Raspberries get their lovely red colour from anthocyanins, which are beneficial antioxidant phytochemicals.
Summer months in New Zealand are usually associated with a bountiful supply of berries. Fresh raspberries are great in smoothies, with cereal, in yoghurt, jams, desserts, sauce, or, our favourite, eaten straight from the canes. They are nature’s sweet treat and many New Zealanders have childhood memories of visiting ‘all you can pick’ farms. They are relatively easy to grow and, with care, can produce a bumper crop to keep the family happy all summer.
If you have a large crop, they are good to freeze and can be easily added to many dishes for a sweet addition throughout the year.
Red onions are a member of the allium family which includes different onions, shallots, leeks and garlic. Onions contain a range of beneficial phytonutrients with antioxidant activity that may help reduce our risk for cardiovascular and other diseases.
With the onset of the barbecue and salad season, red onion is a popular choice to add extra flavour to dishes. The versatile vegetable is delicious eaten raw (due to its mild flavour) or cooked. Red onions are great added to vegetable skewers, roasted in the oven or grilled on the barbecue, or added to stir-fries. They are an easy-to-use, colourful addition to salads or toasted sandwiches. Red onions are very easy to grow and are a hardy vegetable. New Zealand has a strong onion export industry (in fact, we are one of the world’s largest onion exporters), and the red onion is growing in popularity.
Garlic, another member of the allium family, contains organosulfur and other bioactive compounds. Scientists believe garlic consumption can help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and other age-related problems such as loss of brain function.
A staple in the pantry in most New Zealand homes, the humble garlic clove adds flavour to any meal. Most of our garlic is grown in the Marlborough region, and it compares well to its overseas counterparts. It’s very versatile and small quantities are regularly used in a wide range of dishes, including stir-fries, roasts, meat and vegetable dishes, stews, on bread and in dips. When it comes to growing your own, you can’t really find an easier plant to try. Garlic can be planted in both autumn and winter, and is harvested in mid to late January, when the leaves start to brown.
Fresh this month
Harvested in New Zealand gardens in January:
- Vegetables: Beetroot, broccoli, buttercup squash, butternut, green cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celery, courgette, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, garlic, onions, peas, potato, pumpkin, shallots, silver beet, snow peas, spinach, spring onion, sweet corn, tomato
- Herbs: Basil, chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
- Fruit: Apricots, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, figs, nashi pears, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries, redcurrants