The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Health & Fitness

Cold in Cairo: 7 Fruits & Vegetables You Need to Eat More Of This Winter

Cold in Cairo: 7 Fruits & Vegetables You Need to Eat More Of This Winter
written by
Hend Salah

Cairenes love to eat – fact. But many of us overlook the benefits of eating fresh produce in its season. It’s widely agreed by nutritionists that eating local seasonal foods can have multiple benefits as they’re fresh and at the peak of their power, so to speak, and generally cheaper around supermarkets and grocery stores in the capital. From oranges to beetroots, here’s a list of seven winter must-haves and how you can use them in your meals.  

1- Oranges:

As the number one fruit for beating that inevitable nasty cold, the almighty orange had to be at the top of our list. Rich in vitamins A and C, potassium and soluble fibre, oranges protect the body against viral infections, lowers the risk of kidney stones, as well cholesterol, and is said to fight cancer.

The benefits of oranges are most effectively enjoyed in the form of the orange itself or a tall glass of fresh, pure orange juice, of course, but there are plenty of simple ways to involve it in meals. You can use the pure juice of orange with parsley, honey, Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar to make a tasty orange vinaigrette dressing for your salad, for example, or use it to make a spicy, delicious bowl of orange and carrot soup.

2- Pumpkins:

There is much more to the noble pumpkins than being a Halloween prop. Boasting vitamins A, C and E, doctors recommend pumpkins for being rich in fibre and nutrients, while it is even believed to contribute to better sleep at night. Pumpkin as an ingredient isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the cooking possibilities are near endless; pumpkin soup is a classic, of course, but you can also try your hand at some spiced pumpkin biscuits, a potato-pumpkin mash, or even a pumpkin cinnamon pie.

3- Beetroots:

Rich in magnesium, copper, iron and phosphorus, beetroots have a wide range of health benefits and are a perfect source of antioxidants, which help in purifying blood and the liver. While only occasionally popping up in Egyptian cuisine in savoury dishes, the natural sweetness of beetroot lend it to desserts, too, or as a nice contrast in savoury dishes. Add it to a salad is an easy way to harness its benefits, but some of the more committed health conscious Cairenes like to put it into their morning shakes – sounds strange, but it makes sense when you think about it.

4- Lentils:

While it may be around all year long, lentil is yet one of winter’s most popular pulses. And while it's not technically a vegetable, it had to be on this list. Low in calories, rich in iron, protein and minerals, lentils are a perfect winter legume and can warm you up in the coldest of nights. One of the reasons it’s in use all year long is that it’s a versatile ingredients that has many uses. With some potatoes, spices, carrots and parsley, you can use lentil to make the perfect lentil curry dish, a perfect lentil stew or some simple, but delicious, lentil soup.   

5- Persimmons:

Also known as the kaki fruit – or the much catchier kaka, here in Egypt – this exotic fruit is packed with vitamins A, C, E and B6. They are rich in anti-cancer agents as well as anti-aging properties and they’re not as rare as one might think in Cairo. It may look like some kind of mutated tomato, but persimmons are delicious when eaten fresh, dried, raw or cooked. One of the more creative uses of the fruit is to use it in a sorbet – which is delicious – but you’ll also readily find them in trail mixes.

6- Tangerines:

First of all, we all need to agree that, like clementines and mandarins, tangerines are not just ‘small oranges’. Yes, they’re both of the same lineage, but they differ in taste and nutritional properties. Like oranges, tangerines are also a great source of vitamin C and can help you fight the cold. But they’re also known for fighting arthritis and skin diseases. Tangerines are available throughout winter and you can use them to make a vinaigrette dressing for your salad or to make a nice, tangy tangerine pudding.  

7- Bananas:

Another fruit that is available all year long, but could be your new favourite food this winter, bananas are available all year long and have plenty of nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 amongst others. Bananas help with digestion, rid the body of toxins, release serotonin – a mood booster’s neurotransmitter– and can help protect your body against diabetes, kidney cancer and, many believe, depression, too. In terms of using it in conjuction with other foods, bananas are among the most versatile foods; smoothies, with cereal, with yoghurt, with pancakes or, our personal favourite, banana cake.