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In season mid-winter: Agria potatoes, carrots, cauliflower

Agria potatoes

Potatoes provide vitamin C, folate, potassium, antioxidants and fibre. It’s best not to peel potatoes as this reduces the fibre and antioxidant content.

Wilcox marketing manager Dean Langrell-Read explains the beauty of the Agria potato.

Why does Agria make the perfect roasting potato? Agria is what we refer to as a fluffy or floury potato, which means it is high in starch and low in water content, compared to other potatoes. When you cook it, the water in the potato breaks down the cells, making the texture light and fluffy.

How many potatoes do Kiwis eat each year? Approximately 125,000 tonnes of potatoes are consumed fresh by New Zealanders a year. This equates to about 26kg per capita – that’s a lot of potatoes (excluding hot chips or crisps too)!

Recipe idea

Lamb with olives, spiced cauliflower and potatoes

Carrots

The orange colour in carrots is from the high amount of beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to vitamin A, important for healthy sight and immunity. The beta-carotene is more readily absorbed when carrots are cooked, grated or pureed, and in the presence of a little fat. But don’t discount raw carrots, as they’re higher in another healthy compound, falcarinol.

Healthy Food Guide spoke to Pypers Produce director Brendan Hamilton, based in Invercargill, about the carrots he grows. Pypers Produce supplies 5000 tonnes for the South Island domestic market, and 5000 tonnes for the overseas export market.

What conditions are best for growing carrots? Good soil with no clods or stones.

What are the main growing areas? Southland, Canterbury, Ohakune and Pukekohe.

What’s the main question people ask you about carrots? The main question is why are Southland carrots so sweet? This is because we grow them in a colder climate, meaning they take longer to mature, enabling them to sweeten.

What’s your number one tip when it comes to growing carrots? Keep them weed free and watered in dry spells.

Do carrots really make you see in the dark? I don’t think it has been proven that carrots make you see in the dark, I’m pretty sure this was an old wives’ tale to make kids eat them. For my grandkids, I still use this saying, but add in ‘their grandad’s carrots!’

Recipe ideas

Sausage, spinach and white bean casserole
Paprika chicken with carrots and ricotta
Marco’s pumpkin and carrot soup

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a good source of vitamins C and B6, as well as fibre. When eating our colourful vegetables, don’t forget white vegetables too, as the majority of flavonoids (a group of beneficial phytonutrients) are not coloured. Cauliflower can be steamed, boiled, roasted, stir-fried, and even made into cauliflower rice. You can also turn this popular vegetable into cauliflower ‘steaks’, by slicing, then covering with your favourite herbs and spices, and baking until golden brown.

Recipe ideas

Prawn, corn and cauliflower chowder
Tandoori chicken skewers with lentil, green pea and cauliflower dhal

Fresh this month

(Harvested in New Zealand gardens in July)

Vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kumara, leeks, parsnips, radishes, silver beet, spinach, swedes, turnips

Herbs: Chives, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme

Fruit: Grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, olives, oranges, tangerines

First published: Jul 2017



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