Olde MacKenzie Farm

Artichokes

Artichokes were brought to North America by Italian immigrants, the artichoke grows wild in the south of Europe but is cultivated in North America. An artichoke is a big thistle plant, native to the Mediterranean.

Artichokes are low in calories; one large artichoke contains only 25 calories, no fat, 170 milligrams of potassium, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and is a good source of vitamin C, folate, magnesium, dietary fiber and Niacin, Vitamin B6, Iron and Phosphorus, Vitamin K, Potassium, and Copper.

The trick to keep artichokes healthy is to keep dressings, sauces and dips low in fat, too.


The globes are best used while they are fresh. However, they can keep well if stored inside the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag for up to a week.
Artichokes require little preparation when cooking. To prepare globes, rinse them in cold running water. Trim away the stem leaving about 1 inch from the base. Remove the lower layers of scales as they do not contain any flesh. Trim the tip of the globe top using a paring knife up to an inch. Spread out the globe and then scrape off the central choke. Rub a lemon slice over cut portion to prevent it turning brown. Then, the globe is boiled in water upside down with some added salt and lemon juice until it gets soft.
To eat artichokes, take off individual leaf at a time, dip in your favorite sauce, and scrape off the fleshy base with your teeth.
Be sure to provide a plate to pile discarded leaves.

A Couple More Facts:
Artichokes can be enjoyed as they are. They can also be mixed with vegetables, beans, meat or stuffed with seafood.
The heart of the artichoke is the main part that is eaten.
Its stems, which are often thrown away, can also be eaten. The stem, tastes like that of hearts.

Arugula

Arugula

Arugulas tender leaves add a mildly spicy touch to fresh salads. The greens can be cooked, as well, and make an incredible topping for pizza. Leaves become a bit tougher and distinctly hotter in flavour. We like to grow arugula from early spring to early summer, and then from the end of summer right into winter.
Like other greens, arugula is one of very low calorie vegetable. 100 g of fresh leaves provides just 25 calories. Nonetheless it has many vital phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can immensely benefit health. Arugula is good in minerals especially copper and iron. In addition it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.
Fresh greens may also used in soups, stews, and juices.
Poke a few holes in a zippered plastic bag and place a dry paper towel inside it. Fill the bag loosely with dry arugula leaves and zip it three quarters of the way shut. Store this very perishable green in the refrigerator crisper for three to five days.

Place the leaves in a large bowl of cold water and swish thoroughly as you do it in cases of other greens like spinach in order to remove sand, soil, dirt. Then drain the water, gently pat dry using moisture absorbent cloth before use in cooking. OR use a salad spinner.

Beans - Green, yellow and purple

Fresh beans (green, yellow and purple) are very low in calories and are very good source of vitamins, especially A and minerals. Dietary fiber has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Fresh beans are also a good source of folates, and vitamin B-12 and B-6. Beans contain healthy amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, which are very essential for body metabolism. Selection and storage

To store, place them in a perforated plastic bag and keep inside the refrigerator set at high relative humidity. They keep well for up to a week. Tupperware also offers Fridgesmarts; which can extend the life of all vegetables.
Many people wonder about the possibility of freezing green - green beans are definitely a vegetable that can be frozen. Freezing beans, retain valuable amounts of nutrients for 3-6 months after freezing. If you don't have fresh green beans available on a year-round basis, frozen beans are a nutritionally valuable option.
Within the CSA we do offer pick your own beans days so you have a chance to freeze and can. Speak to Jeff or Carey for more information.
Purple beans will turn green with cooked.
Freezing beans – bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the beans in for a few seconds until they turn a bright colour. Do not let the purple beans turn completely green. Remove the beans, let some of the water drip off. Place the beans on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer. Once the beans are frozen put in a freezer bag for storage. Don’t forget to write the date on them incase you loose them in the freezer.

Beets

Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetables. Certain unique pigment antioxidants present in roots as well as top greens have found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels in the body and have anti-aging effects.
Use beets raw in salads, pickled of course, boiled with sauces, baked with other root vegetables or in soups. The roots have many health benefits and the greens are even more nutritious, containing minerals, vitamins and fiber. Try baby beet leaf with a mixed salad and light mustard vinaigrette. Top greens should be used while they are fresh. Beetroot, however, can be kept in the refrigerator set at high relative humidity for few weeks.

We like to grill them on the BBQ. We will cut-off the greens, brush with Olive oil and grill until tender. Approx. 15-20 minutes depending on the size. We will peel off the skin and enjoy with spreadable goat cheese.
Beets are also an excellent source of hearth-healthy folate and a very good source of the antioxidant manganese and heart-healthy potassium. Beets are a good source of digestive-supportive dietary fiber, free radical scavenging vitamin C and copper, bone-healthy magnesium, and energy-producing iron and phosphorus.
The greens are also very healthy

Beet Greens

Beet Greens
Also see beets
beet greens - are not used as much as some other greens and are often needlessly discarded. You may find them even more enjoyable than many popular greens - young beet leaves are full of flavor. When the leaves are tiny, they make a delicious addition to the salad bowl, both in terms of nutrition and flavour. They can also be steamed and used as other cooking greens.
Wash in fresh cold water thoroughly. Add fresh, raw beet leaves to the salad with other greens. Pat them dry after washing, or spin in the salad spinner, and cut away the stems.

Bok Choi

Bok Choi, also known as bak choi, pak choi and bok choy, Chinese chard cabbage and Chinese mustard cabbage is a vegetable that resembles celery although it is actually a member of the cabbage family.
It has thick, white stalks and dark green leaves that have a round shape. It is becoming popular to use for cooking because it has a mild taste, similar to cabbage, and can be used in many recipes, either raw, as in salads, or cooked for use in soups and in stir-fries.
One half cup of raw bok choi, which is approximately 56 grams, contains only 10 calories. Additionally, bok choi contains no fat or cholesterol and is a good source of calcium. It is also low in sodium and high in vitamins C and A. Because both bok choi's stalks and leaves can be used in salads, it also provides a delicious and healthy meal.

It is one of the recommended vegetables in the zero calorie or negative calorie category of foods which when eaten would add no extra weight to the body but in-turn facilitate calorie burns and reduction of weight.
Like other brassica family vegetables, bok choy contains certain anti oxidant plant chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Along with dietary fiber, vitamins these compounds help to protect against breast, colon and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood.


Once at home store whole bok choy in the vegetable compartment in the refrigerator set at high relative humidity. If stored appropriately, it stays fresh for up to 3-4 days without the loss of many nutrients. However bok choy is more nutritious, sweeter and flavorful when used fresh.


Trim the base and remove outer discolored leaves. Wash the whole vegetable in cold water. Gently pat dry or place it upside down till all the water drained out.

Brussels Sprouts

Like broccoli, these little "bonsai cabbages" are full of beta carotene, vitamin C and fiber. We grow Brussels sprouts for harvest in the fall and early winter.

Brussel sprouts are small leafy green buds that resemble miniature cabbages in appearance. The buds are exceptionally rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which work wonders to get rid of many health troubles. Brussel sprouts are an incredibly nutritious vegetable that offers protection from vitamin A deficiency, bone loss, iron deficiency anaemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and, colon and prostate cancers.

Fresh sprouts keep well in the refrigerator for up to a day or two. Remove any damaged or discolored outer leaves and store fresh unwashed sprouts in plastic bags/zip pouches in the vegetable container of the refrigerator.

Broccoli

•Broccoli can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming.
•Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body's detoxification system,
•Broccoli is high in our vitamin D.
•Broccoli is a particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. Kaempferol lessens the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. of broccoli for a hypoallergenic diet. Broccoli should be uniformly colored, either dark green, sage or purple-green, depending upon variety.

Place broccoli in a plastic bag, removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Store in the refrigerator where it may keep for 10 days. Do not wash broccoli before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage. Partial heads of broccoli should be placed in a well-sealed container or plastic bag and refrigerated.

Rinse broccoli under cold running water. Cut florets into quarters for quick and even cooking. Be sure to enjoy the stems and leaves of broccoli; they provide a good balance of flavors. Peel the broccoli stem and cut the stem into 1/2" slices.

If you're cooking broccoli, use a low cooking temperature in a range that includes the steaming temperature of 212°F (100°C), with a cooking times of 5 minutes at the most. Since the fibrous stems take longer to cook, they can be prepared separately for a few minutes before adding the florets. Most people do not generally eat the leaves, they are perfectly edible and contain concentrated amounts of nutrients.

If you enjoy raw broccoli, by all means include it in your diet! With fresh raw broccoli, simple slicing a few minutes prior to eating or thorough chewing of unsliced pieces will help activate sulfur-metabolizing enzymes.

Broccoli is an excellent source of immune-supportive vitamin C, anti-inflammatory vitamin K, free-radical-scavenging vitamin A . It is a very good source of enzyme-activating manganese; muscular-system-supporting potassium, protein, and magnesium; energy-producing vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and phosphorus; and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, it is a good source of energy-producing vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, and iron; bone-healthy calcium; and immune-supportive zinc and vitamin E.

Cabbage

The cabbage is derived from a leafy wild mustard plant, native to the Mediterranean region. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans; The English name derives from the French/Norman caboche ("head"). The dense core of the cabbage is called the 'babchka.' It is related to the turnip and broccoli, kale and collards.

Cabbage can provide cholesterol-lowering benefits if you steam it. Raw cabbage also has cholesterol-lowering ability, just not as much as steamed cabbage. Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C and K. It is also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). It also contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

Green cabbage is the most commonly eaten variety of cabbage, we recommend trying red cabbage because of its added nutritional benefits and its robust hearty flavor.

Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research with regard to cabbage and its outstanding benefits. The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food. The three types are (1) antioxidant richness, (2) anti-inflammatory richness, and (3) richness in glucosinolates.

Keeping cabbage cold will keep it fresh and help it retain its vitamin C content. Put the whole head in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Red and green cabbage will keep this way for about 2 weeks.

If you notice any signs of worms or insects, which sometimes appears in cabbage, soak the head in salt water for 15-20 minutes first. To preserve its vitamin C content, cut and wash the cabbage right before cooking or eating it.

Cut cabbage into smaller pieces, first quarter it and remove the core. Cabbage can be cut into slices of varying thickness, grated by hand or shredded in a food processor.

Culinary uses:
Thoroughly cleaned cabbage can be eaten raw, sliced or grated and added to vegetable salad preparations.
Trimmed whole leaves can go well with sandwiches and veg burgers.
Stir fried cabbage, onion, garlic, bell pepper and green chillies mixed with steamed rice and soya/chilli/tomato sauce is one of the favorite dishes (Chowmein) in china and other South East Asian regions.
Also used to prepare a kind of soup with added beet juice and yogurt known as "borscht", is very popular in eastern European nations.

Carrots

The wild ancestors of the modern carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) probably first appeared in the regions of modern Iran and Afghanistan. The plants were cultivated primarily for their aromatic leaves and seeds, as the roots were woody, bitter, and white. Centuries of selective breeding resulted in softened roots and increased sugar content, but it wasn’t until the 17th century when Dutch growers produced the familiar orange carrot we know and grow today.

The culinary versatility of carrots, combined with their nutrition, ease of growth, and centuries of cultivation, has resulted in a spectrum of shapes, sizes, and colours. Discovering a favourite variety requires some experimentation, but each has its own distinctive qualities. Among the vegetables we consider modern Western carrots, there are four primary groups: Imperator, Chantenay, Danvers, and Nantes.

Imperator types are the commonest ones you might see in a supermarket. They are long and taper to a pointed tip. One of the reasons they are so reliable for the mass market is that they can be machine-harvested.

When the weather gets cold in the first year of growth, carrots convert a lot of their starches to sugars, so the roots become sweeter in winter.

All carrots can be harvested immature as baby roots, which tend to be crunchy but tender, and quite sweet. They can also be left to reach their full size, shape, and colour, of course. All carrots are high in beta-carotene, a pigment that we metabolize as vitamin A when we eat it. A lack of vitamin A can result in poor vision, hence the notion that carrots are good for your eyesight. Carrots are also rich in Vitamins C, B6, and Niacin.

Generally, the top greens are trimmed from the root and stored in the vegetables compartment of the refrigerator where they keep well for 1-2 weeks. Set refrigerator temperature level below 35 degree F and high humidity to maintain vitality.

Preparation and serving methods

Wash carrots thoroughly before use. Trim both ends; gently scrape off outer skin and smaller hairy roots. The younger roots have crispy, pleasant taste and rich flavor. Raw carrots are naturally sweet and juicy however; boiling in hot water for few minutes enriches their flavor and enhances the bioavailability of nutrients.

Here are some serving tips:

Fresh raw carrots can be enjoyed as they are or can be used raw in vegetable as well as fruit salads.

The root is also used in the preparation of cakes, tart, pudding, soups, borscht etc.

Also used to make healthy baby foods.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower originated in Cyprus and then spread across Europe.

Packed with rich nutrients, cauliflower or cabbage flower is one of the commonly used flower-vegetables. The flower heads contain numerous health benefiting phtyo nutrients such as indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane etc that help prevent prostate, ovarian and cervical cancers.

Like broccoli, cauliflower is made up of tightly clustered florets that begin to form but stopped at bud stage.

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and fiber. It is a very good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, and manganese. Additionally, it is a good source of potassium, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and magnesium.

Once at home, store in the refrigerator set with higher relative humidity. They stay fresh for about a week.

Preparation and serving methods

Its creamy white flower heads are favored in variety of delicacies world-wide. To wash, place heads upside down rinsed in a large bowl of cold water or salt water brine for about 15-20 minutes to ensure removal of any insects, soil or fungicide/insecticide sprays. Gently pat dry using soft cloth. Remove tough stem and leaves.
Cauliflower florets are the part of the plant that most people eat. The stem and leaves are edible too and are especially good for adding to soup stocks.

Be sure not to overcook cauliflower.
Cut cauliflower florets into quarters and let sit for 5 minutes before cooking. For great tasting cauliflower add 1 tsp of turmeric when adding the cauliflower to the skillet.

Heads that are surrounded by many thick green leaves are better protected and will be fresher. Size is not related to its quality.

Cut florets into equal sections to help cook evenly. Cook covered in a little boiled salted water until tender for few minutes. Overcooking may result in loss of nutrients especially vitamin C.
Cauliflower contains phytonutrients that release odorous sulfur compounds when heated. The odor becomes stronger with increased cooking time. If you want to minimize odor, retain the vegetable's crisp texture, and reduce nutrient loss, cook the cauliflower for only a short time.

Cooking causes cauliflower to spoil quicker, consume it within two to three days of placing in the refrigerator after cooking.

Store uncooked cauliflower in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a week. To prevent moisture from developing in the floret clusters, store it with the stem side down.

Here are some serving tips:

Cauliflower mixes well with vegetables, lentils and meat.
The florets are added in pasta bake, casseroles and to make curry/soup.
It is also widely used in pickling.

Celery and Celeriac

Celery has a unique place in the kitchen. It is flavourful, yet has so few calories. Celery has become a common household staple. Its crunchy texture and distinctive flavor makes it a popular addition to salads and many cooked dishes. Celery grows to a height of 12 to 16 inches and is composed of leaf-topped stalks. Celery can be fully used including stalks, the leaves, roots and seeds can also be used as a food and seasoning as well as a natural medicinal remedy.

To store celery, place it in a sealed container or wrap it in a plastic bag or damp cloth and store it in the refrigerator. If you are storing cut or peeled celery, ensure that it is dry and free from water residue, as this can drain some of its nutrients. Freezing will make celery wilt and should be avoided unless you will be using it in a future cooked recipe.

Cucumber

Fresh cucumbers taste so much better than store-bought ones and each variety has a unique flavour. The inner temperature of a cucumber can be 20 degrees cooler than the outside air. The cucumber originated in Asia Minor and spread globally. The Romans grew them and the Bible refers to them. In the late 1500's The Plains Indians and Iroquois obtained cucumbers from the Spanish by barter, learning how to grow these alongside the corn, beans and pumpkins they already grew. In Europe, while cucumbers were well known for several hundred years, the English in the 17th Century went through a period of uncertainty about the benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables and called them "cowcumbers" - fit only for cattle and toxic to humans.

Some cucumbers may produce bitter skins, which create a digestive problem for some people known as a "burp." "Burpless" varieties have been bred to reduce or minimize this potential bitterness.

To store, keep them at room temperature for a day or two, but are better stored inside the refrigerator set at high relative humidity where they stay fresh for several days.

Preparation and serving methods

Wash them thoroughly in cold running water just before use. Sometimes, they may require light scrub at places where prickles or dirt attached firmly. Trim both ends using sharp knife and rub the ends to remove sticky, off-white, fluid like oozing substance in order to lessen bitter taste of either ends. Cut in to cubes, slices, etc as you may desire.

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Dried Beans - Preparation

Dried beans are better to use than canned beans. They are natural and do not contain the salt that the canned beans do. They do require some time to plan head though.
Soaking: dried beans need to be soaked before cooking to place some of the water lost in drying and to help speed up the cooking time. There are two methods for soaking beans:

1) The long cold soak” Cover the dried beans with water, (3 cups water, to 1 cup beans) Let stand for 6 to 10 hours or overnight in a cool place. Do not leave the beans out too long, they may turn sour. If you can’t use them right way put them in the fridge.
2) The quick hot soak: Cover dried beans with water (3 cups water to 1 cup of beans). Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.

Rinsing:
Drain the beans from the soaking water. Rinse them thoroughly with cold running water.

Cooking: In a pot large enough to allow for expansion and foaming, cover the rinsed soaked beans with fresh cold water. Add 1 tsp cooking oil , this will help to reduce the foaming. Bring to a boil, for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse again under cold water.
Dried beans are very nutritious for you. They rate as the richest source of vegetable protein, a very high source of both insoluble and soluble dietary fiber and a fabulous of non-sweet complex carbohydrate, making them a marvelous source of energy. They have high amounts of the B-Vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Dried beans can be substituted for animal protein. However, legumes like other plant sources do not contain all the essential amino acids that meat, fish eggs etc. do.

Dried Beans

Dried beans are very nutritious for you. They rate as the richest source of vegetable protein, a very high source of both insoluble and soluble dietary fiber and a fabulous non-sweet complex carbohydrate, making them a marvelous source of energy. They have high amounts of the B-Vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Dried beans can be substituted for animal protein. However, legumes like other plant sources do not contain all the essential amino acids that meat, fish, eggs etc. do.

Eggplants

Eggplants are like tomatoes; although grocery stores carry them in the vegetable section, they are actually pear-shaped berries. They come in glossy black, purple, green, yellow and white as well as a variety of shapes and sizes.

Wash eggplant thoroughly in cold water before use. Trim the stalk end with sharp knife. The whole fruit including its skin is edible.

Fennel

Fennel has a reasonable shelf life (at least a week) but is best kept in the bottom of your fridge. If it comes with the leaves on and you are not planning on using them, it will keep better if you cut off and discard them. The outer layer of the bulb has a tendency to brown, particularly at the end of the season when it may have been caught by a frost. This is not necessarily an indication of lack of freshness.

It is often worth cutting the fennel in half lengthwise and removing most of the core and base before slicing, particularly if the bulb is starting to lengthen and push upwards prior to running to seed. The Sicilians we buy from in the winter tell me that they normally eat their fennel raw, sliced thinly, with black pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Although fennel is grown primarily for the bulb, the feathery leaves can be used to flavour dishes in the same way as fresh herb fennel, but in more generous quantities due to their milder flavour. They also make a good garnish and, in small quantities, can be added to a green salad or used to garnish pasta dishes.

Kale

Kale contains the highest levels of beta-carotene of any green vegetable, is high in vitamin C and has lots of calcium. Collards are not far behind.

Kale is a nutritional standout in three basic areas: antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, much-needed macronutrients and cancer-preventive nutrients called glucosinolates.

Storage: place kale in a plastic storage bag removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 5 days. The longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavour becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.

We will chop the kale and freeze extra for use later on.

Kohlrabi

A good source of vitamin C, calcium and iron. is sweeter and more delicate tasting than any turnip. Raw, it tastes like a mild radish, cooked it tastes like mild cabbage.

Combine in any salad, or coleslaw.
Wash well in cool water prior to eating.

Leeks

Leeks are one of those vegetables that need to be cooked before eating as raw leek is very hard to digest. Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables. A high intake has been shown to reduce total cholesterol and LDL, or "bad" cholesterol levels, while at the same time raising "good" cholesterol levels. They are a source of iron, vitamin B6 and folate.

Leeks store well and can also be chopped and frozen to use at a later date.

Melons

Though they taste very sweet, melons contain so much water that they have only as many calories as an onion (pound for pound). Watermelons, cantaloupes and Honeydew melons are easily digested and provide a source of potassium and vitamin C.

Mesclun Mix

Mesclun means a "mixed-up mess of baby greens." They are a boon for cooks looking for variety in a hurry - a diverse assortment of small leaves are picked for salads. The mix may vary from week to week.

Greens are a healthy choice.

If looking to keep calories and or fat down minimize the amount of salad dressing you add. Add radishes, green onions, edible flowers and other chopped vegetables, fruit or seeds (sunflower, pumpkin etc). for a differently flavor and variation.

Onions

Onions are members of the lily family and have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal properties--more important than the vitamins and minerals they contain. Onions contain a compound called sulfur which detoxifies the body making a great wound healer and detoxifies the skin. Onions are an excellent source of quercetin, a potent antioxidant, and they contain anti-allergy, antiviral and antihistamine properties. Onions aid in cellular repair.

To obtain the maximum nutritional benefits, onions should be eaten raw or lightly steamed.

Parsnips

The parsnip is a root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips resemble carrots, but are paler and have a stronger flavour. Until the potato arrived from the New World, its place in dishes was occupied by the parsnip.

About half the carbohydrate in parsnips are sugar and the rest is starch. Parsnips are a good source of vitamin C and B3 vitamin E, potassium and dietary fibre.

The flavour of parsnips becomes sweeter after they have had some frost in the garden. They are a very versatile vegetable in the kitchen to fry, roast, steam, mash or bake.

Peppers

Sweet peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C when fully ripe and especially when eaten raw. The varieties that ripen to red contribute vitamin A as well.

Potatoes

Potatoes aren't just about starch. Potatoes are one of the best known all-around bundles of nutrition due to their balanced and available protein content. Potato is the world's most widely grown tuber crop, and the fourth largest food crop in terms of fresh produce -- after rice, wheat, and maize.

Store potatoes in the dark, about 7-10C. Do not store in the fridge. Paper bags are best to allow them to breath.

Pumpkins

The largest fruit of any plant in the world is the pumpkin, although they are sometimes small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. The big ones can grow over 1,000 lbs! Most of them, though, are of more modest size, pefect for jack 'o lanterns. Cooking pumpkins are rated in quality by the amount of fibre they have - good cooking pumpkins have almost no fibre, so as the flesh cooks, it melts into a smooth puree.

For cooking purposes, choose smaller sizes, which will have more tender, flavorful flesh.

Store in a cool, dry place, such as an attic or spare room (root cellars and possibly basements are too damp) at 7 to 15C up to a month.

For extended storage, wash skins in a solution of about a tablespoon of chlorine bleach to a gallon of water to disinfect the skin and discourage mold or rot. Dry immediately as dampness encourages spoilage. If you find mold, wipe the pumpkin with vegetable oil to remove the mold and seal the spot.

Leftover cooked pumpkin can be frozen up to 16 months or canned.

Also see squash for more ideas.

Radicchio

Radicchio is a red leafy vegetable that is said to be native to Italy. It is slightly bitter and spicy in taste and is mainly used in salads. It can also be grilled, sauteed or roasted, so as to reduce its bitterness. Radicchio is a leaf chicory, which has red leaves with white veins. It is also known as red chicory or Italian chicory. While, some types of chicory plants are cultivated for their leaves that are used as vegetable, some others are grown for roots, that are baked and ground, so as to be used as a coffee substitute. There are many varieties (approx. 19) of radicchio and most of them are named after the different regions in Italy, from where, they originated.

Radicchio, like other vegetables high in antioxidants, boost heart health. Radicchios are high in fiber and are full of minerals like Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, and Magnesium and full of vitamins like Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B-6, Folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin E.

Place the heads in a plastic bag, store in the refrigerator crisper drawer. Radicchio maintains its appearance for up to one month, but tastes best if used within two weeks. Cut heads in half from the crown through the stem for grilling or roasting, leaving the core intact. For salads, cut out the core and separate the individual leaves in the head.

Radishes

The popular red globe radish is low in calories with an abundance of flavor and crunch. A 1/2 cup serving (about 12 medium) of sliced radishes provides a good amount of potassium, vitamin C, folate and fiber. Winter radishes such as daikons are similar in nutrients. Daikons are a very good source of copper and potassium.”

Radishes have often been dismissed as decoration and garnish. They are actually members of the cruciferous vegetable family so eat the greens. Because they vary in keeping quality, radishes are classified as winter or summer. Summer radishes are the small ones of bold red, pink, purple, white or red and white. They may be globe-shaped or elongated, fiery hot or mild.

Summer Radish

Harvest summer radishes when they are small and tender for optimal flavor. Oversize summer radishes can become tough, woody, hallow and strong in flavor. To check a large radish squeeze gently, if it yields to pressure it is likely to be fibrous. These will do well in the compost heap.

Winter Radish

Winter radishes may be white, black or green. Black radishes have a pungent flavor and should be used sparingly. Remove greens and roots before storing black radishes. Chinese radishes, round and fat, are milder in flavor. Remove greens before storing; remove roots just before preparing.

The word daikon means "great root" in Japanese. In cool weather, daikon growth is quick and steady. There are several varieties. Some are thin and long, while others are short and round. All radish greens are edible.

Storage

Both summer and winter radishes store well in the refrigerator once the tops have been removed. The radish leaves cause moisture and nutrient loss during storage. Store greens separately for 2-3 days. Refrigerate radishes wrapped in plastic bags for 5 to 7 days. Winter radish varieties can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Rutabaga

Rutabagas have no cholesterol and are very low in fat. They are a good source of fiber and Vitamin C

The big yellow roots we know as rutabagas are often called winter turnips or Swedes. They originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip. Before pumpkins were readily available in the UK and Ireland, these large root vegetables were hollowed out and carved for use as Jack o'Lanterns.

Rutabagas store well in the refrigerator, as this can often provide the most optimal temperature and humidity conditions. They can also be stored in a root cellar, provided the temperature and humidity meets the required needs of rutabagas.

Spinach

Among the World's healthiest vegetables, spinach comes out at the top of the ranking list for nutrient richness. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it is also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.

Enjoy baby spinach in your favourite salads or make a salad made exclusively of baby spinach.

Do not wash spinach before storing as the exposure to water encourages spoilage. Place spinach in a plastic storage bag and wrap the bag tightly around the spinach, squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Place in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 5 days. Avoid storing cooked spinach as it will not keep very well unless you are planning on freezing it .

We will boil and freeze extra spinach for the winter months or at other times. Squeeze out the water and freeze in an ice cube tray. We will use it for stuffed mushrooms, in lasagnas, and dips.

Squash

Grown in summer they develop a firm skin that protects the squash for winter storage and eating. To prevent mould, sponge the skins with clean water before storage.

Once at home, well-ripen squash can be stored for many weeks in cool, humid-free, well-ventilated place at room temperature. However, cut sections should be placed inside the refrigerator where they keep well for few days.

Butternut

As in pumpkin, butternut has beautiful nutty flavor and mildly sweet taste. Fresh raw butternut cubes may add special tang to vegetable salads.

The squash is favored in both savory as well as sweet dish. It can be used in variety of delicious recipes either baked, stuffed, or stew fried; but eaten best by steam cooking in order to get maximum nutrients.

In Mexico, butternut squash bisque (soup) with added fruits, herbs or seafood is a favorite appetizer.

As in pumpkins, it can also be used in the preparations of casseroles, pies, pancakes, custard, ravioli, bread, muffins...etc.

Roasted and tossed butternut squash seeds can be used as snacks.

As in pumpkins, squash flowers can be stuffed with cheese or added in soups.

Summer Turnip

Can be eaten raw or cooked. Summer turnips are sweeter than traditional turnips. The greens are also good for cooking, just like other cooking greens.
Store turnips loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper of the fridge. Like any root vegetable, they want a cool, dark, dry environment.
Health benefits of turnips: Turnips are high in vitamin C and also help absorption of iron. Folk medicines hail the turnip as a blood purifier and turnips have been used to treat scurvy, increase energy and cure depression. Turnips health benefits also help lower risks of cancer. The turnip greens also have varied health benefits in fighting health disorders and are also very high in calcium content. Turnip greens are considered to have more calcium than milk and other vegetables. Vitamin A in turnip is known to protect the body from cancers and infections.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around.

Do not wash Swiss chard before storing as the exposure to water encourages spoilage. Place chard in a plastic storage bag and wrap the bag tightly around the chard, squeezing out as much of the air from the bag as possible. Place in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 5 days. If you have large batches of chard, you can blanch the leaves and then freeze them.

The thick stems from mature chard can be cooked like asparagus. The baby leaves can be used as fresh salad green or cooked like spinach.

We enjoy having Swiss chard in salads or adding it to a stir fry.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C and contain good amounts of potassium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin B and a source of fiber.

There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes in an array of shapes, colors and sizes. The most common shapes are round (Beefsteak and globe), pear-shaped (Roma) and the tiny cherry-sized (Cherry and Grape). Yellow varieties tend to be less acidic and thus less flavorful than their red counterparts.

Do not store tomatoes in the refrigerator. Store them at room temperature until ready to use.

Zucchini

Also known as courgettes, these thin-skinned summer squash have few calories and many uses in the kitchen.

Zucchinis are a useful source of folate, potassium, manganese and vitamin A.

Store zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer four to five days and do not wash until just before you are ready to use it. At the first sign of wilting, use immediately. Softness is a sign of deterioration.

Cooked zucchini should be covered and refrigerated up to two days.

To freeze, slice zucchini into rounds, and seal in airtight containers or baggies. Frozen zucchini can be kept for ten to twelve months. Shred it and freeze for use during the winter months.

Excellent as a moisturizer in cake batters, the firm flesh can also be added to pasta sauces, marinated and grilled on the barbecue, baked, broiled or fried.

More tips and storage ideas coming soon.

A list of the produce list to still get updated...
Garlic
Peas
Strawberries