May Produce Report
Presenting the May 2012 Produce Report, a summary of the seasonal delights that Autumn is serving up, thank to our friends at Market Fresh
New season Queensland Imperial Mandarins are a welcome sight in our Fruit & Vegetable Shops in these cooler months. Mandarins are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre and are widely utilized for their cold and flu busting qualities. When buying mandarins select fruit that have a rich, glossy skin with a fine texture. Avoid any fruits with soft spots, a puffy appearance and feel is normal due to the nature of the easy to peel skin.
New season Australian apples are now in plentiful supply; apples are full of antioxidants and are a good source of vitamins B and C.
Varieties available at the moment are –
Pink Lady - a large sized apple with a firm sweet, crisp, juicy flesh. Excellent eating apple or just as tasty in pies, salads and sauces.
Fuji - medium sized apple which is slightly sweeter than other varieties, they are excellent raw, used for pie fillings, sauces and salads. They can be frozen.
Golden Delicious - a crisp, sweet tasting medium to large sized apple. Golden delicious apples are a lunch time favourite in their raw form and are popular for cooking for tarts, pies and caramelised for cakes and muffins.
Granny Smith - a hard apple with a crisp tart flavour, perfect for baking, freezing, salads, sauces and pies.
Jonathon – a small size apple which makes it a good choice for purchasing for children’s snacks.
Red Delicious - a medium to large size apple with a medium sweetness and crisp white, juicy flesh. Great eaten raw or in salads.
Royal Gala - medium in size with a sweet flavour, ideal raw and in salads or cooked for pies and sauces.
Brussel Sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin and contain moderate amounts of dietary fibre, iron, potassium and riboflavin. When selecting brussel sprouts choose small, firm and compact heads of bright green colour. Brussel Sprouts can be steamed, boiled, stir-fried or micro waved for a hearty and healthy winter accompaniment to all types of meals.
There is a plentiful supply of good quality cauliflower this month, with competitive prices to be found. Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C, potassium and folic acid. Select cauliflower with a clean, white head and firm, compact flower clusters. The leaves should not be wilted and the stalks should have a fresh appearance. Cauliflower added to vegetable lasagne is an inventive way for children to consume their intake of this nutritious vegetable.
Parsnips are related to carrot, celery and parsley. They have a tapered root similar to carrot and have a creamy/white skin and flesh with a leafy top.
Parsnip is an excellent source of vitamin C and is good source of dietary fibre and folic acid.
When preparing parsnip scrub well and trim the top and root. Slice thinly, julienne, dice or grate. Serve with dips, use in baked meals, soups and casseroles.
Spinach with its delicate texture and jade green colour is an excellent cooler weather vegetable, it is inexpensive to purchase, easy to prepare and has a very high nutritious content. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K (great for bone strength), vitamin A and vitamin B2; it is a very good source of Iron, Folate, Manganese, and Magnesium. When purchasing select clean, fresh leaves with no signs of wilting or blemishes. Can be used in stir-fries, steamed, pureed, and combined in quiches, pies or filo-parcels.
Celeriac is a variety of celery which forms an enlarged solid, edible tuber just below the soil surface; it has a gnarled appearance and is brownish white in colour. Celeriac is a very good source of dietary fibre and a good source of vitamin C. Peel, dice and boil celeriac until just tender (approx 10 minutes). Add a touch of a vinegar or lemon juice to the water to keep the flesh of the celeriac white. Serve with butter or a cream sauce, or mash like potato. Add cubed celeriac to soups and casseroles for extra flavour.
Grown in Victoria at the present time, broccoli is in good supply this month and is of very good quality. When buying, choose broccoli with floret clusters that are compact and not bruised. They should be uniformly coloured, either dark green, sage or purple-green, depending upon variety, and with no yellowing. If leaves are attached,
Broccoli is an excellent source of the vitamins K, C, and A, B6 and E.
To retain the maximum flavour and nutrition of broccoli, only lightly stem, boil or quickly stir fry. For a simple and tasty variant for a side vegetable, sprinkle lemon juice and sesame seeds over lightly steamed broccoli.
Spinach with its delicate texture and jade green colour is an excellent cooler weather vegetable, it is easy to prepare and has a very high nutritious content. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K (great for bone strength), vitamin A and vitamin B2 and it is a very good source of iron and folate. When purchasing select clean, fresh leaves with no signs of wilting or blemishes. Can be used in stir-fries, steamed, pureed, and combined in quiches, pies or filo-parcels.
Globe – have an immature flower head comprising of a bud with numerous overlapping bracts or scales, the edible part consists of the fleshy tender base of the young flowers and bracts, plus the receptacle bearing the flowers. With a nutty flavour these are great for salads or hors-d’oeuvres. Small artichokes are better for pickling, stews and casseroles. Medium-sized ones are good choices for salads.
Jerusalem – these artichokes belong to the sunflower family, tubers form among the roots and are the edible part of the plant. Jerusalem artichokes have a nutty flavour and can be used in the same way as other tubers i.e. Potato and taro; steamed, boiled or baked
Beetroot contains no fat, very few calories and is a great source of fibre. When you buy fresh beetroot it will still have the leaves and stalks attached. To cook the beetroot simply cut off the stalks but make sure you leave some of the stalk intact. By doing this it will help to stop the beetroot from losing its colour when you cook it and helps to hold in the nutrients. Beetroot can be steamed; boiled or roasted. Fresh Beetroot can be eaten raw, peel before grating and adding to a salad, a sandwich or on a hamburger. For a different take try baby beetroot.
Also referred to as Chinese cabbage, Wombok has a sweet, mild flavour which is quite different to European cabbage. While the leaf blades can be slightly peppery, the thick white ribs are sweet and juicy. The inner leaves have been protected from the sun, so are particularly tender and succulent. Wombok makes an excellent basis for coleslaw and is a wonderful addition to a salad sandwich.
The famous Korean relish Kim Chee / Kim Chi is made from wombok pickled in salt, garlic and chilli. You can also add to soups, stir fries and casseroles. The leaves can be used as wrappers for other foods during steaming. Shredded wombok is also a key ingredient in dumplings and rolls
Rhubarb is botanically a vegetable, but because of its high acidity and flavour, it is utilised as a fruit. It is good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre and potassium, a useful source of vitamin B1 and contains some vitamin B3.
Rhubarb is popular as a dessert pie filling and also be used in tarts, sauces, puddings, jams and jellies. An old fashioned favourite dessert is sweetened stewed rhubarb with whipped cream, custard or ice-cream. Raw rhubarb can also be finely shredded or sliced and added to fruit and savoury salads, do not consume the leaves of the rhubarb plant at any time.
Hayward is the green kiwifruit which are the size of an egg and have a thin, fuzzy, brown skin. They have emerald green juicy flesh and have small black, edible seeds dispersed throughout the pulp. Gold is the yellow kiwifruit which are similar in size and shape to green kiwifruit, but are hairless and have yellow flesh. They are sweet to taste sweet and have a lightly tropical flavour. Kiwifruit are an excellent source of vitamin C, firm fruit will ripen naturally at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.
Commonly known as the "aristocrat of fruits" with a green bumpy skin, while inside is a sweet treat unlike any other you have ever tasted. Pink Mammoth is a large super sweet fruit and African Pride is small to medium in size. Custard Apples are only eaten when soft, and only the flesh is eaten. To eat, simply cut in half and scoop out the white flesh. The Custard Apple should be moist with a pleasant sweet aroma. When mature, both varieties turn from dark green to a light green or jade colour and both are high in vitamin C.