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Basil is usually is known for its aromatic flavour and strong sweet smell. A culinary herb is mainly used in Italian dishes. The major ingredient in pesto sauce it is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes.
It is best to add it to a dish at the last moment as heat quickly destroys the flavour. Keep it fresh by storing it in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or freeze it!
Uses: It can be added to a multitude of Italian dishes such as pasta and sauces, but it can also be added to soups, chocolates, ice cream and of course dips and dressings such as pesto.
The cultivation of Pak Choy in south China date as far back as the 5th century. It has since spread throughout China and to other parts of Asia and the western hemisphere.
This leafy vegetable packs a hefty amount of dietary fibre to aid in digestion. Vitamin C and K bolsters immune system and strengthens the bones.
Pak Choy is a leafy green that is often stir-fried or steamed. Both leaves and stems can be cooked and consumed. As part of the mustard family, it falls into the same category as mustard, broccoli, turnips and cabbage even though it is lettuce-like in appearance.
Tip: Cook the stems first then add the leaves as they cook quicker. Stir fry with some soy sauce, herbs and garlic for flavour.
Thyme is great with poultry and meat. Easy to dry it’s mild flavour keeps well when dried, though it is stronger fresh. The wooden stems are usually not used in cooking.
The superfood salad mix contains small young salad greens. The mix may vary but usually it will contains greens such as endive, rocket, chervil and red oak lettuce. It is an easy choice when making a quick salad that adds colour and variety in your greens and at the same time packs a great nutritional punch!
Choy Sum is one of the most popular vegetables among the Chinese and is probably the most popular vegetable in Hong Kong. As a matter of fact, it is now also widely used in the western world.
Choy Sum is rich in carotene (pro-vitamin A), calcium and dietary fiber. It also provides potassium and folic acid.
The flowering shoots and younger leaves of Choy Sum are used in salads or stir-fried, lightly boiled or steamed and added to meat.
Meet the sweeter sister of the carrot, Dutch Carrots are brilliant gently roasted in the oven or used as a beautiful addition to liven up a meal.
Artichokes were originally found in the Mediterranean and there were early records of its use during the ancient Greek and Roman times. Globe artichoke is considered to be the “true artichoke”. Both the end of the leaves, the base (or heart) are edible. A great starter for a few or a delicious, light meal for one.
Health benefits of the artichoke include boosting the body’s immune system, prevention of cancer and lowering of cholesterol.
Uses: often used in Italian dishes, sauces, and dips. You can boil, steam, grill, barbecue or bake it. Cook it in a pan of boiled salted water, you should be able to pull out a leaf easily when it is done. The heart of the artichoke is great for salads.
Tip: Iron, copper and aluminium cookware can cause discolouration during the cooking. It is better to use stainless steel, glass, or enamel during the preparation of the artichoke.
Snow peas are edible pod fruits that are flatter than other pea types. But just like its cousin, the sugar snap peas, snow peas can be eaten whole with both pod and peas.
Unlike the garden variety or english pea the outer layer is not as fibrous which makes it easier to consume whole. The walls of the pod on snow peas are thinner than those on a sugar snap pea and therefore perfect for those who do not like the thickness and crunchiness of sugar snap peas.
Snow peas are often served in salads or even eaten on their own whole as a snack. But they can also be used in cooking, through stir-frying or steaming, though overcooking may make the pod fall apart.
Also known as Cavolo Nero/ , Dino kale is darker than its Scottish variety. Its dark green leaves are bursting with nutrition and have an earthy, nutty flavour.
Uses: Dino kale is well suited to braising, blanching or sauteing. It can also be used in juices.
Silverbeet, with its large green leaves and white stalks, has an earthy flavour and is a good source of folate, fiber and vitamins. In the same family as beets it is often thought to be similar to spinach and is often associated with Mediterranean cuisine though it is just as good with noodles, ramen or in stir-fries as well.
You can store both stalks and leaves in a sealed plastic bag. Or wash it and wrap it in paper towels for ultimate freshness and storage time.
Silverbeet is one of the most versatile greens for cooking. Its shiny green leaves fall somewhere between kale and spinach in toughness and bitterness. Blanch or sauté the silverbeet quickly so that they don’t loose too many of their nutrients and keep their crunchy texture before adding them to your dish.
Silverbeet can be used in pretty much any dish you can add spinach to. Add the young leaves raw and shredded to salads, or use them with the mature leaves in stir-fries, curries, quiches, soups and noodles.
Tip: Why not try seasoning the leaves and baking them in the oven for chips similar to kale chips?
Often used in Mediterranean cooking this colourful leafy veggie is full of nutritious goodness. The colourful leaves are full of vitamins and minerals and the veggie is considered one of the healthiest vegetables available.
There are many ways to prepare the veggie. You can prepare the leaves like you would spinach and the stalks in a similar manner to asparagus. However the leaves do need to be cooked a little longer than spinach leaves would be. Young leaves can also be used in salads. Cook and serve both parts of the veggie together or prepare them separately like two different veggies.
Use: You can serve chard steamed, braised or sautéed. It can also be used in many stews, soups, stir-fries and casseroles.
Capsicum (commonly known as bell peppers) comes in several different shapes and colours and is often used in cooking all around the world as well as in spices. It is related to its spicier variety the chilli pepper, but is milder and larger than the spicier varieties.
Bell peppers can be used in a variety of ways! Juice it, stir-fry it, sauté it, toss it in a salad… Only your imagination stops you when it comes to this versatile veggie!
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