For the summer heat, fresh and nutritious dishes!

Amèlia Sarroca, Research Support Technician

Summer is coming! Do you want to spend hours on the street? Long days? Vacation?

We change the routine although with spring we have already started to go out, make copious weekend meals… But with the heat, our body goes slower, so the best thing is to make lighter meals with a high water content, in order to balance the losses we have from the heat.

It is the time of the paradise of fruits, tomatoes… We can make cold soups with mint, watermelon, melon emulsified with virgin olive oil… With the heat, fruits spoil faster, but we have many ways to prevent waste. Have you not eaten at home for two days because you have unforeseen plans? You can make a ‘gazpacho’ by mixing the ripe tomatoes with peaches, you can save the cucumber, or leave it to provide B vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and magnesium (with skin and seeds), but above all avoid garlic (well, it is a risky combination with fruit).

Do you have apricots but they have broken down a bit? Cut them in half, sauté them with a little oil and fill the bone hole with a mixture of mato and goat cheese, a great dish! Have you tried making a Montserrat tomato stuffed with figs with a touch of Iberian ham that gives it a good salty-sweet contrast?

The variety of Solanaceous vegetables (aubergine, peppers, tomatoes) that summer provides us, allows us to take advantage of these products at their optimum point of maturity and flavor. If you have to grill outside, try not abusing meat, there are other options: grilled zucchini are a delight, aubergines to make a mutabal with cumin, sesame paste… All these vegetables provide a large amount of antioxidants that are responsible for the brightly colored pigments that characterize them and protect our body.

Cherries and plums are rich in anthocyanins, but also higher in sugar than peach, nectarine, watermelon… therefore, for the beach, better to bring fruits richer in water like these, or if not melon.

The best way to consume it?

Fresh raw fruits and vegetables at noon, or with light cooking, grilled, or ‘escalivados’, at night. Avoid raw products at night to avoid heavy digestions, although if you eat soon and still take advantage of the light that accompanies us until ten o’clock at night, the raw will be digested.

Have you tried the raw zucchini? Well, it’s another delight! Cut with mandolin, fine, in carpaccio seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of vinegar. But the key to everything is that they are proximity, so you make sure that they have the maximum number of nutrients, that have not been lost by dehydration and stress in refrigeration. If you have stores near home, buy every two days if you can, and look at the labels! Proximity is Catalonia, not packed in Catalonia. You will not only notice it in the taste, but you will favor the relationships of small farmers, so abundant in the agriculture of our region.

Reappearance of traditional varieties

Specifically, with regard to tomatoes, I invite you to try the traditional varieties that have been recovered, currently they are more linked to short marketing chains and small productions and have been recovered around the territory. You can consult the catalog of the varieties of orchard registered within the local varieties of agricultural interest here. These had been lost as a result of food globalization (1980-2000), due to the disappearance of a model of traditional farming and a sensory culture typical of generations that maintain a link with certain varieties linked to the terrain.

Traditional varieties are those that have derived from natural selection and artifice and other forces that over the years give rise to multiple varieties adapted to soil conditions, microclimate and local uses. Processes that generate a great diversity of types with genetic characteristics of shape, color, plant structure and maturation.

Although modern varieties (obtained by induced genetic modifications) have been a great source of research for years and a great diversification of varieties adapted to pests and climatic and stress conditions has been experienced, traditional varieties include a greater diversity of forms, colors and have a more complete organoleptic and nutritional profile. Here you can read the study of the Miquel Agustí Foundation of 13 recovered tomato varieties.

Do we pay a fair price for all these products?

The answer is yes, growing fruit and vegetables is very expensive, the work of the farmers requires many hours and effort. They suffer unforeseen events such as slurries that can spoil fruits and vegetables and come to suppose losses of up to 60%. Look for short marketing chains, farmers markets, and you will get a product of unbeatable flavor at a very competitive price, in addition to being able to feel good to give a value to the hard work of those who get up early in summer to not suffer the heat and send us products harvested of the day. From the bush, to the table!

We leave you a tool to know the season of fruits and vegetables, and thus you will consume the food in its maximum splendor of nutrients, while guaranteeing a fairer price for the farmer. You will prevent food losses and waste resulting from the excess supply of product from outside, and your senses will thank you.

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