‘Hard’ herbs often grow through the winter and have woody stems. They include bay, rosemary and sage. These herbs are hardier and keep their flavour throughout prolonged cooking. They are the herbs that are added at the beginning of cooking.
‘Soft’ herbs such as basil, coriander, thyme, tarragon, dill, marjoram and parsley are added at the end of cooking to finish off the dish.
Choose clean, crisp leaves and refrigerate in the original packaging or place in plastic bags in the crisper. Make sure leaves are not squashed. Alternatively, if the herbs still have their roots attached, place the roots in a jar of water and leave in a cool place, but do not refrigerate.
For more information about specific herbs and their availability, visit the Select a vegetable page on herbs.
A new 5+ a day survey has shed some light on how Kiwis enjoy vegetables and fruit.
The survey found 36% of New Zealanders eat the recommended daily 5+ servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, with dinner being the meal where the most fresh produce is eaten.
65% of all Kiwis have 2-3 different types of vegetables at dinner, with residents of the upper North Island (excluding Auckland) topping the variety stakes.
36% of those in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Northland eat the widest variety of vegetables including 4+ different types of vegetables on their dinner plate, while 15% enjoy 5+ different types.
However, Aucklanders are behind in the amount of vegetable variety they eat and they are slightly less likely than other Kiwis to eat their greens, with only 32% doing so.
36% of lower North Island residents, including those from Wellington, Wairarapa, Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay, eat the recommended daily 5+ servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. Figures show this is slightly higher than other areas of New Zealand.
South Islanders are kitchen masters when it comes to slicing and dicing fresh produce, with 57% saying they are very confident when it comes to preparing fruit and vegetables, while only 7% lack confidence.
51% of the overall population say they are very confident when preparing fresh produce, but only 45% of Aucklanders report being very confident and 12% are quite unsure or very unsure.
41% of women eat 5+ servings of fresh produce a day, while only 27% of men do the same.
When a snack attack hits, 78% of Kiwis pick fruit and vegetables to nibble on.
For more information on the Take the 5+ a day Challenge visit this page.
Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and is celebrated on the first day of the Chinese calendar – January 31st in 2014 – the celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar – in 2014, January 30th – to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar.
The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, as well as by Chinese populations anywhere. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name.
For recipes featuring Asian vegetables use the Meal Idea Search box on the website.
For more information about Asian vegetables, visit this page.
Can beetroot juice improve both your sports performance and your general health?
Beetroot juice has featured in the news over this past year promoting benefits which could have applications to both sports performance and general health.
The active ingredient in beetroot that is the new ‘super-compound’ is inorganic nitrate (NO3). Beetroot is particularly rich in nitrates, however, other vegetables, such as celery, lettuce, rocket and spinach (which all have a nitrate content of around 2500mg/kg), leeks, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi and parsley (1000-2500g/ kg), and cabbage and carrot juice (500- 1000mg/kg); are also good sources.
Athletes have been the first group to realise the performance-enhancing benefits of nitrates from beetroot. Recent evidence shows that when athletes take either a single dose of beetroot juice prior to exercise, or drink it over 3-15 days, they experience an enhancement in capacity by experiencing a reduction in the oxygen cost of exercise.
Sports that would benefit from this type of supplementation are cycling and running events that last from 4-30 minutes in duration. .
The general population is also benefiting from this new evidence with a connection made between beetroot juice consumption and the reduction of hytertension. More research is needed on the exciting new benefits of this well known vegetable.
Caryn Zinn PhD. NZ registered Dietitian; AUT Senior Lecturer. Source: Nutrition Foundation Dec 2013 Newsletter
Go to the home page of vegetables.co.nz to look for recipes that feature beetroot – the beetroot and carrot juice recipe shown above can be found here, and find out more about beetroot on the Beetroot select a vegetable page.
Recent Australian research shows lettuce is the most popular vegetable eaten at a barbecue so try something different this summer and grill it.
A wide range of vegetables are capable of being eaten at the traditional family barbecue, either in salads, cooked on the barbecue, or as part of a tasty and colourful vegetable kebab for the grill.
Over 500 Australians were recently surveyed in a study which showed that the following vegetables were used at barbecues: lettuce 29%, cucumbers 22%, capsicums 20%, sweetcorn 17%, courgettes 11%, cabbage 11%, celery 10%, baby spinach 10%.
The research was funded by the Australian National Vegetable Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.
The full story can be read at http://ausveg.com.au/media-release/research-reveals-most-popular-veggie-bbq-hits
The University of Chicago Center for Mathematics and Science Education has evaluated a school programme called ‘Delicious, Nutritious Adventures’ (DNA).
The programme runs in 30 Chicago schools and teaches more than 5,000 children a year about healthy eating. It provides interactive and fun nutrition education classes and focusses on eating what is good for the body and the planet.
The Study indicates that the programme helps kids:
- Become interested in trying new foods.
- Believe healthy foods taste great.
- Understand the importance of healthy eating.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables – 77% of parents said they agree or somewhat agree that their kids eat more vegetables, and 81% agree or somewhat agree that their kids eat more fruit after attending the programme.
Let’s teach Kiwi kids more about eating fresh New Zealand grown vegetables.
Visit the Resources section on the website for leaflets about increasing the amount of vegetables in Kiwi meals.
The Heart Foundation has launched its new visual food guide.
This has been a two-and-a-half year project to develop a replacement for the old Heart Foundation food pyramid (withdrawn in 2005). The pre-testing with the general public found the new Food Guide to be an engaging, positive and supportive tool that felt friendly and do-able.
So what’s different from the old food pyramid?
- The pyramid has been turned on its head, putting the best at the top. Vegetables and fruit take up the biggest proportion of the ‘Healthy Heart’ to show we should ‘eat most’ of them.
- It includes a health oils and nuts food group, as these are important for heart health.
- Starchy vegetables are included with other starchy foods like breads, cereals and grains.
- Instead of being a pyramid, it is in a heart shape to show its focus on eating for a healthy heart.
- It focuses on proportional volume of foods rather than number of servings. This was in direct response to the baseline research where people strongly indicated that they didn’t want numbers or too much detail.
Information on the ‘Healthy Heart’ can be accessed here:
There are four main ‘Healthy Heart’ tools available:
- Posters in A1, A3 and A4 size. These can be ordered or downloaded here.
- Tear off pad with a basic version of the guide and simple tips to get started on the back.
- Background guide for health professionals.
- A web app for consumers with a meal planner that shows how the selected dishes fill up the ‘Healthy Heart’, available here.
The ‘Healthy Heart’ was developed by a team from Te Hotu Manawa Māori, Pacific Heartbeat, the Health Promotion Agency, Paradigm Associates, and the Heart Foundation.
If you’d like to find out more about the research that went into the development of the ‘Healthy Heart’, brief summaries are available at the bottom of this link.
Roasted red capsicum salsa – the perfect accompaniment for a new season boiled potato.
Recently, Home Economics and Technology teachers attended a Vegetable Tapas and Wine Event at The New Zealand School of Food & Wine in Auckland.
Create this dish at home using this NZ School of Food & Wine recipe.
Roast red capsicum salsa
1 red capsicum
2 spring onions, sliced
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
½ Tbsp fish sauce
fresh lime or lemon for juice
Blacken the capsicum skin using a barbecue, gas hob or under a hot grill.
Remove and immediately place in a plastic bag. Close the bag to steam the capsicum. Leave to cool.
Remove from the bag pouring any juices into a bowl.
Rub the skin off the capsicum and slice.
Place into the bowl with the spring onions and coriander.
Add the fish sauce and pour over just enough olive oil to give the mixture a good sheen without making it too liquid.
Squeeze over the fresh lime or lemon juice.
Serve under a boiled new potato.
Food writer Helen Jackson wins fresh New Zealand vegetables at a recent NZ Guild of Food Writers’ event.
Summer is coming and a great range of fresh New Zealand grown vegetables are available to enjoy, cooked or raw.
Remember to store vegetables correctly – no vegetables or fruit should ever be stored in direct sunlight.
- Vegetables to store in a well ventilated, cool dark place, include potatoes, kumara and whole pumpkins.
- Vegetables to store out of the refrigerator in a cool place, include tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chilli peppers.
- Vegetables to store in the chiller or crisper part of the refrigerator, include salad vegetables such as lettuce, cucumber, carrots, capsicums, sprouts, celery, radishes and spring onions.
To find out how to store a specific vegetable, go to the Select a Vegetable section of the website and choose the vegetable from the list.
Vegetables.co.nz has QR codes for fresh New Zealand grown vegetables. There are 51 different QR codes, one for each different vegetable. Scan the code with your mobile phone and you will be taken directly to recipes for that particular vegetable.
A QR code is a square two dimensional barcode that holds information about the product it is on and which is readable by smart phones with the QR code reading App which can be downloaded for free.
We have been promoting the QR codes at various conferences during the year, with QR codes on tables at our stand. The picture above is from the Dietitians’ New Zealand Conference.