Vegetable Guide


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Cabbage

 

Botanical Name:

 

Brassica oleracea ‘Capitata’ group

 

General Description/History:

  • A compact head formed by leaves
  • Close relatives include brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower

Alternative Names:

 

Chinese Mustard Cabbage

leaf mustard

Napa Cabbage

Peking Cabbage

Swatow mustard cabbage

Wombok

Wong Bok

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Cleveland, Lockyer Valley, Redland Bay, Stanthorpe

NSW - Bathurst, Camden, Dareton, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Windsor

VIC - Mornington Peninsula, Werribee

TAS - North West

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Riverland

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

 

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.

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

In his epic poem “The Illiad”, .the Greek poet, Homer (who lived around 850 BC), mentions Achilles washing cabbages,

 

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.

 

The Roman Emperor Claudius called upon his Senate to vote on whether any dish could surpass corned beef and cabbage. (The Senate voted a resounding nay!)

 

Cabbage is considered Russia's national food. Russians eat about seven times as much cabbage as the average North American. Russian princes paid tributes not only with racing horses and jewels, but also with garden plots planted with kopusta, or cabbage.

 

Because cabbage requires only three months of growing time, one hectare of cabbage will yield more edible vegetables than any other plant.

 

The world's largest cabbage is credited to William Collingwood of County Durham, England, whose prized cabbage in 1865 weighed in at 123 pounds (55.8 kilograms).

 

Sauerkraut is not German, it's Chinese. It was eaten in China at least 200 years before Christ. When the Chinese were building the fifteen hundred mile long Great Wall of China, they sustained themselves on cabbage pickled in wine.

 

Captain Cook swore by the medicinal value of sauerkraut (cabbage preserved in brine) back in 1769. His ship doctor used it for compresses on soldiers who were wounded during a severe storm and thus prevented the development of gangrene.

 

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

 

There is a legend told to children that babies come from Cabbage Patches.

 

There is an old tale that the Old Man in the Moon was banished to this remote abode after being caught stealing a cabbage from his neighbour on Christmas Eve.

 

Scrolls from 1000 BC uncovered in China mention white cabbage as a cure for baldness in men.

 

Greeks and Romans placed great importance on the healing powers of cabbage. They held that the vegetable could cure just about any illness. Roman mythology holds that cabbages sprung from the tears of Lycurgus, King of the Edonians.

 

 


Cabbage - Chinese

 

 Description:

  • Light green/white leaves
  • Tightly packed into an elongated head
  • Similar in flavour to ordinary cabbage although, slightly sweeter.

Select firm, heavy cabbage with unblemished, fresh, crisp leaves.

 

Chinese cabbage otherwise known as Wong bok, can be finely shredded or tom into bite size pieces to be used in stir fries or chow mien. Add raw to coleslaw and salad. The crisp white stalks can be used like celery. Chinese cabbage leaves can also be steamed lightly and used to wrap a filling, like a spring roll.

 

Chinese cabbage is a cool weather crop that prefers short days. It is grown and harvested in a similar way to cabbage.

 

Chinese cabbage is one our most ancient vegetables. Because it has been cultivated for thousands of years, Botanists think the Celts bought it to the British Isles, but it was grown in the Far East long before that time.

 

English: Peking cabbage, Napa cabbage, Wombok

Chinese: wong nga baak

Japanese: hakusai

Thai: phak kwaang tung

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Cleveland, Lockyer Valley, Redland Bay, Stanthorpe

NSW - Bathurst, Camden, Dareton, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Windsor

VIC - Mornington Peninsula, Werribee

TAS - North West

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Riverland

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

 

 


Cabbage - Red

 

Description:

  • Smooth leaves
  • Oval round head
  • Red/purple leaves

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Cleveland, Lockyer Valley, Redland Bay, Stanthorpe

NSW - Bathurst, Camden, Dareton, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Windsor

VIC - Mornington Peninsula, Werribee

TAS - North West

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Riverland

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

 

 


Capsicum

 

Botanical Name:

 

Capsicum annuum (Solanaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Member of the same family as the tomato, eggplant, pepino
  • Botanically a fruit

The large, block-shaped fruit of C. annuum have a number of names, depending on the country. In Australia, they are called capsicums, in the UK, ‘peppers’, or ‘sweet peppers’, and in the US ‘bell peppers’. In other countries, such as Hungary and Poland, capsicums are called paprika, which is a key ingredient in goulash. In Australia, paprika more commonly refers to a dried powder, made from either the seeds or the whole fruit of C. annuum. The term ‘pepper’ is a little misleading as these fruit are mild to taste, not hot and spicy as the mane pepper denotes. Hot peppers are commonly called chillies.

 

Capsicums are roughly block shaped, with 4 lobes, and are about 12 cm long and 6 to 10 cm in diameter. The stem end is indented and the stem is thick, curved and pale green. The skin is smooth and shiny and colours range from green to red, yellow, orange, dark purple and cream. Fruits are made up of thick fleshy walls that enclose hollow chambers that house the seeds. Common capsicums are sold as green, yellow or red – the green forms are immature forms of the yellow and red. Red capsicums are more mature and taste sweeter, as capsicums become milder as they mature, unlike many chillies. Capsicums continue to ripen after harvest, but they have a long shelf life.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Chilli

Paprika

Peppers

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Bowen, Bundaberg, Burdekin, Gatton, Gympie, Redland Bay, Stan-thorpe

NSW - Camden, Dareton, Far North Coast, Gosford, Griffith,Hunter Valley, Windsor

VIC - Goulburn Valley, Sunraysia

TAS - North, West and South

SA - Adelaide Plains, Riverland

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Darwin, Katherine

 

Nutritional Value:

 

An excellent source of vitamin C. 100g of capsicum provides over seven times the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. A good source of vitamin B6, E and potassium. Red capsicum contains 105kJ/100g and green capsicum 65kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

7-10°C and 90 - 98% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.

 

 


Carrot

 

Botanical Name:

 

Daucus carotaSativus Group (Umbelliferae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Closely related to celery, parsnip and dill
  • A root crop
  • Bright orange root, green feathery leaves
  • Tapering shape.

Select carrots with good colour, bright orange - orange/red. Avoid cracked or sprouting carrots. Carrots should be firm and straight, showing no signs of bending or limpness.

 

Wash in cold water, peel thinly or use unpeeled. Trim the top and tail. Use whole, sliced, diced, julienned or grated in casseroles, soups, salads or cakes.

 

Carrots are grown from seed directly sown. Seeds usually germinate three - seven days after planting and emerge 6-15 days after planting.

 

The carrot is a temperate climate crop. In cooler climates it is grown throughout the year but summer production is difficult as high temperatures shorten the period of development and reduce yields. Carrots require nutritious soil and frequent irrigation throughout the growth stage.

 

Originating in Europe, the earliest known written records of the carrot come from Spain in the twelfth century. In fourteenth century Holland, fashionable ladies decorated their hair with the feathery leaves of the carrot.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Atherton Tablelands, Darling Downs, Fassifern Valley, Kalbar, Lockyer Valley.

NSW - Central Coast, Dareton, Finley, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Sunraysia, Windsor.

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Mornington Peninsula, Sunraysia.

TAS - North West Coast

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Riverland.

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas.

 

Nutritional Value:

 

An excellent source of vitamin A, a useful source of vitamin C and a good source of dietary fibre. 105kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 - 100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store unwashed in and airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

In the 17th century it was said that Dutch cows fed on carrots yielded the richest milk and the yellowest butter. While butter makers in other parts of Europe, using less well fed cows, coloured their butter by adding carrot juice to the churn.

 

In the 17th century English women often wore carrot leaves in their hats in place of flowers or feathers.

 

Carrots were first cultivated in Afghanistan in the 7th century; they were red, black yellow, white, purple – but never orange. The Dutch developed the orange carrot. In the 17th century the French developed the elongated carrot, ancestor of the ones we eat today. The English brought the carrot to the New World.

 

Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, was not very fond of carrots.

 

 


Carrot  -  Dutch

 

Description:

  • Small carrots sold in bunches with leaves still attached
  • About 5 to 8 cm long, tapered
  • Dirty orange in colour
  • Grown mostly in Victoria and NSW
  • Available: all year; peak supplies: March to September

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Atherton Tablelands, Darling Downs, Fassifern Valley, Kalbar, Lockyer Valley.

NSW - Central Coast, Dareton, Finley, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Sunraysia, Windsor.

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Mornington Peninsula, Sunraysia.

TAS - North West Coast

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Riverland.

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas.

 

 


Cauliflower

 

Botanical Name:

 

Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (Brassicaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Member of the cabbage family
  • White solid flower heads
  • Surrounded by green leaves
  • Related to cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts.

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 is most commonly used as a side vegetable, either boiled or steamed, and often served with a cheese sauce. It can also be cut into small raw florets and served with dip along with other vegetable crudites, or in salad and stir-fry. Cream of cauliflower soup is delicious and easy to prepare. Cauliflower is also well suited to vegetable pie and lasagne.

 

Cauliflower is a cool climate crop which grows in sandy soil. Regular irrigation is essential once young heads have formed.

 

The cauliflower is a member of the brassica family which also includes all kinds of cabbage, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts and kohlrabi. The word cauliflower is derived from two Latin words caulis which means stalk, stem or cabbage, and the floris which means flower. The cauliflower is native to the Mediterranean.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Gatton, Laidley, Lockyer Valley, Stanthorpe

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

VIC - Werribee

TAS - North West Coast

SA - Adelaide Hills, North Adelaide Plains, Riverland

WA - Carnarvon, Manjimup, Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Darwin, Katherine

 

Nutritional Value:

 

A good source of vitamin C, potassium and folic acid. 80kJ/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.

 

Broccoli and cauliflower are the only vegetables that are flowers.

 

 


Chilli

 

Botanical Name:

 

Capsicum annum

 

General Description/History:

 

There are a great man species of chillies, which are the fleshy pods of shrub-like bushes of he capsicum family. Chillies range from large to small, and colours include green, white, purple, pink, and red. Curiously, although synonymous with Indian food they were only brought to the sub-continent from South America some four centuries ago. They are now the most important heat agent in Indian cookery. They vary in hotness from mild to incendiary-like potency. Most commonly, small green or red chillies are used fresh. Red chillies can be dried and used whole, and chilli powder is made by grinding dried chillies.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Bowen, Bundaberg, Burdekin, Gatton, Gympie, Redland Bay, Stan-Thorpe

NSW - Camden, Dareton, Far North Coast, Gosford, Griffith, Hunter Valley, Windsor

VIC - Goulburn Valley, Sunraysia

TAS - North, West and South

SA - Adelaide Plains, Riverland

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Darwin, Katherine

 

 


Celery

 

Botanical Name:

 

Apium graveolens var. dulce (Umbelliferae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Related to carrots, fennel, parsnips and parsley
  • Has umbrella shaped flowers
  • Long pale green stalks
  • Darker green broad leaves
  • 40-50cm in height.

Select bunches with a good tight formation. Leaves should be fresh and branches “stalks) should be very upright and snap crisply and easily. Avoid small hard stalks which are frequently very stringy, woody and too strong in flavour. Brown or cracked bunches should be avoided.

 

Wash stalk and cut into lengths to use in dips and fill with peanut butter or cream cheese. Celery finely sliced is great in soups, salads and stir-fries.

 

Celery is biennial taking two seasons to produce seeds and complete its life-cycle. During its first season it grows vegetatively and during its second season the main stem elongates and the branches produce a shrubby plant. Because celery requires a long cool growing season with cool nights, temperature is very important.

 

Plants need generous feeding to grow quickly, otherwise stems become course and stringy.

 

Originally, celery was a wild plant found in the marshes of Europe, North Africa and southern Asia where ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans considered celery as a gift from the gods, capable of rejuvenating the human body and mind. In Rome, a stalk of celery was thought to be a cure for both constipation and hangover. In Egypt, the stalks were used to cure all masculine dysfunctions while the tuberous root was prescribed for female disorders.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Gatton, Stanthorpe, Toowoomba NSW Gosford, Hunter Valley, Windsor

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area

SA - Adelaide Plains

WA - Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

 

Nutritional Value:

 

A moderate source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and dietary fibre. 50kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90-100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.

 

 


Cucumber

 

Botanical Name:

 

Cucumis, sativus (Cucurbitaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Related to melon, squash and pumpkin
  • Elongated cylindrical shape
  • Botanically a fruit
  • Crisp tender skin, either dark green/yellow/white
  • Juicy flesh, cool to taste
  • Soft edible seeds surrounded by translucent gel.

When buying cucumbers choose those that are firm, fresh and with good green colour (with the exception of apple and white varieties). The shade of the colour is important. A deep green colour assures the buyer that the cucumbers have recently come from the vine, whilst a dull green or yellow colour indicates age. The stem end of the cucumber should be firm, thus indicating its freshness. Poor quality is obvious when the skin has a decided give when pressure is lightly applied.

 

Wash, slice and eat raw with skin on. Use in salads, as an accompaniment to Indian curries. Use as hors-d’oeuvres sliced ½cm thick and topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

 

Cucumbers grow on trailing or climbing vines. They require warm dry conditions for growth, humid conditions will cause shrivelling. Cucumbers need plenty of water, are frost sensitive and will be killed by mild frosts. They start bearing 8-10 weeks from sowing.

 

This vegetable is a native of the region of Pakistan where the Indus River makes the land muddy and fertile, suitable for its growth.

 

Studies by archaeologists tell us that traces of cucumber spores have been unearthed in spirit caves as far off as Burma and Thailand. This indicates that thousands of years before formal agriculture existed, the cucumber was offered up as appeasement to the Gods by the early Asians.

 

Ancient Greeks mixed the pulp of the cucumber with honey and snow, and dished it up only on special occasions, while the Romans, known for their exotic diet, served cucumbers every day of the week when they were in season. The Israelites and Egyptians ate this cylindrical green vegetable at every meal, dipped into bowls of salted water, for it was believed that the ingestion of three raw cucumbers daily protected the human body from the bite of deadly insects and vipers.

 

The phrase “cool as a cucumber” is thought to have come about due to the fact that on a hot day, the inside of a cucumber will be six degrees cooler than the outside air.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Bowen, Bundaberg, Redland Bay, Stanthorpe

NSW - Dareton, Gosford, Hunter Valley, North Coast, Windsor,

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Sunraysia

TAS - North West

SA - Adelaide Plains, Riverland

WA - Carnarvon, Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Batchelor, Darwin, Katherine.

 

Nutritional Value:

 

A good source of vitamin C and dietary fibre. 50kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

7-10°C and 90 - 98% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in the refrigerator crisper.

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

Early varieties of cucumbers often did not grow straight. To solve this problem, the Chinese grew their cucumbers on a trellis and suspended stones from the ends of the fruit to ensure a nice, "straight" cucumber!

 

In 1988 the EEC (European Economic Commission) introduced legislation about the degree of curvature of a cucumber stating that 'Extra' and Class 1 cucumbers must "be well shaped and practically straight (maximum height of the arc: 10 mm per 10 cm of length of the cucumber)."

 

 

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