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Roots and leaves

It’s almost winter, when we all want to snuggle on the sofa and feast on comforting root veg (buttery mash, anyone?)

Leafy greens are also a must, as they boost immune systems and ward off sniffles. Here are our fave roots and leaves for this season.

Roots

BeetrootThe vibrant colour of beetroot is caused by natural yellow and purple pigments in the vegetable. These pigments are phytochemicals and antioxidants which actually help protect us from free radicals. Beetroots also help you produce carnitine, a nutrient that helps the body convert fat into energy.

CarrotIt’s easy to grow your own carrots – you just need a sunny spot and soft soil. Mix carrot seeds with sand, sprinkle on soil, press down into earth and gently water. If you hydrate them every day, your carrots will start to harvest in as little as four weeks and you might be munching on them within 11!

TurnipFor a yummy side dish, boil and then puree turnips with sour cream, butter and freshly grated ginger. This is great served with a rare fillet steak or a roasted game bird such as quail.

PotatoPotatoes were first discovered in Peru or Bolivia and, although there are now about 4,000 varieties of the spud, most of these are found in the Andes alone. The potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop after rice, wheat and maize. Try roasting, chipping or slicing thinly into boulangere.

Leaves

SilverbeetSilverbeet is one of the ultimate superfoods! It’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in fibre, magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin A, making it ideal for people trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

SpinachIf you’re looking for something different to sprinkle on your pizza, try adding spinach leaves, spicy chorizo and baby artichoke to a tomato and mozzarella base. Deliciozo!

CabbageEven though the radical Cabbage Soup Diet first trendy in the 1980s was widely trashed by medical professionals, cabbage itself has remained popular all over the world. In Eastern Europe, it’s still rolled into dolma, baked in pudding ‘kugel’ and fermented to create German side-dish sauerkraut.

LettuceBelieve it or not, Americans eat about 30lbs of lettuce every year! That’s about five times more than what they ate in the early 1900s. It’s therefore not surprising to hear that lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable in the US.