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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 131

Date:- 26 December 2003

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"WE should be aiming to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day, but in the UK most of us only manage three." says the Food Standards Agency. 

FSA nutritionist, Sam Church advised:- "Although most root veg are available all year round, they really come into their own in the winter. Packed full of vitamins and
minerals, root vegetables offer a tasty addition to your diet.

Experimenting with vegetables that you might not normally try can make reaching your five portions a day that little bit easier.

You can make some lovely, hearty warming soups, stews and casseroles and everybody enjoys a few root vegetables with their roast meats on Sunday. Root vegetables are easy to find as-well, there's usually a good selection at supermarkets, street stalls, grocery stores and farmers markets.


Carrots are the most popular vegetable in the country, with 75% people saying that they buy fresh carrots regularly (Mintel, Market Intelligence, May 2001). If you were told as a child that eating carrots would help you see in the dark, this isn't entirely an old wives' tale. Carrots are a good source of beta carotene, which our bodies turn into vitamin A, and vitamin A is important for night vision.

Carrots can be boiled, baked, fried, mashed, juiced, grated into salads or made into puddings, cakes, pies, croquettes, or souffles. They're also delicious eaten raw, but cooking helps to break down the tough membranes of the plant, which makes some of the nutrients easier for our bodies to absorb.


Parsnips are delicious either roasted, boiled or mashed with a pinch of nutmeg. When you're buying parsnips, make sure they're smooth and firm. Avoid the soft or shrivelled ones, because they can be tough and stringy.

Swedes and Turnips

Swedes and turnips are both members of the Brasscia family and are closely related to each other in fact their names are often confused.

Turnips have a subtle peppery flavour and a purple or green creamy white skin. Baby turnips have particularly tender flesh and a sweetish, delicate flavour. Choose turnips that have smooth skins and feel heavy for their size. Turnips should be peeled and washed, and are served raw or cooked. They can be made into soup, mashed or pureed.

Swedes are a globular root, yellow and purple in colour with yellow flesh. If possible choose one with a smooth and unblemished skins. They will need to be peeled and cut in to pieces before cooking. They are particularly good when teamed with other root vegetables in soups, stews and casseroles, or delicious mashed.


Celeriac is a type of celery with a knobbly root that looks a bit like a turnip. It tastes similar to celery and goes well with fish and meat. Try boiling and mashing celeriac and mixing it with mashed potato. You can also eat celeriac raw, but remember to peel it first because the skin is very stringy.


Beetroot is a colourful, sweet root vegetable. It's often pickled and added to salads. But it can also be fried, baked in its skin, hollowed out and stuffed with a savoury filling, or used to make
borscht, the traditional Russian and Polish soup. When you're cooking fresh beetroot, leave the skin on and then peel it off when it's cooked. You can also eat the leaves.


Radishes come in all shapes, sizes and colours, though it's normally the small red and white radishes that we see in the shops. Like beetroot, radishes are usually eaten raw in salads. But they also taste good in stews, curries and casseroles, or sliced and gently fried until almost transparent.

Jerusalem artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes aren't actually artichokes. They're root vegetables from the same family of plants as the sunflower. They taste similar to artichokes, hence the name, and they can be boiled,
mashed, roasted or grated raw into salads. Try mixing mashed Jerusalem artichokes with mashed potato, carrot or turnip. They are also good for making soup.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are edible roots, white or orange, that can be cooked in all the same ways as potatoes. They can also be used to make desserts such as sweet potato pie. Sweet potatoes contain vitamin C and the orange variety is an excellent source of beta carotene.

Starchy Roots and Tubers

Cassava roots can also be prepared like potatoes. They can be peeled and boiled, baked, or fried. There are two main varieties, bitter and sweet. The bitter variety is poisonous when raw and is used mostly for making tapioca. The sweet variety is more commonly used in cooking.

Like potatoes, cassava, yams and plantain don't count towards our five daily portions of fruit and veg when they're eaten as a starchy food in place of rice, pasta or bread. But they're still a healthy choice, because we need starch to give us energy and they also contain fibre and other nutrients.

Sweet potatoes and other root vegetables all count towards our daily fruit and veg portions because they're usually eaten on top of a starchy food.

For a healthier way to eat root veg, try to avoid adding butter, rich sauces or lots of oil - as this will make them much higher in fat."


THE BBC were in Southport on Sunday 21 December, as they made the last live broadcast of the "I Can't Wait For Christmas" series.  "The series has been shot in churches all over the country, so it is fantastic they chose Christ Church as the final broadcast site." a spokesman for the church told us.   We went along to see what was going on in the rehearsals and the producer told us on Saturday "It has been a fantastic time covering this program and Southport has been one of the highlights.  The work in Southport has taken 3 days to rig up the church on Lord Street for the broadcast, including this rehearsal and one a few days ago.  We have been warmly received by the combination and by the people of Southport.  I would like to say a big thank you to every one involved.  They have done a fantastic job in helping us produce the last program."   The last program went ahead  Sunday with out a hitch at 10:30am.


CHRISTMAS may be on the horizon, but before the merry-making begins, thousands of firms are being warned that they risk prosecution by ignoring imminent European Union legislation, which will ban a commonly used safety gas by 31 December 2003.

Halon, thought to be one of the safest and most effective fire extinguishing agents, was found to have massive ozone depleting potential during the 1980s and its production ceased in 1993, under the terms of the Montreal Protocol.

Now new European Union legislation (ED 2037/2000) requires Halon to be completely phased out by the end of 2003, and ADT, the UK's leading installation and service provider of gaseous extinguishing systems, is urging companies to make changes under the new legislation immediately or suffer the consequences in the not so distant future.

It became illegal on December 31, 2002 to recharge Halon systems that leak or discharge. However, the gas must now be removed completely from all systems by the end of this year.

However, many companies across the UK are failing to make any arrangements for the advent of the legislation, which also requires that they use a recognised fire safety organisation to dispose of any decommissioned Halon systems.

Phil Gibson for ADT, Liverpool Branch, said:- "There are still Halon extinguishing systems in place throughout the UK that need to be removed.

We have had a number of enquiries about decommissioning these systems, but not as many as we would have expected, which means that a large number of companies are waiting until the very last minute before they act.

There isn't a lot of time before the new legislation comes into play and companies should bear in mind that the process of removing Halon systems is not at all simple. Installation of new systems can take anything from one day to six months, depending on the size of a particular property.

Decommissioning the system alone does not resolve the problem, the gas needs to be disposed of, and companies should ensure that their insurers are also aware of any changes to ensure that they are still covered in the event of a fire.

ADT has the manpower to deal with the demand for replacement gaseous extinguishing systems. My advice would be to act now before it's too late."

ADT Fire and Security is the UK's largest supplier of extinguishing gases and is one of only a handful companies that provides a variety of ozone friendly alternatives to Halon. These include inert gas, FM 200 and 3M(tm) Novec (tm)1230 Fire Protection Fluid. Phil Gibson explains:- "Novec 1230 fluid, developed by 3M, is a Halon alternative which offers significant environmental benefits, as well as an innovative solution to ease the concerns of fire protection engineers and asset managers. It has the environmental profile to compare with the inert gases but the low storage space benefits of the Halocarbons, like Halon and FM200. 

Not only does Novec 1230 fluid meet today's regulations, it will also meet further legislative changes for the foreseeable future. It provides a long-term solution in which customers can protect their vital assets from the danger of fire, safe in the knowledge that they are also doing their bit for the environment.

The product is unique as it is a liquid at room temperature. This means it can be transported in unpressurised containers, such as plastic bulk containers and offers advantages when transporting the extinguishant over long distances - particularly where airfreight is required.

Novec 1230 fluid also has minimum environmental impact. It is the world's first Homogenate fire extinguishing agent to have a zero ozone depleting potential (ODP), an atmospheric lifetime (ALT) of 5 days and a global warming potential (GWP) of one. This compares with Halon's ozone depletion potential of 16, ALT in excess of 87 years and GWP of 6900.

Meanwhile, FM 200 is the most popular chemical agent offered as a Halon alternative. It is a fluorocarbon installed in over 50,000 systems worldwide, has zero ozone depletion and is also safe for use in occupied areas."

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