If ever a vegetable was worthy of having a year named after it, it’s the humble potato. The United nations declared 2008 as Year of the Potatoes, and, with 97 per cent of New Zealanders eating them, they’re a culinary staple worth celebrating.
Although some people may struggle to distinguish between waxy, floury and general-purpose potatoes, once figured out, this can make the world of difference to your culinary adventures. For instance, new potatoes are a great, easy addition to salads, whereas floury potatoes roast particularly well.
Avoid planting potatoes in the same spot, year after year, to minimises the risk of disease. Planting seed potatoes also minimises this risk as they have been bred to resist disease and are certified.
Make sure to buy your seed potatoes at least a month before planting, to enable them to sprout before planting.
One medium potato has around 330kJ, 2.5g protein, 15g carbs, 2g fibre and no fat. Potatoes add vitamin C, folate, potassium, magnesium and iron to our diet. Cooked and cooled potatoes contain resistant starch, a type of fibre most of us could do with more of, so enjoy those potato salads this summer.
If the sight of strawberries doesn’t make you think about summer, then perhaps you need to familiarise yourself with the pavlova, or a real fruit ice cream consisting of only this delicious, red, juicy fruit.
Strawberries can be traced back to the Romans and Greeks, and years later, they were carved into altars and church pillars — a fruit worthy of celebration!
Strawberries can be grown in most parts of New Zealand, although 40 per cent of commercially grown strawberries are grown in Auckland. When planting, remember to add extra potassium as this is what the plants need to thrive, as well as ensuring they’ll get plenty of sun. A simple rule of thumb is to plant five plants for each person in the household — this will ensure a continuous supply.
Interestingly, strawberries are actually a member of the rose family. With just 120kJ, half a cup of strawberries — six to seven fruit — adds 1.5g fibre and 37mg vitamin C.
Fresh this month
Harvested in New Zealand gardens in November
Blueberries, boysenberries, gooseberries, strawberries, tropical guavas.
Artichokes (globe), asparagus, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, green cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, courgettes, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, garlic, lettuce, mizuna, onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, silver beet, spinach, squash, swedes, watercress.
Basil, chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme.