July Produce Report
Presenting the July 2012 Produce Report, a summary of the seasonal delights that Winter is serving up, thank to our friends at Market Fresh
Broccoli is in abundance this month; it is of high quality and is an inexpensive item on your shopping list. Because of its different components, this vegetable provides a complex of tastes and textures, ranging from soft and flowery (the florets) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk). Its colour can range from deep sage to dark green to purplish-green, depending upon the variety. 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. Broccoli is an excellent source of the vitamins K, C, and A. To retain the maximum flavour and nutrition of broccoli, only lightly stem, boil or stir fry.
Snow Peas have a completely flat pod and are bright green in colour. They have no seed development; pod and pea are eaten whole.
Green Peas are used only for the spherical seed which are developed in a pod which is 5-7cm long. These peas are bright green in colour and are sweet and juicy.
Sugar Snap Peas are like a normal green pea pod in appearance but they have a pea pod which snaps or breaks like a green bean. Pods have thick walls and are sweet and edible, except for the strings; pod and pea are eaten whole.
All varieties of peas are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of iron, dietary fibre, folic acid and thiamine. Snow and Sugar Snap peas can be used raw or blanched in salads, served with dips or as a side vegetable. Green peas can be boiled, steamed or microwaved. Use in salads, casseroles or as a side vegetable.
Brussel Sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins 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.
Cauliflower is a member of the Brassica family which includes cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts. It has a white solid flower head which is surrounded by green leaves. When purchasing cauliflower look for heads that are pure white, firm, compact and heavy for their size. There should be no speckling or discolouration on the head or leaves. If the florets have begun to brown or purple it is past its nutritional peak.
Cauliflower is high in vitamin C and serving cauliflower raw will give you the highest nutritional benefit.
Okra (also known as lady finger) is a 5-10cm long green ridged pod which is pointed at one end.
They are an excellent source of vitamin C and folic acid with some iron, calcium and magnesium. When purchasing okra, select pods with a brilliant emerald green colour, no more than 10cm long.
Before utilising okra, wash and trim stalk. Leave whole or slice, it can be boiled, steamed, microwaved or used in soups, casseroles or salads.
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.
Fresh Tasmanian and Victorian Shallots are now being harvested and can be substituted for garlic.Shallots are often thought to be another variety of onion, but they are actually a species of their own. They grow in clusters, where separate bulbs are attached at the base and by loose skins. The shallot has a tapered shape and a fine-textured, coppery skin, which differentiates it from onions. Shallots have a mild taste that combines the flavour of a sweet onion with a touch of garlic.
Broad beans are now being harvested and the quality is excellent. Broad beans are good source of protein, fibre, vitamins A and C. They can be used fresh or dried, whole or mashed, in soups or simmered casseroles. Cooked beans can be used in appetizers, salads, dips or sandwich spreads. Look for vibrant green coloured beans with plump pods.
A great winter vegetable, sweet corn is an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of dietary fibre, folic acid and phosphorus. Select corn with a fresh husk. Kernels should be plump, shiny and fairly straight. Try shaving raw kernels straight into green salads.
New season seedless watermelons from Northern Australia are fantastic eating this month and they are very sweet and juicy. Watermelons are an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of folic acid and contain some potassium and dietary fibre
When buying watermelon, look for melons with an attractive waxy bloom and a pale yellow underside. When tapped lightly, the melon should sound hollow, which is an indication of maturity.
Hayward - Green kiwis are the size of an egg; have a thin, fuzzy, brown skin. They have emerald green juicy flesh and have small black, edible seeds dispersed throughout the pulp.
Gold - Gold kiwifruit 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 (one serving of kiwifruit has 240% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C), and a good source of potassium, folate and dietary fibre. Firm fruit will ripen naturally at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.
Tangelo is a hybrid of a mandarin and a grapefruit; it has a thin skin which peels more readily than grapefruit. It has a fine textured flesh and is very juicy and sweet flavoured, they range from the size of a standard orange to the size of a grapefruit and are usually necked at the base.Tangelos are an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source dietary fibre and contain some vitamin A and folic acid.
Enjoy as a fresh fruit, juice for a refreshing beverage or use segments in salads. Effective as a garnish for gateaux’s and pavlovas, use juice as a basis marinades and sauces or try in a variety of Chinese cuisine including chicken, duck and beef
New season strawberries from Queensland are being harvested this month, they are of very good quality and are great eating.
Queensland Avocados are of excellent quality this month and are a great addition to any meal and this highly nutritious fruit is an excellent food for active, growing children.
There are three varieties to choose from -
Hass – Oval shaped rough thick skin which blackens when ripe. They have a dense fibre free flesh and are nutty to taste.
Fuerte – pear shaped fruit with a smooth, dark green skin, which dulls as fruit ripens.
Wurtz – has a thin glossy skin and a small seed, and it boasts a good consistent flavour.
PAPAYA AND PAWPAW
Northern Queensland Papaya and Pawpaw are now being harvested and are readily available. Papaya is the red fleshed variety and is particularly sweet; Pawpaw is the yellow torpedo shaped variety and has a tart flavour. Use lime juice on either, when cut to enhance taste.