Agricultural & Environmental

Secretary
Mrs Julian Campbell AM
Ph: 02 6833 2049
Fax: 02 6833 5415

To download Joy Beames's February report to executive click here. 

Members are invited to the Grafton Agricultural and Environmental Seminar 26th–27th August 2013. For more information or to book your place download the coupon here.

Flora and Fauna

Flora and fauna study choices for each year are made by the Agricultural & Environmental Committee. Ideas may be sent the Agricultural & Environmental Officer, Joy Beames, or the Agricultural & Environmental Committee Secretary, Julian Campbell, prior to the September meeting.

Flora and fauna 2013: seagrass and sharks.

Primary Product

Primary products for promotion are submitted to state executive at their November meeting by each group. The representatives give a two minute presentation on their group's choice. All members of executive then vote for the winning product. All products presented to the members of state executive must be concerning an industry that is having difficulties or be a boutique industry. This promotion is not a part of the Agricultural & Environmental committee arena but is driven by the group that had their product selected. Often if there are several groups who chose the same product then they will join forces to make the display at state conference happen. Usually the Branch and Group Agricultural & Environmental Officers do the local promotion as a part of their portfolio.

Primary Product 2013: Wool

Agricultural and Environmental Seminar 2013

The Agricultural & Environmental Seminar was held on 11-12 March 2013. The theme was Let your Skin Breathe with a focus on naturnal fibres.

Product of the Week

Featuring Australian grown produce

 

An Initiative of the CWA of NSW Agricultural & Environmental Committee

ZUCCHINI

The word zucchini is the Italian plural for summer squash and the botanical name is Zucchini Cucurbita pepo, a member of the Cucurbitaceae family (also known as Gourd) which include pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and melons. Zucchini is an immature vegetable marrow. The French term is courgette and in India it is known as Seemai Sorakkai. The stem and the flower both can be used, with recipes in which the flower may be deep fried as fritters or tempura (where they are dipped first in a light batter), stuffed, baked or used in soups. Interestingly though in the culinary context, the zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and served as a savoury dish. However botanically, the zucchini is an immature fruit. Zucchini are 98% water, low in energy and carbohydrates but contain useful amounts of Vitamin A, vitamin B (folate) potassium and manganese.

Although zucchini has its ancestry in the Americas it is commonly found in the United Kingdom, Northern Europe, Canada and North America. In Australia its distribution areas including Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania and can be grown in all horticultural production areas. They are an annual and are frost prone at all stages of growth. Zucchini are usually dark green in colour but may be light green or yellow.

Zucchini prefers high temperatures which are required for germination. Satisfactory germination occurs at soil temperatures ranging from 18-32°C. The plants are of both bush and trailing types but bush type are more common and popular. The stems are hard ribbed and furrowed, frequently five sided and spiny. The fruit has much softer skin and matures earlier than pumpkins, but has a shorter shelf life. There are varieties known as Panther, black jack and regal black. The plants are normally planted on raised beds, and black plastic is laid over the bed. The use of black plastic mulch is used to conserve moisture and help control weeds in the row.

Insect pests of zucchini are cucumber moth, grasshoppers, wireworm, pumpkin beetle, twenty-eight spotted ladybug, myrids and thrips. Diseases that can affect the zucchini are powdery mildew, pythium, black rot and gummy stem blights, wilt, and blossom end rot.

In the Northern Territory, zucchini is usually planted in the dry season from May to September with harvesting taking place when zucchini reaches about 10 to 15cm in length it is ready for picking, usually within 5-6 weeks of planting. Picking should be done regularly, at least every two to three days as the fruits develop. Once production increases so does the picking frequency. Zucchini has a very intensive labour requirement as it needs to be harvested more frequently than most crops. If the zucchini is allowed to mature on the bush flowering and fruit set will cease. Zucchini are best stored between 5-10 deg C and 95% humidity and can show signs of chilling injury if stored below 5 deg for more than a day.

Zucchini can be prepared in many different ways including zucchini pie, battered zucchini, boiled, roasted, stir fried, salad dishes and prepared cooked dishes.


Zucchini Slice

Ingredients

2 large zucchini, grated
1 large onion finely chopped
3 rashers bacon finely chopped
1 cup tasty cheese grated
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup of oil
5 eggs
salt/pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a non-stick lamington tin.
Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, flour and cheese in a large bowl. Add oil and lightly beaten eggs, and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into lamington tin.
Bake for 35-40 mins until golden and set. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients

600g zucchini (approx 6 zucchinis)
3 brown onions
9 rashers short bacon
2 cups grated cheddar cheese or parmesan
2 cups self-raising flour
1cup grapeseed or olive oil
8 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt & pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 175 deg. Grease or line with muffin cases 2 x 12 muffin tins.

Sieve flour into a large separate bowl.

Medium chop unpeeled zucchinis, onions & bacon.

Combine zucchini, onion & bacon with sifted flour; add cheese, oil and lightly beaten eggs and mix together. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour into muffin cases/wraps and bake in moderate oven 30-40 mins or until browned.

Makes 24 muffins.

GRAPESEED OIL

You will be surprised!

When you go to the Grocery store do you look at the Oil and wonder just what this thing Grapeseed oil is. Grapeseed oil has a mild nutty flavour and is available naturally from varieties of Vitis Vinifera grapes. The extraction process is complicated but the result offers plenty of benefits for your health. It is made from cold-pressing; this is a mechanical oil extraction method that crushes the seed to release the oil. Cold-pressing help to preserve the nutritional components of the oil and is a method used extensively used around the world, including in Australia.

Grapeseed oil contains high quantities of Vitamin E & F and minerals zinc, copper, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. It is also known to have numerous health benefits, including assisting in lowering cholesterol absorption due to the monounsaturated fats it contains. Its anti-oxidants are also considered to be more powerful that vitamin C.

There are numerous benefits noted for using Grapeseed oil to aid in cosmetic applications such as reducing acne, aiding in skin tightening, (this is due to the astringent which is one of the ingredients contained in Grapeseed oil) or as a moisturiser reducing skin aging. These benefits can be achieved by placing a few drops of Grapeseed oil onto the palm of your hands and rub them together then either massaging into your skin. Due to its lightness it is easily absorbed.

But the benefits in Cooking come not only from the health benefits contained naturally in Grapeseed oil but in its ability to handle high temperatures without smoking, splattering or burning. Its high smoke point allows it to reach 250 deg C without burning.

So why not try something different for your health using ingredients you probably already have in your home.

Oat Pancakes

Ingredients

¾ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk and stir it through. This needs to be done before you start)
¾ wholemeal flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of Grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Grapeseed oil for the pan

Method
1. Soak the oats in 1 cup of buttermilk for at least 10 minutes
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt
3. Make a well in the centre and add the egg, Grapeseed oil, brown sugar, and remaining buttermilk. Then add the soaked oats and mix well
4. Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat and using a ¼ cup measure drop the mixture onto the pan. Do not crowd the pan and cook for 1 ½ to 2 minutes on each side.
5. Keep warm in a 100 deg C oven. These pancakes can also be frozen by placing in a resealable bag for another day.

AUSTRALIAN CUCUMBERS

The cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family. It is a creeping vine which bears cylindrical edible fruit when ripe. The fruit of the cucumber is elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 centimetres long and 10 centimetres in diameter.

Cucumbers originated in India and they are 96% water. There are several varieties including burp less, slicing and pickling. China is by far the largest producer of cucumbers in the world followed by Iran, Turkey and Russia then several other countries. Cucumbers are grown commercially in every state of Australia mostly in coastal areas; however they can also be found in inland NSW and Victoria.

Cucumber and Garlic Dip

Coarsely grate 3 medium Lebanese cucumbers. Squeeze out excess moisture. Add 500g yoghurt, 3 cloves minced garlic, a tablespoon chopped mint and 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Serve with pita bread.

Recipe: www.freshforkids.com.au

Cucumber Salsa
• 2 medium cucumbers - peeled, seeded and chopped
• 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
• 1 green capsicum, chopped
• 1 green chilli, seeded and minced
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons lime juice
• pinch minced fresh parsley
• small handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Cracked pepper

Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.BARRAMUNDI

Barramundi has a national and international reputation as a high quality commercial species, it's a splendid sporting fish with premium eating qualities. Belonging to the perch family of fishes, barramundi (Lates calcarifer) prefers slow-moving or still water in rivers, creeks, and estuaries. However, they are adaptable and can also be found around near-shore islands and reefs.

Stocks of the fish support important commercial fishing, tourist and aquaculture industries in northern Australia. Barramundi is farmed in all states of Australia except Tasmania. It has an estimated value of production at around $45 million at farm gate. There is every indication the industry will continue to expand, with growth coming from existing farms and new entrants to the industry.

Australian barramundi is farmed in diverse production systems. The majority of production comes from outdoor fresh or salt water pond operations and sea cages, in North Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The remainder of production comes from recirculation systems using thermal spring water or fresh water.

Macadamia-crusted barramundi

• 4 x 180g barramundi fillets
• 2 1/2 cups roasted macadamia nuts
• 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 teaspoons water
• 1/4 cup olive oil

Process nuts and breadcrumbs in a food processor to fine crumbs. Remove to a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Lightly beat eggs and water together in a shallow dish. Dip both sides of fish fillets into egg mixture. Coat with breadcrumb mixture, pressing on with your fingertips. Transfer to a plate. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook fish for 3 to minutes each side or until golden.

Serve fish with lemon, aioli and salad.

Information supplied by: Australian Barramundi Farmers Association

BEETROOT

The beetroot, known as the table beet, garden beet, red beet, or informally simply as the beet, is one of the many cultivated varieties of beets (Beta vulgaris)

Beetroot is very easy to grow and can be planted all year around. They like a sunny position and a fertile free draining soil. The usually deep red roots of beetroot are eaten either grilled, boiled, or roasted as a cooked vegetable, cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar, or raw and shredded, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable. The green, leafy portion of the beet also is edible. It is most commonly served boiled or steamed, in which case it has a taste and texture similar to spinach.

Research on the health benefits of Beetroot suggest that it may improve memory; lower blood pressure; increase energy & stamina and protect against heart attack & stroke.

Beetroot Relish
* 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
*1 teaspoon ground cumin
*2 teaspoons olive oil
*2 medium fresh beetroot, peeled & grated or 250g golden circle Beetroot
*1 teaspoon brown sugar
*1/2cup red wine

Heat a frying pan and toast cumin and sesame seeds brown slightly.

Add oil, beetroot and sugar and stir to combine.

Add wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

GOLDEN SYRUP

According to the CSR website the rich, dark blend of Cane Sugars combine to produce the traditional and distinctive flavour for which CSR is famous. But the manufacture of Golden Syrup is about using what would once have been a waste product. Used in Brandy Snaps, Ginger Nut and ANZAC biscuits for its moisture, colour and flavour but have you ever thought about it is made or where it comes from.

In 1881 Scottish Business Abram Lyle sent his five sons to London to build a sugar refinery which started smelting sugar in 1882. However problems with their cargoes brought work to a halt. Lyle insisted they work on something else. The sugar refining process produced a treacle like syrup which usually went to waste but chemist Charles Eastick realised that it could be refined to make a preserve and sweeter for cooking. Golden Syrup was the result. It looks like honey, but is viscous like corn syrup and yet tastes like neither, which is more like Butterscotch or Caramel. Today there is even a Facebook Page devoted to Golden Syrup.

 

But for me nothing beats a Golden Syrup Pudding. But here is an interesting variation which also uses Apples which are also in season right now.

1kg Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced.
2 tablespoons castor sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
75g Butter (melted)
1 egg
1/3 cup golden syrup
Sifted Icing Sugar to serve
Syrup
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup Golden Syrup
1 ¼ cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 180 deg.C. Grease a large 8 cup ovenproof dish (about 6 cm deep) with butter and place on a baking tray.

Place apples in a medium heatproof bowl. Sprinkle with castor sugar and water. Cover and microwave on high for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Cool in the bowl for 10 minutes. Drain and arrange in the prepared dish.

Sift Flour into a large bowl. Stir in brown sugar, whisk milk, egg, melted butter and golden syrup in a jug. Add to the flour and gently stir to combine. Spoon mixture over apples and smooth the surface.

To make the syrup, sprinkle the brown sugar over the pudding mixture evenly. Combine the Golden Syrup and the boiling water in a heat-proof jug, and then carefully pour it slowly over the pudding.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until the top is golden and the pudding is cooked through.

(The top can be covered with foil once browned to prevent burning during extra cooking time)

Let the pudding stand for 5 minutes

GREEK YOGURT

Now available on supermarket shelves nationally, Chobani Greek Yogurt is made using Australian milk and contains only natural ingredients. Ideal for cooking, Chobani handcrafts its deliciously thick, creamy yogurt using a centuries-old straining technique. This process removes the excess liquid from the yogurt so Chobani doesn't break down when heated, as regular yogurt tends to do, making it the perfect ingredient for all of your baking and cooking needs.

Choose yogurt containing live culture and you may prevent some digestive tract problems or yeast infections. Yoghurt can also be helpful in restoring the digestive tract to its normal condition after a course of antibiotics which can destroy all intestinal bacteria, both good and bad.
Greek yoghurt is made using natural ingredients (milk and honey) and has a thick, creamy consistency due to the traditional techniques applied to make Greek yoghurt. Greek "style" yoghurt contains one or more of the following ingredients; cream, gelatine, gum blends, stabilizers, preservatives, non-fat milk solids and milk solids. Greek "style" yoghurt is thick because of these thickening agents. Greek "style" yoghurt is not Real Greek yoghurt.

Greek yoghurt is made from natural ingredients (milk and honey) and can be stored frozen for up to 3 months. Freezing does not affect the taste, consistency or cultures. The cultures become dormant when frozen, but when thawed, they will become live and active once again. Always allow to defrost in the fridge and remember to stir before you serve.

Versatile and easy to use, Greek Yogurt is the perfect ingredient to help chefs and home cooks, alike, get creative in the kitchen. Use Greek Yogurt to lighten up dishes and reduce the calories and fat from your favourite recipes without sacrificing on taste.
Chobani is an ideal substitute for butter, oil, sour cream, mayonnaise, milk and cream when cooking anything from desserts to mains and snacks.

CONVERSION CHART FAT GREEK YOGURT WHERE TO SWAP
1 cup butter ¼ cup Chobani + ½ cup butter Mashed potatoes, biscuits, cakes
1 cup oil ¾ cup Chobani Brownies, biscuits, cakes, pancakes
1 cup sour cream 1 cup Chobani Baked potatoes, dips & cakes
1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup Chobani Dips, sauces, coleslaw
1 cup cream cheese 1 cup Chobani Cheesecake, frostings, dips
1 cup buttermilk ⅔ cup Chobani + ⅓ cup milk or buttermilk Biscuits & breads, pancakes
1 cup heavy cream ½ cup Chobani + ½ cup heavy cream Cream-based sauces, soups, frostings
1 cup milk ¼ cup Chobani + ¾ cup milk Mashed potatoes, cereal, doughs
1 cup crème fraiche 1 cup Chobani Garnish

Thai Red Curry
SERVES: 4
TIME: 30 mins
INGREDIENTS:
• 2 Tbsp canola oil
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 3-5 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
• 3/4 C red bell pepper, chopped
• 3/4 C yellow bell pepper, chopped
• 2 C vegetable or chicken stock
• 100g green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
• 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 1 C Plain 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt
• Salt and freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION:
• Heat the oil in pan. Add onion and bell peppers and sauté until soft, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
• Stir in the curry paste and coat vegetables. Add the stock, green beans, and chickpeas and stir to combine.
• Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the heat and stir in Chobani. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mashed Potatoes
SERVES: 6
TIME: 35 mins
INGREDIENTS:
• 8 medium red-skinned potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1/4 C low-salt vegetable broth, warmed
• 1/2 C Plain 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt
• 2 Tbsp butter
• 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped

PREPARATION:
• Add potatoes to a large pot of boiling water. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
• Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add broth, and coarsely mash potatoes.
• Stir in Chobani, butter, dill and chives. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Further recipes and information can be found at:
www.chobani.com.au
www.greekyogurt.com.au

 

MARVELLOUS MARMALADE

The word marmalade is believed to have come from the Portuguese "marmelada" a quince preserve. It now refers to any preserve made from citrus juice and peel, boiled in sugar and a little water.

In the early 17th century oranges became more easily available in England. The clear jelly with shreds of peel in it became commonly known as marmalade rather than jam. Seville oranges are traditionally used because of their high pectin content which allows the marmalade to set and for the flavoursome rind.

These days the word "marmalade" is undergoing another change in meaning. Menus offer Beetroot Marmalade or Onion Marmalade. These are a mixture of sugar, vinegar (usually balsamic) and the vegetable served as a flavour to enhance meat.

Besides being a popular spread on toast, a tablespoon of marmalade can give a richer deeper flavour to dark fruitcakes. It also adds an interesting flavour to meat dishes. The recipe below is useful for those who are allergic to onions or garlic, often used to flavour slow cooked dishes.

Piquant Lamb
4 - 6 lamb neck chops (Australian lamb neck rosettes)
Oil for frying
1-2 carrots
1 tablespoon flour
600 ml stock
Salt and pepper
1 rounded tablespoon of Dick Smith orange marmalade
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon mustard

Fry chops in oil till brown on both sides. Place in ovenproof dish

Peel carrots, slice into strips and fry till just beginning to brown. Lift out and place in the dish with the chops.

Stir flour into the oil left in the pan and allow to brown gently for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to the boil slowly, stirring all the time to avoid lumps.

Combine marmalade, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Add to sauce in frying pan.

Pour over chops and carrots.

Cover and cook in a moderately slow oven 160 degrees C for about 1 hour or until tender.

 

NATURAL YOGURT

Natural yogurt is a fermented dairy product that is a rich source of calcium, iodine, protein and phosphorous. It is devoid of processed sugars that are found in other types of yogurts.

Yogurt is easier to digest than milk. Many people, who cannot tolerate milk, either because of protein allergy or lactose intolerance, can enjoy yogurt. The culturing process makes yogurt more digestible than milk.

Yogurt is a rich source of calcium - a mineral that contributes to colon health and decreases the risk of colon cancer. It's good to eat yogurt while taking antibiotics. The yogurt will minimize the effects of the antibiotic on the friendly bacteria in the intestines.

Homemade Popcorn Chicken
Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes + 1 hour marinating time
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
400g chicken breast, cut into 2cm cubes.
1/2 cup natural yogurt
1/3 cup plain flour
1/4 cup corn flour
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
1- 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning (to taste)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
olive oil spray

Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup natural yogurt
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Method

Combine the chicken and yogurt and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Mix together flours, parmesan, seasoning, mustard and garlic powder.

Shake excess yogurt off the chicken and toss in the seasoned flour until well coated. Shake any excess flour off the chicken and arrange in a single layer on a baking paper lined oven tray.

 

Spray with olive oil and bake at 200°C for 15-20 minutes, shaking once or twice until golden and chicken is cooked through. Cool on tray for 5 minutes before serving.

For Dipping Sauce, combine yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl and serve with popcorn chicken and salad or vegetables.

Serve popcorn chicken as a party snack, or with vegetable sticks as part of a dip platter.
If serving as part of a meal, serve with salad or vegetables.
Recipe : www.dairyaustralia.com.au

AUSTRALIAN PASSIONFRUIT

Passionfruit is cultivated commercially in warmer, frost-free areas for its fruit. Passionfruit is round to oval, either yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The fruit is both eaten and juiced; passion fruit juice is often added to other fruit juices to enhance the aroma. Passionfruit is round to oval, either yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The fruit is both eaten and juiced; passion fruit juice is often added to other fruit juices to enhance the aroma
There are several varieties of passionfruit with differing exterior appearances. The bright yellow flavicarpa variety, also known as the Golden Passionfruit, has a smooth, glossy, light and airy rind. The dark purple edulis variety is less acidic than the yellow passion fruit, and has a richer aroma and flavour.

Fresh passionfruit is high in beta carotene, potassium, and dietary fibre. Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

It is added to fruit salads, and fresh fruit pulp or passionfruit sauce is commonly used in desserts, including as a topping for pavlova and ice cream, a flavouring for cheesecake, and in the icing of vanilla slices.

Passionfruit Soufflé
Dissolve 2 teaspoons gelatine in 2 tablespoons water. Beat 2 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl. Add 1 ¾ cups milk and the dissolved gelatine and slowly stir over a saucepan of simmering water until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool and, when almost set, add the pulp from 6 passionfruit. Beat 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form, fold into passionfruit mixture, and turn into a soufflé tin. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight before serving.

Recipe: Country Women's Association Cook Book

ASPARAGUS

Asparagus is a vegetable now in season. It contains the essential B group vitamins of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and biotin. One serving will give us over 20% of our daily folate needs and a serve will provide about one quarter of our daily Vitamin C requirements. Asparagus also contains potassium, iron and antioxidants. It has great flavour and is very affordable. Asparagus is low in kilojoules without fat or cholesterol but is high in fibre.

There are three types of asparagus - green, white and purple. Green asparagus derives its colour from the process of photosynthesis as the spear emerges from the soil into direct sunlight. A common misconception is that thin spears are young shoots and therefore more tender. In fact, long, thick dark green glossy spears with tightly closed heads are the best quality. Correct cooking results in vibrant green spears with a delightful tender crisp texture.

White asparagus has long been considered a delicacy, particularly by Europeans, and commands about double the price of green asparagus. White asparagus is exactly the same variety as green asparagus grown in Australia. The difference is that white asparagus is grown in the dark. When asparagus spears are exposed to sunlight, they first turn pink and later, the familiar green colour. Purple asparagus is a different variety to green and white asparagus. Its purple colour comes from the high levels of anthocyanins (potent antioxidants) in the spears. It has lower fibre content than white or green asparagus, making it more tender and the whole spear can be eaten from tip to butt. Purple asparagus produces sweeter, thicker spears than green or white asparagus. Fresh purple asparagus is deeply fruit flavoured and tender crisp.

The small town of Koo Wee Rup, located 65 kms south-east of Melbourne is a unique horticultural region, producing a massive 93% of Australia's asparagus.

Be sure to purchase fresh Australian asparagus. Many tinned varieties originate from overseas.

Sautéed Garlic Asparagus
Ingredients
• 60g butter
• 2 tablespoons macadamia or olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
• Freshly ground pepper
• Parmesan cheese

Method

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium high heat. Stir in the oil and salt. Cook garlic in butter for a minute, but do not brown. Add asparagus, and cook for 10 minutes, turning asparagus to ensure even cooking. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and pepper.

FIGS

There are more than 700 varieties of figs around the world in four major categories. Figs are believed to have existed as far back as 3000 years and it is suggested that the "apple" that Adam gave Eve was really a fig. Figs can either be eaten fresh or preserved by drying. The edible fig known as is a member of the genus Ficus. Other species found in NSW, such as the Moreton Bay fig and Port Jackson fig, but these are not edible. According to an episode of the ABC's programme, Landline in 2007 almost a million figs are produced around the world each year. While the crop is suited to a Mediterranean climate the Australian industry in almost non-existent. Australians biggest fig orchard is less than an hour's drive from Adelaide.

Figs may not be the first fruit you think of when buy fruit but consider these facts. The Health benefits of figs are due to the presence of minerals, vitamins and fibre in them. Figs contain
vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2,calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, potassium and chlorine. Figs are considered to be especially beneficial for Woman's health and the high fibre content has benefits for the digestive system as well as promoting bone density. Figs are shown to help prevent breast cancer and macular degeneration.

Dried figs are readily available and easy to store but choose ones that are sulphide free. When choosing fresh figs pick tender, plump and bruise free ones and wash them just before you eat them. So consider figs for the good of your health and Australian ones if you can find them.

Figs can be used in jams on their own or accompanied with apples.

A recipe from Con, of the Richmond Fruit Market (source "Hawkesbury Independent') uses several fresh ingredients to accompany the Fig, so why not give it a try.

Figs with Blue Cheese & Proscuitto

Prep about 15mins, Cooking about 10mins, Serves 4

Ingredients
8 large figs
75gr soft blue cheese, cut into 8 pieces
8 thin slices of prosciutto
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 200°c. Trim fig stems and cut a small cross into the top of each fig

2. Place a piece of blue cheese into each fig and wrap fig in a slice of prosciutto. Place in a medium baking dish. Drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until cheese melts and figs are just tender.

 

 


Membership Software by APT