Read on to discover how to prepare three of our favourite vegetables.
These tasty spears are high in vitamins B6 and C, and contain fibre, folate and glutathione. Translation: asparagus is great for you! Once considered a fancy vegetable, asparagus is now available in most supermarkets and grocers, and is at its best during the spring months.
When buying asparagus, go for straight, firm, equally sized spears with closed tips. Asparagus won’t last long in your kitchen, so try to use it the day you buy it. If you do need to keep your asparagus for a day or two, simply wrap the ends of the spears in a damp paper towel and pop them in the fridge.
What to do with it
Start by rinsing the spears and breaking off the tough ends. Then, you can steam, boil, blanche, cut diagonally and stir fry, coat with oil and roast, even marinate in lemon and barbecue your asparagus! No matter what you do with it, the trick is to not leave it on too long - asparagus only needs a short time to cook through before it’s overdone.
Here’s an interesting fact that you might not know: beetroot belongs to the same family as spinach! That means if you buy it fresh, you can eat the leaves as well as the more common purple root.
Plus, despite its high sugar content, beetroot is exceptionally good for you. The green leaves are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C, and the root is an excellent source of folic acid, fibre, manganese and potassium.
Beetroot is available all year round, but is especially delicious in spring. When buying, check if their leaves are still intact and fresh. The root should be firm, smooth, and a vibrant red-purple. Fresh beetroot with the leaves attached can be stored for three to four days in the fridge, and with the leaves removed two to four weeks.
What to do with it
Prepare your beetroot by chopping the stalks off, leaving about 2-3 centimetres - this helps retain its vibrant colour. Wash under cool, running water to remove the dirt, being careful not to remove the skin.
To boil, Place them in a large saucepan, then cover with cold water. Add a little salt and sugar, bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes or until they’re done. Take the pot of the heat, drain the water and then plunge your beetroots quickly into cold water. Remove from cold water, cut off root tips and stems, and you should be able to rub the skins off easily with a damp towel.
To roast, preheat the oven to 200˚C. Peel and quarter them, taking care not to stain your fingers (don’t worry if you do - a little lemon juice should help remove the purple). Arrange the pieces on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, turning once.
Artichokes may not be the easiest food to cook (or eat!), but the large volume of nutrients and minerals found in artichokes make the effort well worth it. Most people’s experience of eating this vegetable involve the heart, but the leaves are actually where the majority of its health benefits can be found.
In the store, choose fresh artichokes that feel heavy for their size and without any cuts or bruise. The leaves should be compact and dark green. Avoid very large, tough globes as they will probably have lost their flavour. Prepare them fresh from the store if you can, but otherwise they’ll keep in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.
What to do with it
First, rinse your artichoke in cold running water. Trim away the stem, leaving 2-3 centimetres from the base. Remove the lower layers of scales as they do not contain any flesh. Next, trim the tops of each leaf using a pair of kitchen scissors. Use your scissors again to chop about a centimetre off the top, exposing the central ‘choke’. This part is inedible, so scrape it out with a spoon. Rub a lemon slice over your artichoke, then boil upside down with some added salt and lemon juice until it gets soft.
To eat, take off individual leaf at a time, dip in your favourite sauce (like hummus, tzatziki or salsa) and scrape off the fleshy base with your teeth. Be sure to have a plate nearby to discard leaves, and some paper towels on hand to clean messy fingers!
For more everyday inspiration and exclusive offers, register now as a Stockland Member to receive monthly updates, latest news and exclusive events from your local Stockland Shopping Centre.