Vegetable Guide


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Witlof

 

Botanical Name:

 

Cichorium intybus (Compositae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Related to the lettuce, endive, artichoke and raddichio
  • Narrow, elongated bulbous clusters of leaves
  • 15cm in height
  • 5cm in diameter.

Select fresh, clean leaves that are creamy white to light yellow, with no signs of decay or wilting. Choose witlof which are heavy for their size, with firm heads and free of brown discolouration.

 

Wash in cold water and dry. Trim the base and use leaves whole or sliced uncooked in salads.

 

Witlof can be cooked by steaming, boiling or microwaving.

 

Witlof is cultivated in two stages. Firstly, witlof is grown from seed, and after approximately 5 months, produces a root beneath the ground, resembling a turnip On top of the root and above the ground, lush green leaves are produced, these leaves are removed and the roots are harvested. Secondly, the roots are coolstored and then placed in special growing trays in hydroponic rooms. The temperature in these rooms, and the water quality are strictly controlled and in four weeks, the clean white heads are ready to be picked.

 

Witlof, or witloof, means whiteleaf for the reason of its appearance. It was discovered in the mid 1 800ís in Belgium. It was not until 1873 that it first appeared at an exhibition. The first sales of witlof were held in 1913. In those times the method of producing witlof from the roots, was to put the roots into large pits under the earth and to keep them in the dark for a period of time, after which the new white leaves form the characteristic tapered white head at the top of the root.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Belgian Endive

Chicory

Witloof

 

Growing Areas:

 

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Areas, Monbulk

SA - Adelaide Hills

 

Nutritional Value:

 

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

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0įC and 90 -100% relative humidity. Keep covered and away from cooling fans and ethylene producing products.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

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

 

 


Zucchini

 

Botanical Name:

 

Cucurbita spp

 

General Description/History:

  • Related to squash, pumpkin and cucumber
  • Elongated cylindrical squash 20-40cm long and 3-5cm in diameter
  • White, crisp flesh
  • A core of soft edible seeds
  • An upright plant
  • The plant has short runners.

Select zucchini with glossy, blemish free skin. Avoid zucchini that show any soft spots or signs of withering.

 

Zucchini can be boiled, baked or fried. Use raw in salads, grated and baked in cakes. Zucchini is extremely versatile, cut into sticks, ribbons or circles and added to stir-fry.

 

Zucchini belongs to the same plant family as cucumbers and pumpkins. They grow on a upright plant with short runners. They are prolific bearers, and grow quickly, starting to bear 7-9 weeks after planting.

 

Zucchini originated in Italy and was popular in the Mediterranean region for hundreds of years before it became popular in the western world.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Courgette

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Bowen, Bundaberg, Burdekin, Fassifern Valley, Lockyer Valley, Stanthorpe

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

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Sunraysia, Werribee,

TAS - North West

SA - Adelaide Plains, Riverland

WA - Carnarvon Perth Metropolitan Outer Areas

NT - Batchelor, Darwin, Katherine

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Zucchini are an excellent source of vitamin C and low in sodium. 60kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

7-10įC and 90 - 98% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Store in an airtight plastic bin the refrigerator crisper.

 

 

Sanitation

 

Olympic Providores is approved through the NSW Food Authority and is HACCP Acredited.

 

Sanitation of Processed Fruit and Vegetables.

 

HACCP Accredited Ė All products are sanitised, washed accordingly and products spin dried where required to customer specifications.

 

Food Product Micro testing performed every 2 weeks at a local Laboratory including Processed and Ready to Eat Food Products.

 

Fresh Food Safety

 

Washing

  • Produce that looks mouldy or smells "off" should be discarded.
  • Discard outer leaves of leafy vegetables before washing.
  • All fresh produce should be thoroughly washed under cool, running tap water, making sure all dirt has been removed before preparing or eating.
  • Even if you are going to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash first as bacteria on the outer surface can be transferred to the inner flesh.
  • Scrub firm whole produce such as melons, carrots and cucumbers with a clean vegetable scrub brush.
  • Donít use detergents, soaps or bleach when washing produce as these products can chemically contaminate food.
  • Dry fruit and vegetables with a clean cloth or paper towel.

 

Preparing

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Clean all surfaces and utensils, such as cutting boards, counter tops, knives and peelers that come into contact with fresh produce with hot water and soap. A mild bleach solution can be applied to cutting boards and bench tops every now and again.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh produce as bacteria can grow in these areas then clean your knife to prevent contaminating the rest of the produce.
  • The bruised or damaged portions should be removes and thrown away.
  • Once prepared, immediately place peeled or cut produce into a separate container or onto a clean plate.

 

Food safety for fresh produce

 

In Australia we enjoy one of the safest supplies of fresh produce in the world. Nevertheless it is still very important for consumers to maintain good hygiene practices in the selection, storage and preparation of all fruit and vegetables.

 

Although raw, whole fruit and vegetables are categorised as low food safety risks, there is an increased risk of contamination once produce is damaged, cut or processed, or when unwashed raw produce is mixed with other foods.

 

To reduce the risk of contamination and ensure safe handling at home we suggest following these guidelines.

 

*Note - Some people may be allergic to certain fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly nuts and seeds. Many nuts are processed on the same machinery, so traces may contaminate other varieties. If in doubt, read the label or ask the retailer.

 

Buying

  • Choose fresh fruit and vegetables that are not damaged or bruised.
  • Do not handle cut produce on display as this can spread germs onto the surface of the products. Use serving utensils where provided.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables should never be consumed without being washed so donít eat loose grapes or cherries directly from the display shelves.
  • If produce should drop on the floor in the store, donít replace it on the display shelf.
  • Fresh cut produce, like packaged salads, should be properly refrigerated.
  • Separate fresh produce by placing each type in individual plastic or paper bags before putting them together into a carton or shopping bag.

  • Bag fresh produce separately from raw foods such as meat, seafood and dairy products and also keep separate from household chemicals.
  • During summer use an esky or cooler-bag to carry fresh produce if you are not going to get them home immediately or may leave them in the car for long periods.
  • Only buy your fresh fruit and vegetables from a reputable retail source and especially avoid the temptation to buy field or wild mushrooms from road side sellers as some types, which may look appetizing, contain naturally occurring poisons.

Storing

  • Correct storage is important to the safety of fresh produce. It also assists in maintaining flavour and texture.
  • Perishable fresh produce (e.g. strawberries, lettuce, herbs and mushrooms) should be stored in a clean refrigerator at below 4oC, preferably in a separate salad compartment.
  • Refrigerate all cut, peeled or cooked fresh fruit and vegetables within two hours.
  • Prepared salads should not be left in the refrigerator for more than 3 days.
  • Leftover cut fruit and vegetables should be thrown away if left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Putting it back in the refrigerator may create a safety risk.

Remember the 6 C's of fresh food safety

 

Choose a reputable retailer

Check for damage or bruising

Carry produce in separate bags

Chill perishable and cut produce

Clean all fruit and vegetables before use

Consign old leftover cut produce to the bin

 

 

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