Thursday, 2 March 2017

March 2013: vitamins

- and what do they do?

Unless you watch too many adverts, look at the wrong shelves of the supermarket, or have had unhealthy food habits all your life, in general your body will tell you what your needs are. Therefore you must not take the following list too seriously: if like president Bush, you hate broccoli, don't eat it. There may be another food with those vitamins which agrees with you more, or you may not need any of it.
However, it may be a good idea just to test a few foods on the list, and if you like them, remember: it's better than pills! If only because if you take a supplement it's easy to overdo it - which gets you into a different kind of trouble. If you get your nutrients from food, that is unlikely.

vitamin A/β-carotene: (vision; immune/reproductive system) liver, paprika/pepper/chilli/cayenne; carrots, pumpkin, any green/red leafy veg esp. kale.
vitamin B6: (blood sugar, immune system, skin) meat, fish, wholegrain cereal, spinach/chard, kale, peas, beans, sunflower seeds, nuts, eggs, potatoes in skin, green/red pepper, garlic, cauli, turnip greens, broccoli.
vitamin B12: (helps against heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer's, cancer, aging) meat esp. liver, oily fish, shellfish, raw egg yolk.
vitamin C: (fights colds, boosts immune system, tissues) Brussels' sprouts, strawberries, broccoli, kale, green pepper, tomatoes.
vitamin D: (a.o. bones, teeth) sunlight, sardines, flatfish, whole milk, whole cereal, pork (ribs, not ham), eggs, mushrooms (depends), beef liver, esp. goats' cheese, mackerel, shrimps, herring, cod liver oil.
vitamin E: (skin, hair, fights disease) whole cereals, sunflowerseeds/oil, hazelnuts, turnip/mustard greens, chard, tomatoes, peanut butter, wheatgerm, chard, olive oil; parsley, tomato, blueberries. Roe, mackerel, sardines, asparagus, egg, nuts, seeds.
vitamin K: (fast healing, strong bones) dark leafy greens; parsley; prunes, spring onions. Beware: if you are on warfarin (coumadin) it's important to keep your vitamin K intake consistent from day to day [1].

Lists of symptoms of various deficiencies can be found at

broad beans, early carrots, leeks, brussels, swede, celery, parsnips, maincrop peas, radish, spinach beet (better value than proper spinach, and nicer), chard, turnip, lettuce, early/summer cabbage, spring onions, early cauli, bulb onions, beet.
Plant: potatoes, onion sets, shallots, asparagus.
And if you are really impatient for new greens, try growing pea shoots. [2]

Do you grow in containers? See for the most prolific crops and many other tips.
If you have a parsnip leftover in the ground, or in store, replant it near your veg plot and let it bolt and flower. The flowers are great feeding stations for predators and parasites.

Veg: sprouting broccoli, kale, cauli, squash, spring greens, radishes, rhubarb, leeks, carrots, spring onions, salad leaves, parsnips, cabbage, chicory, sorrel, swede, beet, brussels, rocket, turnips, celeriac,  Jerusalem artichokes, watercress.
Fish: dab, red gurnard, grey mullet, mussels, oysters, clams, mackerel, herring, megrim, scallops.
Meatrabbit, turkey, wood pigeon, beef, mutton, pork, venison.

If you still have a few beets in your shed - or fancy buying raw ones from the shop, here are some nice recipes, plus how to cook them:


1 acorn or butternut squash ab. 1.2kg, 250g purple sprouting, 200g-400g feta cheese, 4 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds, good olive oil, chilli powder, 1 tsp cumin seeds, sea salt, pepper.
Heat oven to 200°C. Peel and cut squash into large chunks: toss in oil, chilli, cumin, salt and pepper. Transfer to tin, put in oven for 35-45 mins, turn after 20 mins, until lightly golden and cooked. Meanwhile, cut broccoli and blanch in salted boiling water for 4 mins. Once cooked, toss with squash and pumpkin seeds. Serve with some extra oil and cheese crumbled over the top.

If all you have in the way of greens is sprouting kale-tops, make kalesprout-mash.
500g potatoes, 175g cut-up kalesprouts, salt, spices as liked. Boil some water, add chopped potatoes, finely cut kalesprouts, salt, pepper. Cook till all is done, drain, add some milk and plenty of butter. Let  heat through, mash. With sausages (fried with onions) or grated cheese.
Kalesprouts are also nice sauteed with onion.  

650g celeriac, 150ml walnut halves, 120ml mayonnaise, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, lemon juice, 2 tblsp chopped (flatleaf) parsley, 2 tblsp minced shallot, 1 tblsp fresh chopped tarragon, 1 julienned green apple, salt, pepper.

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, parsley, tarragon and shallot. Cut off one side of the celeriac to create a stable flat working surface and remove all brown knobby parts. Rougly grate celeriac and apple, mix with mayonnaise, adjust seasoning. Toast walnuts until fragrant and slightly browned, put on top.

COMFORTING WINTER-MASH for one (or more - just multiply)
100g cleaned leeks (use as much of the green as seems appetizing), 50-100g squash, 200g potatoes, 50g crumbled cheese, garlic clove, butter, (red) pepper, seasalt.  
Chop potatoes quite small, cut leeks and squash. Cook in salted water till ready. In the meanwhile, chop and fry garlic separately. Mash veg, add garlic and cheese, season, done!

450g broccoli, oil, soy sauce/tamari, 1 1/2 tblsp sesame seeds, 1 clove garlic.
Dry-roast sesame seeds. Cook broccoli for 3 mins. Saute garlic for 1 min., add drained broccoli. Keep stirring for 2-3 mins. Add soy and sesame, serve.

1/2 small pumpkin, olive oil.
Preheat oven to 150ºC. Cut pumpkin into 2-3 chunks, peel and seed each chunk and cut into slices about 2 mm thick. Dry the slices. Place in single layer on two lined baking trays. Brush with oil and sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt. Let sit for 5 mins before placing in the oven. Bake for 25 mins, or until crisp and golden. Remove from oven to cool so they'll crisp up. The crisps will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

100g rocket, 75g soft goat's cheese, 1 diced onion, olive oil, 1 diced potato, 800 ml water.
Fry onion gently in olive oil until it softens, add potato and water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potato is soft. Season, but go easy on the salt, because the cheese will add plenty. Add chopped rocket, cook for 2 mins. Whizz in a blender. Pour into bowls and add a slice of goat's cheese to each.

200g potatoes, 80g parsnip, 80g swede, 4 tblsp cream cheese, small onion, 1/4 tblsp salt, 3 tblsp butter, pepper.  
Chop potatoes, parsnips, swede, and onion and boil in salted water. Simmer until tender. Drain, season, add cream cheese, butter, and pepper. Mash. Excellent with broccoli or kale.

KALE OMELETTE, serves 2 hungry people.
350g diced waxy potatoes, 1tbsp olive oil, 1sliced onion, 75g chopped kale, 6 eggs, 75ml milk, (pine nuts).
Boil potatoes for 8-10 mins, drain. Fry onion and kale for 7-8 mins. Add potatoes. Mix eggs, milk and seasoning. Pour into pan and cook gently, covered for 8 mins. You can finish it under a grill if you like. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and serve hot or cold with a lot of salad.

[2] See and For what to do with them, see

Next month: minerals.