Healthy highlights for June – cherries and mushrooms

Cherries JuneCherries – a delicious treat, packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals – are coming into season. Last year, as well as ‘just’ eating them, I tried stoning and halving them for a fruit salad. These stoned and halved cherries are also a great addition to a juice, taking advantage of the berries that are also abundant going into the summer months (written by Dr Susan Aldridge, HS guest blogger, freelance writer and editor based in London, with an interest in medicine, health, science and food/nutrition.

My other healthy food choice for this month, continuing the immunity boosting theme, is mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms are often overlooked as a healthy choice – maybe because they’re not colourful and are available year-round. But they are a good source of minerals and soluble fibre and contain glutamic acid, which gives them a unique rich and savoury taste. Most interesting, though, is that a research analysis carried out in 2016 showed that the form of vitamin D in mushrooms exposed to light can improve people’s vitamin D status, potentially improving immunity.

Cherry & Berry juice

This is a half-and-half juice – with the freshly squeezed ingredient, topped up with a high-quality pre-prepared juice. A handy short cut if you’re juicing for two and don’t want to wash and refill your juicer.

Serves two
400g strawberries, hulled
400g raspberries
Cherries, stoned and halved (as many as you have patience for – this is a fiddly job!)
Two inches turmeric root, peeled and chopped
Two inches ginger root, peeled and chopped

Fresh juice for top up (suggestions: pomegranate, grapefruit, blood orange)
Juice the cherries, berries, turmeric and ginger and top up with your pre-prepared juice from the fridge.
Mushroom topping

Added to a pasta or rice dish, or used as an extra vegetable, this mushroom topping adds extra flavour, texture…and vitamin D, as well as including some extra garlic.

Serves two
Three garlic cloves
200g sliced mushrooms (any variety/mixture)
Olive oil/butter
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fry the mushrooms in a mixture of butter and olive oil with the garlic till soft. Top with parsley.

Mushroom salad

Mushrooms lend themselves to marinating in a mixture of good-quality salad oil and balsamic vinegar with finely chopped garlic. This salad is a nice mix of textures, flavours and colours – an ideal summery accompaniment to fish or picnic dips.

Serves two
200g mushrooms, marinated as above for several hours
Radishes, finely sliced
Baby gem lettuce leaves
Two sliced avocados
Fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley), finely chopped

Mix all ingredients so everything is coated in marinade mix. Top with chopped herbs.

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