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.
This green herb is widely used in cooking around the world. Great with potatoes, rice, fish and meat it is an all round herb that works great with most dishes! Curly parsley is also often used as garnish on dishes.
Yellow carrots has a milder and sweeter flavour than the orange, red or purple variants. They have a firm, crisp texture that is not too woody or fibrous. The flavour has hints that might seem similar to celery and parsley.
Yellow carrots carry the same nutrients as their more common orange variant, but they also contain high levels of vitamin A.
Uses: Carrots can be used in a myriad of ways. From salads to roasts to juices you can add these orange veggies to almost anything! Yellow carrots are especially great pickled, deep fried, grilled or pan roasted. Yellow carrots can be eaten raw in crudites, pureed into sauces, boiled and braised. All carrots pair well with other root vegetables such as turnips, beets and radishes.
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.
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.
The Purple Kumera has red skin and a creamy white firm textured flesh streaked with purple. It has a mellow flavour that is less sweet than that of the Golden Kumera. As other kumera it is a bit more starchy than the American versions of sweet potato, but it is a tasty addition to any dinner table when prepared right.
A great source of dietary fibre and bursting with nutrients this little root veggie has a myriad of uses. Steam it, grill it or bake it! It taste’s great either way. You can also use it as you would other sweet potatoes, though you may need to add a little extra liquid to the recipe for it to achieve the same texture.
Uses: You can add it to mashed potatoes, make potato wedges, gratin, soups or even in salads
Purple cauliflower is a heritage variety that comes from either Italy or South Africa. It has a milder, sweeter, nuttier taste than its white counterpart.
The purple cauliflower is rich in vitamins and fiber which are vital to healing wounds and boosting the immune system. It also contains high levels of cancer-fighting compounds.
The purple cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked together with garlic or balsamic vinegar. Its vibrant purple adds a touch of colour to an otherwise all-green salad.
Baby potatoes are small, with a thin skin and rich, creamy, buttery taste. Higher in moisture than the more floury varieties of potatoes, it holds shape better and it also contains less starch.
A good source of vitamin C, this creamy potato also contain potassium and fibre with virtually no fat! Storing them in a dry, dark and cool place is best but try not to store the potatoes in the fridge.
Uses: An all-purpose potato use them for mashing, boiling, roasting, backing or pureeing. Great in soups, stews or salads.
Barry’s Tip: Dutch potatoes make for a yummy mash with just a little bit of salt. You don’t even need butter or cream!
Daikon literally means big root and is a winter radish with a mild flavour. Native to our part of the world here in Southeast Asia it is low in food energy, but it has a high amount of vitamin C.
There are many uses for this white root, especially in Asian dishes. It can be pickled, grated, simmered, shredded, dried and stir fried. Here in Singapore it is often used in carrot cake, a fried dish often found in hawker food centres.
Summer squash is a type of squash normally harvested when it is still immature. This means the rind of these small yellow squashes is still very tender and can be eaten along with the flesh inside. The name often relates to the fact that these small squash have a much shorter storage life than fully matured squashes. Another variation of the summer squash would be zucchini.
The most common variety of summer squash arriving in our warehouse is often called Pattypan squash. Often just a few inches in diameter this tender squash can be used in several ways. You can roast it, stir-fry it or boil it. In some cultures it is also pickled in sweetened vinegar.
Jerusalem artichokes are native to the Central America and bear no relation to the city of Jerusalem contrary to what its name suggests.
Jerusalem artichokes are sweet and crunchy tubers that are in fact not a true artichoke, but instead a variety of sunflower. This white fleshed veggie resembles ginger but is sweet and crunchy when raw and smooth and aromatic when cooked. Its nutty, sweet white flesh is the perfect paring with other root veggies. Though small it is rich in nutrients such as iron, potassium and vitamin B1.
Uses: Cook them the same way you would for potatoes or parsnips. Jerusalem artichoke is great roasted, sautéed, puréed or dipped in batter and fried. Make sure to either wash them thoroughly or preferably peel them before use.