Mandarin

Mandarin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mandarins are small, sweet citrus fruits with thin, easily peeled skin. Native to China, mandarins have a distinctive, aromatic flavour and are a popular snack and ingredient worldwide.

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Pomegranate

Pomegranate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Introducing the mighty pomegranate, a fruit celebrated for its vibrant ruby-  red arils and rich history. Pomegranates have been cherished for centuries, renowned for both their delicious flavour and numerous health benefits. Bursting with essential nutrients, antioxidants, and a sweet-tart taste, this ancient fruit is a true powerhouse. From mythical symbolism to culinary delight, let's explore the wonders of pomegranates and discover why they continue to captivate hearts and taste buds alike. 

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Mushroom

Mushroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushrooms are a diverse and intriguing group of fungi found in the natural world. They come in different shapes and sizes, with delicate caps and intricate networks beneath the ground. Thriving in various ecosystems across Australia, these mushrooms serve important roles as decomposers and partners in symbiotic relationships. They contribute to the balance and beauty of our planet with their nutritional value, medicinal properties, and captivating forms.

One of the vital roles mushrooms play is as decomposers in ecosystems. They have the special ability to break down organic matter like fallen leaves, dead plants, and wood. This breakdown process is called decomposition or decay. By breaking down these materials, mushrooms help turn them into simpler compounds. This allows the nutrients locked within them to be released back into the soil, supporting the growth of other organisms.

Mushrooms also form beneficial partnerships with plants. They create symbiotic relationships called mycorrhizae, where they exchange nutrients with the roots of plants. The mushrooms assist plants in accessing water and nutrients, while the plants provide the mushrooms with sugars and carbohydrates. This collaboration enhances the ability of plants to take up nutrients, especially in soils that lack sufficient nutrients.

Overall, mushrooms are important decomposers that contribute to the recycling of nutrients, the enrichment of soils, and the overall balance of ecosystems. They have a fascinating role in breaking down organic matter and aiding in the growth of plants. Their presence adds to the charm and harmony of our natural world in Australia.

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Swede

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The veggie of the week is swede. You can think of swede as a combination of cabbage and turnip. They are slightly sweet and has an earthy flavour.

Other nations might call swede ‘rutabaga’ like United States and Canada. It is believed Swedes were first discovered in 17th century in northern Europe and that’s why its referred to as Swedish turnip. The next few countries after Sweden were Scotland, Germany and England to welcome swede in their diets.

Swedes are filled with health benefits such as vitamin C, high in dietary fibre, low in calories and small amount of minerals. Swedes’ lovers now eat them in various ways like boiling, roasting, mashing, steaming and in soups and stews.

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Avocado

Avocado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we have avocado. There are hundred types of avocados but the favourite and popular one is the one with soft, creamy flavoured inside and rich green skin.

Avocados have been cultivated for around 10 thousand years and are native to South-Central Mexico. Avocados were first called ‘āhuacatl’ which means testicle just like the shape of the avocado. Then Europe discovered avocados and Spain was one of the first to welcome and until this day avocados are one of the favourite ingredients in their recipes.

Now avocados are popular in all around the world including Peru, Brazil and the origin country Mexico. People have created all sort of creative recipes like avocados in drinks, salads and a recent trend avocado on toasts.

Here is an interesting and easy recipe for avocado lovers by Lilluna.com.

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Broadbeans

Broadbeans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we have broad beans. It's rare to see healthy and tasty food at the same time and that's what broad beans are. 

Broad beans were found thousands of years ago in countries like Egypt, Greece and Rome and became a part of their diet. They were not only a favourite food but also held cultural significance, symbolising good luck and fertility.

Today broad beans are still a big part of many diets because of their health benefits like proteins, fibre and vitamins. They’re the perfect amount of protein source and a different flavour for a vegetarian diet. 

Broad beans can be prepared by blanching, boiling, or steaming and their outer skins can be removed and eat the bright green inner seed. The seeds can be used in many meals like soups, stews, salads or side dishes. Check out the recipe from Lazy Cat Kitchen!

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Artichoke

𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙠𝙚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we have artichoke veggie from the Aster family. It's known for its unique appearance and salty taste.

Background:

Before the artichoke became popular in Europe during the Middle Ages, it was believed that it originated in Italy and North Africa. Artichoke was also well known back in ancient Greece and Rome, both for its cooking and medical usage.

More about artichoke:

The artichoke can grow up to 182cm with green leaves and spiky edges, and it can take several months to pick up. They are mostly grown for their flower buds, which can be eaten. The flower buds are picked before the plant fully blooms.

Artichoke can be enjoyed as a simple steamed side dish or used in bigger recipes. But either way, they will all benefit you. Artichokes are great for your health since they are low in calories, excellent to your liver, and high in dietary fibre.

Fascinating facts to tell a friend about artichokes:

  • Artichokes have been used as a symbol in many regions.
  • Artichokes can be enjoyed at a party as a dip with cheese and other seasoning
  • Artichokes are one of the favourites when it comes to a weight-loss diet
  • And if artichokes are left to grow as they should, they’ll open into a beautiful flower with purple-blue leaves that look like a thistle
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Potato

Potato 

The veggie of the week this time is the humble but delicious potato! This kitchen staple is common all over the world, but anything but boring. Whether it’s to be the main star or complement another ingredient, potatoes can fill just about any role in a dish.

Despite many folk stories about the origins of the potato, scientists have managed to trace the roots of the veggie to a single species that grew where Peru is now. It’s there when humans first domesticated the potato, and they proceeded to spread as Spanish visitors to the Americas brought them back home, introducing them to the rest of Europe as well. Fast forward to now, and potatoes are the fourth most cultivated vegetable globally, and make up a huge part of our food supply.

Nowadays, there’s over 5000 unique species of potatoes. For example, the Yukon Gold variety is great for making mash with, while Russet potatoes are the perfect potatoes for baking. What they all share is an abundance of nutrients such as vitamin C, so definitely work them into your diet! With, for example, this crispy potato green shakshuka recipe from Taste.com!

 

Potatoes_.jpg

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Kale

Kale

Kale has been around for centuries. To be exact, it has been around for over 2000 years! There are over 50 varieties of kale, usually in green, but they can also be found in purple. Their leaves can be either smooth or curly. Kale is part of the Brassica oleracea family, which makes it a relative of cabbage, cauliflower, and bok choy. Kale grows best in chilly weather - the sugars start to concentrate, making it sweeter!

Kale is a highly nutritious leafy vegetable. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. Kale contains more vitamin C than most other greens. Vitamin C keeps our gums, teeth and skin healthy. Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting. Kale tastes like cabbage with a slight bitterness. You can eat it raw or cook it to make it more tender. Check out the recipe for easy skillet kale with lemon and garlic!

 

 

kale

 

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Pumpkin

Pumpkin

The word “pumpkin” comes from the Greek word “pepon,” which means “large melon.” A pumpkin is categorised as a fruit because it comes from the seed-bearing part of flowering plants. Pumpkins come in all sorts of colours, including orange, yellow, green, white and blue. Intriguingly, pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica. Every part of the pumpkin - the root, stem, leaves, fruit, or seeds - is edible!

After carving or cooking pumpkins, the scraps and seeds can be composted, providing nutrient-rich material for your garden. Composting organic waste like pumpkin leftovers reduces landfill waste and supports sustainable soil health.

Pumpkin is a nutritious, versatile fruit that is packed with a variety of vitamins & minerals. Pumpkin is one of the best-known sources of beta carotene, which gives it its orange colour (like carrots!). Beta carotene converts into Vitamin A once consumed, which helps maintain healthy skin, vision, bones and teeth, as well as supporting the immune system. Curious about ways to include this incredible fruit in your dishes? Check out the recipe for pumpkin & orange soup! 

 

 

Pumpkin

 

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Lemonade

Are those lemons in your fruit and veggie boxes? Close, but not quite! This week, you’ll have found a stock of lemonade fruits, cousins of the more common lemons; not to be confused with the sugary drink! Also known as unlemons or New Zealand lemonades (guess where they came from originally), scientists think they’re a hybrid of mandarin oranges and regular lemons.

Well, how do you tell lemons and lemonades apart? While lemons are usually shaped like ellipses, lemonades tend to be rounder. The rind is smoother and softer than a lemon’s, enough that you can peel them with your fingers instead of needing a tool. And if you end up cutting them open, obvious difference in taste aside, you might notice that lemonades have less seeds than lemons embedded in the flesh.

Lemonades have the sweetness of lemons without the mouth-puckering sourness, which means they can be substituted for each other in a lot of recipes as long as seasoning is adjusted. For example, lemon pasta, or pasta al limone, can be replicated with lemonades instead! Try out this recipe from Feel Good Foodie if that sounds interesting to you:

 

 

Lemonade

 

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Avocado

Avocados are the veggie of focus this week! The green flesh surrounding the large, tough seed is rich and creamy, making them a favourite of many. Whether it’s mixing with salad or slathering on toast, avocados are a versatile ingredient that can breathe life into the mundane!

Avocados might have been more widespread geographically ages ago, but nowadays they are mostly grown in and exported from Chile, Mexico and California. A delicate fruit, they require specific climate conditions to grow well, along with quite a bit of water. Unfortunately, this makes them vulnerable to climate change, as conditions where they are usually grown might not be as suitable for them anymore in the future.

All the more reason to cherish the avocados on our plates, however. Being rich in fat and various nutrients, they make an excellent addition to many diets, especially for vegetarians and vegans! But there’s a lot more you can do with them than just guac or toast; here’s a creative recipe for baked avocados boats, with any toppings you please!

 

 

Avocado piece

 

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Cauliflower

The veggie of the week is Cauliflower. It is scientifically known as Brassica oleracea var. Botrytis which has a rich history and interesting facts. Believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, it has spread worldwide and become a staple in various cuisines.Cauliflower is closely related to broccoli, kale, and cabbage, sharing a common ancestor and distinct characteristics. Centuries of cultivation have enhanced its large, compact, and edible flower heads. While white is the most common variety, cauliflower comes in purple, orange, and green, thanks to natural pigments called anthocyanins and carotenoids, which offer antioxidants and health benefits.Cauliflower is versatile in the kitchen, enjoyed raw, steamed, roasted, sautéed, or mashed as a low-carb alternative. Low in calories and carbs, it is high in fiber, vitamins C and K, and minerals. It also contains compounds with potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet. In summary, cauliflower's adaptability, diverse colours, culinary flexibility, and nutritional benefits continue to captivate food enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals worldwide.

 

 

cauliflower

 

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Fennel

Fennel, scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare, is a versatile and aromatic herb with a fascinating history. Native to the Mediterranean region, fennel has been utilised for its culinary and medicinal properties for centuries. The ancient Greeks and Romans revered fennel for its reputed ability to provide strength and longevity. Interestingly, it was also believed to ward off evil spirits and promote good luck. Fennel's distinctive flavour, reminiscent of licorice and anise, adds a unique touch to a variety of dishes and beverages. Every part of the fennel plant is edible, from the bulb to the feathery leaves and seeds. Besides its culinary uses, fennel is also renowned for its potential health benefits, such as aiding digestion and providing antioxidants. Whether incorporated into salads, roasted with vegetables, or infused into teas, fennel continues to captivate taste buds and offer a touch of ancient wisdom to modern cuisine.

 

 

Fennel

 

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Banana

This week's feature is the beloved household staple, the banana! Bananas are technically berries that grow from gigantic herbs, reaching heights of 3-6 meters. While there are numerous varieties, the one we are most familiar with is the Cavendish banana. The Cavendish is a dessert banana, known for its sweetness. Although it is the most common banana variety imported by non-tropical countries, its less sweet and starchier counterparts, known as plantains, are a staple food source in tropical regions and make up 85 percent of banana cultivation worldwide.

Bananas are believed to have been first domesticated in Southeast Asia, and their consumption is mentioned in early Greek, Latin, and Arab writings. Alexander the Great encountered bananas during his expedition to India. After the discovery of America, bananas were brought from the Canary Islands to the New World, where they were initially established in Hispaniola and later spread to other islands and the mainland.

Cavendish, or dessert, bananas are most commonly eaten fresh, though they can also be fried or mashed and used in chilled pies or puddings. They are also used to add flavour to muffins, cakes, and breads. Cooking varieties, or plantains, are more commonly utilized in savoury dishes. This week's recipe offers a sweet twist on the classic banana bread!

 

Banana

 

 

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Purple Sweet Potato

This week’s veggie is the tasty plump purple sweet potato! Slightly sweet in taste, creamy in texture and highly nutritious, this root vegetable offers not only a spark of colour to any meal, but delicious flavours and a range of health benefits as well.

While there are a number of different varieties of the purple sweet potato, the Okinawan variant has been grown and shared by people for the longest time. It is thought to have originated in Central and South America, cultivated by the Aztecs, before it was brought over the seas to the Philippines and China in the 15th century. In the 1600’s it was planted in Okinawa in Japan – hence its current name – where it became incredibly popular. Eventually, it was brought over to Hawaii where it quickly became a loved staple ingredient.

Purple sweet potatoes can be stored and cooked in the same ways as their orange counterparts. Though their lifespan is somewhat shorter, the purple sweet potato will, like the orange sweet potato, last for longer when stored in a dry, cool place. Furthermore, while they are delicious in most recipes where you would normally use the orange sweet potato, they may require a longer cooking time. Delicious and warming as the cool weather sets in, the purple sweet potato can be part of your savoury winter stew or favourite casserole. Or they can be, in classic potato style, simply mashed.

Purple sweet potato

 

 

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Capsicum

This week's veggie is the lovely bell-shaped capsicum! Capsicums come in a variety of colours, the most common ones being red, yellow, or green. However, you can also find varieties that are brown, purple, white, and orange. They are well-known for their crispness and sweetness, which has made them a favourite afternoon snack or ingredient in salads.

Capsicums, or as they are called botanically, Capsicum annuum, are fruits that belong to the nightshade family, along with eggplant, potatoes, and tomatoes. Like their close relatives, chili peppers, capsicums are sometimes dried and powdered. If so, they are referred to as paprika. Like other fruits and vegetables, they have a variety of health benefits, such as improved eye health and reduced risk of anemia.

Capsicums are delicious raw, but they are also a treat when cooked. Here is one of my favourite recipes with these beautiful veggies! 

Capsicum

 

 

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Carrot

This week’s veggie is the rosette-topped carrot! Carrots are grown across the world and in multiple varieties. While you may be familiar seeing them in glowing orange, they are also grown in deep purple, white and sparkly yellow. Carrots are crisp and sweet tasting. In fact, they are the vegetables with the highest sugar content after beets, which may be why Celts used to call them “honey underground”.  

Carrots have an interesting and unusual history. They are thought to have become domesticated in Central Asia around 1000 CE. Before they were used as a source of food, it is likely that carrots were used for medicinal purposes. By the 13th century, carrots were grown in China and Northwestern Europe. Surprisingly, in 17th century England the slender carrot leaves became our day’s daisies and they were used as a delicate decoration in intricate hairstyles. 

Carrots are versatile and a delicious addition to most meals. They form part of desserts and savoury dishes alike. They can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, and oven roasted. This week's recipe is a classic carrot cake recipe. It takes a bit of patience, but the end result is worth it. Enjoy!

 

Carrot

 

 

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Choy Sum

The veggie of the week is our leafy friend Choy Sum! In Sweden, where I am originally from, there is a saying that goes: beloved child has many names. And that holds true for Choy Sum. Choy Sum is considered one of the most popular everyday vegetables in China and it is widely used in Asian cuisines. As such, it goes by many names. In China it is called Cai xin or Tsoi sum, in Japan they call it Saishin, and it is Pakauyai in Thai, and Cai Ngot in Vietnamese.

Choy Sum is a beautiful non-heading plant with slender green stems and flat, slightly serrated green leaves. The stems are crisp and juicy with young plants having a light sweetness that grows more bitter as they mature. Choy sum is delicious when it’s cooked. It is often an ingredient in stir-fries, or it can be blanched or boiled. The leaves and stems can be kept 3-4 days when stored loosely in a bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Choy sum can also be blanched and stored in the freezer for 8-12 months. 

As mentioned, while Choy sum is a traditional ingredient, an integral part of many different Asian cuisines where it has been used for centuries, it is increasingly used in new culinary creative endeavours. One such endeavour is this week’s recipe from the family behind thewoksoflife.com. Thank you for sharing it with us!  

 

Choy Sum

 

 

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Grapefruit

The veggie of the week is an unusually large berry! It's Grapefruit! Grapefruits come in a variety of tastes and colours, ranging from bitter to sweet, from red to yellow. And these varieties have equally colorful names, the more beautifully imaginative ones being Ruby Red, Star Ruby, Oro Blanco, Rio Star and White Marsh. Whatever differences there may be between these types of grapefruits, they all share the same delicious juiciness. 

Grapefruits are originally between pomelo and a sweet orange that are thought to have occurred in the West Indies. For the longest time, before becoming a more common sight in people’s kitchens, Grapefruit was grown as an exotic and rare fruit. It was even called the “forbidden fruit” for a while due to how unusually looking and tasting it was considered to be. 

These beautiful berries are rich in vitamin C. The only fruits that contain more are oranges and lemons. But if you are taking medication, carefully read the information you have been given before eating grapefruit with your pills as grapefruits may make your medication useless! 

When I was growing up, I remember coming down to breakfast with my grandparents sitting at the kitchen table, having grapefruit with sugar together with their morning tea. As I got older, I came to appreciate this simple grapefruit recipe. If you would like to make a bit more complex dish with grapefruit (but still pretty simple), you can try this week’s recipe: Baked Grapefruit with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon!

Grapefruit

 

 

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