Vegetable Guide


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Artichoke

 

General Description/History:

 

The size of a Globe artichoke does not necessarily indicate quality. Select those with tight, compact, heavy heads that yield slightly to pressure. Leaves should be a green, purple or bronze colour. Avoid artichokes with opened out, curled or dry looking leaves.

 

When selecting Jerusalem artichokes choose clean, hard, larger sized tubers.

 

The Globe artichoke has a delicate nutty flavour causing it to be prized in salads or hors-d’oeuvres. It can be eaten in its entirety or each leaf pulled off and dipped into a sauce. It can be served as a hot vegetable with butter or special sauce such as hollandaise, bechamel or spicy vinaigrette or served cold. It can also be used as an entree or main course after filling it with seafood, chicken, vegetables, meat or cheese. Artichokes can be added raw, whole, sliced or quartered to stews, casseroles and soups. In addition, the Globe artichoke can be cooked, chilled and sliced to be used in salads.

 

Any size artichoke may be boiled or steamed. Small artichokes are better for pickling, stews and casseroles. Medium-sized ones are good choices for salads and large ones for stuffing and serving as an entree. Several artichokes can be cooked at once, then refrigerated in a covered container for use over several days.

 

Fresh artichokes should be cooked thoroughly in water until obviously tender, which can be tested with a skewer or fork, and served whole. Eating commences by pulling off the outer leaves one at a time. The tender fleshy base is then usually dipped into a sauce, and drawn through the teeth to scrape off the soft edible surface. The remainder of the leaf is discarded.

 

The outer leaves are removed and consumed successively until the inner cone of light-coloured leaves is reached. The tips of these leaves can also be eaten. Once the leaf-cone is removed, the fuzzy core or choke can be seen. This is not eaten and should be lifted out and discarded. The dense, fleshy heart which remains can be eaten completely.

 

Jerusalem artichokes can be used in the same way as other tubers i.e. potato and taro; steamed, boiled or baked.

 

Propagation is usually by offshoots or pieces of the old crown with the stem attached. Offshoots are selected from high quality parent plants and removed when about 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) high, retaining as much root system as possible. If the planting material is not set out immediately, it should be stored in a moist, cool place. Before planting, the tops of the new plants are pruned back moderately. The usual practice is to re-plant new areas annually.

 

Propagation from seed is not recommended. Seedlings show great variability with a high proportion of the plants producing small buds of poor quality.

 

Planting in the milder, frost-free areas usually extends through July and August. In cooler localities, plantings are made from late August when frost injury is less likely to occur.

 

Artichokes require rich, well drained soil. As the plants develop, care should be taken in the use of implements between rows; the roots rapidly spread through the top foot of soil and are easily injured.

 

The Globe artichoke is sensitive to soil moisture deficiencies and irrigation facilities are essential for commercial production. Any lack of moisture, particularly when buds are forming, will produce loose flower heads of inferior quality.

 

For spring to midsummer production, fairly regular irrigation is necessary to maintain growth during the normally dry weather experienced after planting.

 

Discovered centuries ago by hungry Arabs who found that certain thistles tasted good. Artichokes were cultivated first in Italy in the 15th century. Gradually, the artichoke spread to other sections of Europe and then to the colonies settled by Europeans.

 

Growing Areas:

 

NSW - Camden, Dareton, Windsor

VIC - Werribee SA Adelaide Plains

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Artichokes are a good source of vitamin C and thiamine and contain some dietary fibre, calcium, phosphorus, niacin and potassium. 90kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Globe artichokes should be stored in an airtight plastic bag, in the refrigerator crisper. Store Jerusalem artichokes in a cool, dry place.

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

The Jerusalem artichoke is not an artichoke, nor does it come from Jerusalem: It's from America and is part of the sunflower family.

 

 


Asparagus

 

Botanical Name:

 

Asparagus officinalis (Liliaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Bright green, fleshy stalks or spears
  • 18 - 23cm in length
  • Part of the lily family
  • Form from a crown

Select tender, straight, fresh, bright spears with closed, compact tips. Spears should snap easily at stem end.

 

Cut away any tough ends. Rinse thoroughly. If scales are gritty, scrape them off. The spears may be cooked whole or cut into shorter lengths. Boil, sauté or steam for 5-6 minutes. Use in entrees or as a side vegetable, combine in quiches, flans, salads or stir-fries. Serve with dips as a vegetable crudités.

 

Asparagus is propagated from the crowns or shoots of selected asparagus plants. Good moisture is required for the production of quality spears. Because of the deep root system of asparagus crowns, irrigation should be heavy and less frequent. Irrigation is normally required prior to spear emergence and during cutting to maintain quality.

 

Asparagus was first cultivated by the Romans from wild plants around 200BC.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Fassifern Valley, Lockyer Valley, Mundubbera, Stanthorpe, Warwick

NSW - Cowra, Dareton, Gosford, Gundagai, Hunter Valley, Lachlan Valley, Sunraysia, Tumut, Windsor

VIC - Bairnsdale, Dalmore, Kooweerup, Mid Murray District,

SA - Riverland

WA - Albany, Pemberton

NT - Katherine, Ti TreeNutritional Value:

 

A very good source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin E and a useful source of thiamine. It also contains dietary fibre, iron, riboflavin and niacin. 70kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper and use as soon as possible.

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

Onions, garlic and asparagus are lilies.

 

 


Bean - Broad

 

Description:

  • Pod is not eaten
  • Bean inside is large and flat
  • June – October 

Growing Area:

 

NSW - New South Wales

VIC - Victoria

SA - South Australia

TAS – Tasmania

 

 


Bean - Green

 

Description:

  • Rounded pod
  • 10 -15cm in length, 1cm in diameter
  • Available all year round

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Queensland

NSW - New South Wales

VIC - Victoria

SA - South Australia

WA - Perth Metropolitan

  

 

 


Sprout - Bean Shoot

 

Botanical Name:

 

Phaseolus aureus

 

Description:

  • the most common bean shoots are mung beans
  • they have been used in Chinese cuisine for centuries
  • shoots are about 6 to 8 cm long, thin and white and contain the intact roots
  • are sometimes grown in the dark so the developing leaves can be pale yellow
  • they have a crunchy, slightly nutty flavour
  • very high in vitamin A
  • Available: all year 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Brisbane, Fassifern Valley, Lockyer Valley

NSW - Bathurst, Gosford

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area

SA - Adelaide Plains

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

 

 


Beetroot

 

Botanical Name:

 

Beta vulgaris (Chenopodiaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Related to the silverbeet and sugarbeet
  • A spherical root crop tuber
  • Red/purple skin often streaked with white
  • Leafy stalks which may be used in the same way as silverbeet
  • Dark red/purple flesh which is crisp and juicy
  • Roots are 6-8cm in diameter.

Select beetroot with fresh stems and leaves, and smooth, firm roots.

 

Wash in cold water leaving root and stem intact and being careful not to break the skin. This prevents bleeding during cooking. Cook the beetroot in boiling water for about 45 minutes or until tender. When cooked remove the skin taking care not to let the juice stain cutting boards, skin or clothing.

 

Beetroot grows best under cool conditions. Production during the hot summer months will be restricted to higher altitudes. Crops grown in cool weather produce roots of superior quality (high sugar content and dark internal colour). Beetroot has a fair tolerance to moderate frosts. Cultivars suitable for the fresh market must have strong, large tops and produce smooth globular shaped roots. Beetroot is propagated from seed and frequent irrigation is required as a lack of moisture results in stringy, tough vegetables.

 

The beetroot originated in southern Europe. Originally the beet leaves were used more than the root. It is believed to have started to be developed and cultivated in the Middle Ages.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Beet

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Queensland

VIC - Victoria

 

Nutritional Value:

 

A good source of dietary fibre and folic acid. A useful source of vitamin C. 175kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Trim tops, carefully wipe away excess dirt, and store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.

 

 


Beetroot  -  Baby

 

Description:

  • Related to the silver beet and sugar beet
  • A spherical root crop tuber
  • Red/purple skin often streaked with white
  • Leafy stalks which may be used in the same way as silver beet
  • Dark red/purple flesh which is crisp and juicy
  • Roots are 6-8cm in diameter 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Queensland

VIC - Victoria

  

 

 


Bok Choi

 

Botanical Name:

 

Brassica rapa var. chinensis

 

General Description/History:

  • Does not form a true head, but when harvested at its base forms a compact cluster of leaves
  • Sometimes described as a loose leaf chinese cabbage
  • Dark green, leafy vegetable with white ribs in the leaves
  • Fleshy stalks vary from white to pale green.

Select fresh looking bunches with clean, glossy leaves and healthy stems.

 

Remove tough stalk end and wash leaves and stalks, slice and braise, steam or stir-fry. Use in dishes where you would use cabbage or spinach. The stalks can also be used like asparagus.

 

Bok choy is a cool weather vegetable which matures quickly with sufficient moisture. They require rich, cool, moist soil conditions.

 

The Chinese mustard cabbage or bok choy is one of the most ancient vegetables. Botanists cannot determine where it originated because it has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is believed that the Celts brought it to the British Isles, but it was grown in the Far East long before then.

 

Alternative Names:

 

bok choy

pak choi

pak choy

shanghai chinese chard

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Queensland

VIC - Victoria

WA - Western Australia

NSW - New South Wales

SA - South Australia

 

Nutritional Value:

 

An excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre 70kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.

 

 


Broccoli

 

Botanical Name:

 

Brassica oleracea, Italica Botrytis Group (Cruciferae)

 

General Description/History:

  • The plant forms a tight head of flowers
  • Blue/green buds
  • Thick, fleshy, green stalks
  • Related to the cauliflower.

Choose broccoli with tight compact heads and blue/green in colour. Avoid broccoli with open or yellowed flowers.

 

To retain maximum flavour and nutrition, only lightly cook broccoli. Broccoli sprigs are lovely served with a dip, but the sprigs should be dipped into boiling water for approximately thirty seconds to change the blue-green colour to a rich green colour and then cooled before serving. Broccoli can be steamed, boiled or stir-fried.

 

Whichever method of preparation you choose, be sure not to overcook, as broccoli is at its best when served tender crisp. Try using raw in salads. Add to your favourite soup, casserole or stir-fry.

 

Broccoli is a cool climate crop. It grows best in sandy soils during autumn and winter and is adaptable to all climates with a cool winter. Once young heads have formed regular irrigation is required.

 

Broccoli is a comparatively young vegetable which was first introduced to England in the 18th Century. It was originally known as Italian asparagus and progressed slowly to other countries. It belongs to the brassica family, along with cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.

 

The name broccoli comes from the Italian word “brocco” meaning arm or branch and numerous forms of wild broccoli can be found along the coastline of the Mediterranean sea.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Chinese kale

White flowering broccoli

Gai Lan

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Darling Downs, Lockyer Valley, Stanthorpe, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba

NSW - Bathurst, Camden, Central Coast, Cowra, Dareton, Forbes, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Mudgee, Naro, Sydney Basin, Windsor

VIC - Bairnsdale, Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Werribee

TAS - North West

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Riverina

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Katherine

 

Nutritional Value:

 

An excellent source of vitamins A and C. A very good source of folacin and vitamin E, and a useful source of riboflavin. 100kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for a short time.

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

Although they look very different, cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are all the same species of plant. The differences between these plants are the results of thousands of years of human cultivation and selective propagation.

 

Broccoli was developed some 2,500 years ago on the island of Cyprus.

 

Broccoli and cauliflower are the only vegetables that are flowers.

 

 


Brussel Sprout

 

Botanical Name:

 

Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group (Cruciferae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Look like miniature cabbage
  • Have been breed away from, the bitter flavour of old varieties
  • 2cm in diameter
  • Related to cabbages and cauliflower
  • Plants grow between 1-1.4m in height

Choose small, firm and compact heads of bright green colour.

 

Trim the stems, remove poor quality leaves and wash. Cut a shallow cross in the stem to ensure even cooking.Brussels sprouts can be steamed, boiled, stir fried or microwaved. If overcooked, a sulphur odour will develop.

 

A cool growing season is essential for the culture of brussels sprouts. Cool, moist weather with frosty conditions is particularly desirable during maturity. Well drained soil supplemented with fertiliser and irrigation for early growth is required.

 

Seed is sown in seed beds and then transplanted to paddocks approximately 2 months later.

 

The actual sprouts form on the stem of the plant at the base of each leaf. The time from transplanting to the first pick is approximately 12-16 weeks.

 

Brussels sprouts are believed to have originated in the Belgian City of Brussels during the thirteenth century. Modern selections of brussels sprouts have got away from the bitter flavour associated with this vegetable in the past.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Queensland

NSW - New South Wales

VIC - Werribee

TAS - Tasmania

SA - Adelaide Hills, Mt Barker

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Excellent source of vitamin C. Moderate source of dietary fibre, iron, potassium and riboflavin. 115kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.  

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

Although they look very different, cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are all the same species of plant. The differences between these plants are the results of thousands of years of human cultivation and selective propagation.

 

Brussels Sprouts (a member of the cabbage family) were first grown in quantity around Brussels, Belgium during the 16th century, hence the name.

 

 

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