The glorious glut: why August is the month for eating well

August is upon us, and whether you’re shopping at our local farmer’s market, tending to your veg patch or picking your way along the hedgerows, you’ll know this is the month of the food glut. Taking advantage of the bounty of produce on our doorstep means we can save ourselves a few trips to the supermarket, cook for a crowd, and simply enjoy eating well. And your smile will thank you, too! Fresh fruits and vegetables are good news for teeth and gums – so we’ve gathered a selection of suggestions for getting through the glut.

Fruit and berries
For the health of your teeth and gums, August’s ripe blackberries and tree fruits are best eaten fresh – you won’t find a recipe for plum jam here! But with barbecue season still in full swing (even if under a wet gazebo), you can use the glut of fruits to your advantage and still stay healthy. Try swapping those tempting fizzy drinks for a cool fruit infusion – simply steep your fruit in water with some fresh herbs or spices for 2-4 hours. Interesting combos could include pear mixed with a vanilla pod, a cinnamon stick and some fresh sliced ginger; or blackberries with mint or rosemary. Steer clear of citrus infusions, though – they’ll be much higher in enamel-damaging acid.

Easy-to-grow courgettes make for excellent side dishes and substantial salads. Invest in a mandolin so you can slice your courgettes thinly and evenly, and either eat them raw (“carpaccio”) in a minty salad, or chargrilled. Go Greek by incorporating feta or natural yoghurt; Asian-style, with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds; or try a classic prawn linguine, swapping some (or all) of the pasta with courgette shavings or spirals. Prefer your courgettes cooked? Try this simple tortilla - a perfect paring of summer flavours.

Runner beans
Banish memories of soggy, stringy runners accompanying your meat-and-two-veg; prepared properly, runner beans can be modern and moreish. Avoid the stringy-ness with a runner-bean slicer – a cheap piece of kit that won’t take up space in your kitchen drawer. To get the best out of your runners, toss them with strong flavours and textures – chorizo (in a tomatoey stew), garlicky breadcrumbs, or a classic mustard or shallot butter dressing. Alternatively, try this fresh recipe, which includes calcium-rich cheese and crunchy nuts.

Peppers and aubergines
Farmer’s markets are groaning under the weight of sun-ripened veg in August, so bag yourself a bargain this month. Roasted peppers and aubergines are lovely year-round, but in August they are best chargrilled – so make them the focus of a fantastic barbecue dish, stick them under your oven grill, or use a griddle pan. We love Jamie Oliver’s take, which brings teeth-friendly cheese, fresh herbs and pulses into play.

Google ‘tomato recipes’ and you get around 370 million results – but in August, pure and simple should be your mantra; the flavour alone is enough. Start with a classic tomato salad – don’t let them anywhere near a fridge; simply season, drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with fresh basil or oregano. Jazz it up with olives, capers and cheese. For a serious glut, reduce the volume of your tomatoes by slow-baking them in the oven until they reach the texture you want – ‘sun-blush’ or ‘sun-dried’; jar them in oil for future use, or gifts.

Don’t forget, if you need help choosing the right foods to keep your smile healthy, book in with the hygienist at Rhiwbina Dental, who is qualified to offer nutritional advice. Happy eating this August!