawberry Smoothie
- 3 plums
- 10 strawberries
- ½ apple
- ½ cm fresh ginger
- 120ml (½ cup) water
Remove the stones from the plums and core from the apple, blend and serve.
Blackberries are low in calories, carbohydrates and have no fat, so if you’re following a low calorie or low carb diet these are worth including. They’re packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin C and fibre.
You can find different varieties growing on hedgerows across Northern Europe, America, Canada and China. So take advantage by picking your own to save a bit of cash, and get the freshest produce too.
Autumn Blackberry Smoothie
- 10-15 blackberries
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
Remove the cores from the apple and pear, then blend everything together, and serve over ice.
Seasonal Smoothie Ingredients Cheat Sheet
For those of you who are keen to eat more seasonally, we’ve created a handy poster of seasonal smoothie ingredients. Stick it on your fridge or inside a kitchen cupboard door – anywhere you can easily reference it when making your shopping list, or ordering groceries online. You can download it here for free…
We really hope you find all the info useful and enjoy experimenting with the smoothie recipes. Now it’s time to transform the words on a screen, into real life actions. If you’re not sure where to start, then why not try an Autumnal fruit or veg that you wouldn’t usually, next time you go shopping? Beetroot or blackberries, pumpkin or pears, it really doesn’t matter what it is, just mix things up and try something new. Even if you end up not liking it, someone in your house will.
Let us know how you get on via our Facebook page, we’d love to know what you try!