Produce report July 30: Fruit and vege buys of the week
Time to eat those leafy greens. As well as providing vitamins K, C, B12 and A, there’s folic acid and antioxidants aplenty in spinach, kale and silverbeet, all important inclusions in the winter diet.
Brigit Corson, a Fresh Expert for New World supermarkets, sources leafy greens mainly from Pukekohe, Gisborne, Horowhenua and the top of the South Island where they have particularly fabulous soil and temperate climates. “It’s common knowledge that these veges can’t swim and they are not fond of snow and ice either,” says Brigit. Along with cancer-blocking properties, dark leafy vegetables contribute to eye health, reducing the risk and slowing down the progression of macular degeneration — the main cause of severe vision loss in New Zealand.
Kale belongs to the brassica family which includes cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Like other vegetables, such as carrots and swedes, it (including the dark and springy-leaved cavolo nero) is made sweeter after a frost. Spinach, on the other hand, belongs to the same family as beetroot and silverbeet, rainbow and swiss chard. Flavour-wise, spinach is milder than gutsy, giant-leaved silverbeet but they can be used interchangeably in recipes. When cooking, keep the stalks on delicate types of spinach but remove them from cavolo nero and those chards — stems take longer to cook than leaves. Do not throw them away. Split them vertically if they are very large, chop and steam for about five minutes before adding the leaves. Steamed until just wilted, large silverbeet leaves make good, healthy wraps to enclose meat and fish parcels.
Another bonus: the bright red and yellow/orange stems of rainbow chard contain betalain pigments which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Alternatively, finely chop and saute the stalks gently (for about 10 minutes) and add them to a pie, quiche or frittata. Or save the raw stalks for later and add them to a vegetable stock or use as a stir-fried vegetable in their own right.
If you are feeling the lack of summer produce such as capsicums, turn to the jar. New World has over 100 types of pickled veges and fruits in store and they are amazingly good value too: 680g of roasted red peppers (low-sodium, gluten-free andGM free) is currently $5.49 at New World, vs one rare, fresh red capsium at $3.99 each.