Apples

Storage

  • In a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.

Preparation

  • Wash and dry apples well before cooking or eating.

Cooking

  • Stew: Peel and slice apples and place in saucepan with water to cover about 1/3 of the fruit. Simmer until apples are soft, adding a little more water if necessary.

Add flavour

  • Apples are a quick and tasty snack eaten raw or as part of a fruit platter.
  • Top breakfast cereal with stewed apple and cinnamon.
  • Serve sliced or grated apple with low fat yoghurt for dessert.

Vege up

  • Add grated or sliced apple to coleslaws and salads.
  • Combine with chopped bananas, pears and canned peaches (in juice) for a fruit salad.
  • Combine grated apple, carrot and low fat edam cheese for school lunchboxes.

Asparagus

Storage

  • Keep asparagus refrigerated with butt ends either wrapped in wet paper towels; or
  • Stand up in a jar with 12cm of water (like flowers in a vase); or
  • Wash,then refrigerate in plastic bags.

Preparation

  • Choose straight firm green stems. Fresh asparagus is ‘squeaky’ – when the spears are gently rubbed they squeak; old asparagus is rubbery and doesn’t squeak.
  • Snap or slice off tough ends before cooking.Asparagus for use in salads is generally blanched,however, if the asparagus is thin and fresh it can be used raw.

Cooking

  • Lightly steam, stir fry, microwave, boil, bake or barbecue asparagus.

Add flavour

  • Serve asparagus with light mayonnaise, cottage cheese, hollandaise or aioli. It can be used in soups,quiches, pies, salads, stir fries, or eaten with fresh bread.
  • To retain the colour, add a little lemon juice or vinegar when cooking and cook for a very short amount of time using a method such as stir frying.

Vege up

  • Asparagus is one of the highest vegetable sources of folate and is also a source of riboflavin, vitamins C and K, plus contains a dietary significant amount of potassium. Asparagus ends can be used to flavour soups or stocks. Cooked asparagus should be tender but slightly crisp. For maximum flavour, don’t overcook!

Avocado

Storage
  • Buy several days in advance, when still hard, and store at room temperature.
  • To speed up ripening, store next to a banana or in a paper bag with a banana.
  • Once ripened, store in the fridge for up to a week.

Preparation

  • Cut in half, remove stone and skin. Chop or mash as required.
  • Avocados brown easily so cut just before use.
  • Squirt with lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.

Add flavour

  • Avocado goes especially well with tomatoes, lemon,garlic, garlic, chilli, parsley or coriander and vegemite/marmite.
  • Try it on toast as it is or with tomato.

Vege up

  • Add avocados to salads and sandwiches.
  • Use instead of butter on bread or crackers.

Bananas

Storage

  • Store bananas in a cool, dry area for 3-4 days.

Preparation

  • Peel skin and enjoy bananas fresh.
  • If using for baking, peel bananas and mash in a bowl with the back of a fork.

Cooking

  • Freeze overripe bananas to keep for use in cake and muffin recipes.

Add flavour

  • Slice bananas on toast or cereal and add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Blend frozen, peeled bananas with a sprinkle of cocoa and other fruits for a tasty alternative to ice cream.
  • Serve sliced banana with low fat yoghurt for dessert.

Vege up

  • Slice banana and combine with sliced apple or pear and drained, canned peaches for a quick fruit salad.
  • Combine sliced banana with kumara and other vegetables for a tasty salad, served warm or cold.
  • They are great as a sandwich filling with peanut butter or marmite, or put them in school lunches.

Beetroot

Storage

  • In plastic bags or loose in the vegetable section of refrigerator.

Preparation

  • Scrub clean under water with a soft brush.Slice off stems and leaves.
  • Slice beetroot into chunks or rounds.

Cooking

  • Boil in a covered pot of water for approximately 20 minutes or until just tender (longer for larger beetroot – 45 minutes). Cool and peel by rubbing the skin off with your hands.
  • Peel beetroot, cut in half and microwave in a covered dish on high for 3 minutes each beetroot, or until tender.
  • Cover beetroot in tinfoil and roast in oven at 180°C for approximately 45 minutes.

Add flavour

  • Chop beetroot into chunks, drizzle over 1 Tbsp oil combined with 1 Tbsp honey and roast for 30 minutes.

Vege up

  • Add sliced, cooked beetroot to homemade hamburgers.
  • Add roast or boiled beetroot to roast vegetable salads with pumpkin, kumara, potatoes or carrots.
  • Add 1 cup pureed beetroot to cake or muffin mixes.

Broccoli

Storage

  • In the vegetable section of the fridge.

Preparation

  • Wash well and peel the skin off the stem.
  • Slice broccoli into florets and the stem into cubes.

Cooking

  • Boil in water, covered for 5 minutes or until just tender.
  • Steam over boiling water for 5 minutes or until just tender.
  • Microwave in a covered container with a little water (2 Tbsp) for 3 minutes.

Add flavour

  • Stirfry with a little oil, soy sauce and crushed garlic.
  • Top with a little grated cheese (low fat such as Edam).
  • Stirfry with other vegetables and add 1 tsp fresh ginger and 1 Tbsp honey.

Vege up

  • Add to soups, curries and stews.
  • Add lightly boiled broccoli to pasta bakes and stirfries.
  • Use raw or lightly cooked broccoli as a vegetable stick with hummus and other low fat dips.

Cabbage

Storage

  • Refrigerate in vegetable drawer.

Preparation

  • Remove tough outer leaves and cut cabbage into quarters. Cut out the thick core of each.
  • Rinse cabbage quarters well and slice thinly.

Cooking

  • Boil in a covered pot of water for 2-3 minutes or until just tender and slightly crunchy.
  • Steam over boiling water for 4 minutes or until just tender.
  • Microwave on high for 2 minutes in a covered container with a little water.

Add flavour

  • Stirfry in a little oil and garlic, add one apple,sliced or grated.
  • Cook in a frying pan with a can of crushed pineapple (including juice).

Vege up

  • Add cabbage to stir fries (near the end of cooking).
  • Add to vegetable soups, salads and stews.

Capsicum

Storage

  • Store whole capsicums in the vegetable compartment of the fridge or in a cool dark well ventilated cupboard.
  • Fresh capsicum should keep well for 4-5 days in the fridge.

Preparation

  • Wash the capsicum.
  • Cut the stem and cap off the top of the capsicum and remove the seeds from the top.
  • Cut into slices or chunks as wanted.
  • Excess capsicum can be sliced and kept in sealed plastic bags in the fridge.

Cooking

  • Stir-fry sliced capsicum, for 1-3 minutes.
  • Brush halved capsicums with a little olive oil and out on the BBQ or a hot pan, peel off the charred skin and use whole or mash to add to sauces for extra flavour.

Add flavour

  • Sliced raw capsicums add great colour and texture to summer salads and are delicious for scooping up humus and dips on vegetable platters.
  • Capsicums are delicious stuffed with mince or rice and other vegetables. Just slice off the top scoop out the seeds and fill, stand on a baking tray and roast.

Vege up

  • Add to stir-fry dishes and omelettes, mince and stews.
  • Capsicums are a great main option for vegetarian meals.
  • Capsicums are great to use on pizza, with pasta or in sandwiches.

Carrots

Last updated 6 September 2017.