On the Kitchen Front
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On the Kitchen Front

An unexpected discovery was made at the arch last week. One of our staff members borrowed a book from a friend, and whilst flipping through the pages, a discoloured, old piece of newspaper fell out. Thinking it was a clipping from the not so distant past when people did things like clipped newspapers, she was startled to read it was a Ministry of Food publication from World War II! 

This delightful messenger from the past is titled Food Facts Number 29 and features the fork-touting mascot Potato Pete. "Potatoes help to protect you from illness. Potatoes give you warmth and energy. Potatoes are cheap and home-produced," Pete urges readers. He goes on to share four recipes for serving potatoes morning, noon or night and a jolly poem about all the spud's earthy goodness. Who would have imagined this message of locally grown, nutritious produce could still resonate with Londoners decades later?

Thankfully, we are not in a time of rationing or making do, but the spirit of the kitchen front can still live on. Do you know the benefits of each of the UK-grown veggies in your weekly bag? Here is a look at what they have to offer:

Carrots - a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health
Cauliflower - naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins, provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer, also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory
Onions - contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels, all of which may lower heart disease risk, potent anti-inflammatory properties may also help reduce high blood pressure and protect against blood clots
Pak Choi - contains vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene, which have powerful antioxidant properties that help protect cells against damage by free radicals. Unlike most other veg, also contains the mineral selenium
Red Russian Kale - an excellent source of vitamin C, it provides iron, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber
Swede - a good source of vitamin C, a source of dietary fibre, niacin, thiamin and vitamin B6 and contains a dietary significant amount of potassium
White Mushrooms - contain B vitamins, the powerful antioxidant selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues. One of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D
Beetroot - great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C, also associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance
Parsley - rich in many vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and bone health, and vitamins A and C
Savoy Cabbage - good source of protein, thiamin, calcium, phosphorus and copper, very good source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, magnesium, potassium and manganese
Flower Sprouts - rich source of nutrients, particularly vitamin K, C, folate, fibre and carotenoids. They contain double the amount of vitamin B6 and twice the amount of vitamin C than their parent, Brussels Sprouts
Mustard Leaf - packed with energy-boosting, heart-healthy, disease-fighting nutrients, a delicious source of calcium, magnesium, folic acid and vitamin K, important for bone health
Rosemary - hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties, and was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth
Apples - manganese, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6. High in fiber and water, which keeps you full. To get the most out of apples, leave the skin on — it contains half of the fiber and many of the polyphenols

Potato Pete and his advice may be 75-years old, but his words hold true for today's world:
"Experiment with your meals as much as you can. It gives variety and it does you good."