Category Archives: Name That Vegetable

Have you ever wandered the produce aisle of the grocery store and wondered, “what in the world is that vegetable?”

Have no fear. We’ve developed handy fact sheets to assist you in trying new things. Browse the information below to to learn what those vegetables taste like, what nutrition they contain, how to select and prepare them, and very simple recipes to try. Our recipes are designed for the beginner chef, so don’t be afraid to try something new!

Cabbage

Cabbage is another nutritious and versatile Brassica vegetable that is easy to purchase locally. Cabbage thrives in cool weather climates, and is plentiful in the summer and through the fall. Well-stored cabbage can even last into the winter. There are three main types of cabbage: green, red and savoy. Each type has its own flavour, texture, and nutritional profile. Experiment with all varieties to find out which one you prefer.

Nutrition

Cabbage is a very nutritious. It is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C, and a very good source of fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. Glucosinolates found in cabbage are powerful anti-cancer compounds, and also help maintain a healthy digestive tract. Cabbage is also a powerful cholesterol reducer. All around, cabbage is just what the doctor ordered!

How to Select

Choose cabbage heads that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, colorful leaves free of cracks, bruises, and blemishes. There should be only a few outer loose leaves attached to the stem. Avoid buying precut cabbage, as it begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content once it is cut. Keep cabbage in a cool, humid environment and it can been stored for long periods of time

How to Prepare

RAW: Cabbage is a great staple for a fresh and fulfilling salad. Many coleslaws and Asian salads use cabbage as the main ingredient. Try finely shredding cabbage and other raw vegetables over warm rice and covering with an asian-inspired tahini sauce. If you are feeling adventurous, try making your own sauerkraut or kimchi.

COOKED: Cabbage can be steamed, boiled, baked, stewed or sautéed. Bulk up your favourite soup by adding chopped cabbage. Try tossing cabbage into stir fries or baking in casseroles. The leaves of these versatile vegetables can even serve wraps for various fillings. Traditional cabbage rolls are cabbage leaves stuffed with a beef filling and baked in a tomato sauce.

Simple Asian Cabbage Salad Recipe

Cabbage, Green onions, Ramen noodles, Vinegar, Oil, Sugar, Sesame Seeds, Salt & pepper

  1. Remove wilted outer cabbage leaves. Wash and core cabbage. Chop into small pieces.
  2. Wash and dice green onions. Crumble dry ramen noodles into small pieces.
  3. Place chopped cabbage in salad bowl and toss with onions, sesame seeds and ramen noodles.
  4. Mix equal parts vinegar, oil and sugar in a small bowl to make dressing. Add salt and pepper and ramen seasoning to dressing if desired.
  5. Pour dressing over the salad and toss. Allow salad to sit for an 1-2 hours to soften and absorb dressing

Download Cabbage Fact Sheet in printable format (.pdf 288kb)

Garlic Scapes

These beautiful green curly shoots are the early summer flower stocks of hardneck garlic. Garderners will trim the these stocks to encourage the plant to put its energy into producing a large root bulb, and are left with tasty green garlic that has a consistency similar to asparagus. Garlic scapes are a real delicacy: they have a fresh garlic flavour, but are mild and contain little spice or bite. Scapes are most often used to make pesto, pickles, soups and stir-fries, and can even be steamed or roasted and eaten on their own. Scapes are generally only available directly from your local farmer in summertime.

Nutrition

As members of the allium family (onions, leeks, chives, etc), garlic is rich in sulfur-containing compounds that can reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides and total cholesterol, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Garlic has long been used as a traditional medicine for preventing and fighting the common cold. Garlic is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C and a good source of selenium. Because the health benefits of garlic are best acquired through its raw form, scapes are an ideal way to consume raw garlic without the enduring overwhelming and spicy flavour of the garlic bulb.

How to Select

Scapes should be young, green and curly, free from discolouration. Older scapes will straighten out over time and develop a tougher texture and spicier flavour.

How to prepare

RAW: Wash and dice into small pieces as an addition to salads. Mince scapes and add them to cream cheese or mayonnaise for a tasty dip. Puree raw scapes with parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt for a delicious pesto

COOKED: Scapes can be roasted, boiled, steamed, sautéed, grilled, or stewed. Try adding scapes to your favourite soup or omelet, steam or sauté them and place them in a sandwich or burger, or eat them roasted all on their own with a bit of oil, salt and pepper

Simple Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

You need: Garlic Scapes, parmesan cheese, almonds or walnuts, olive oil, Pepper

  1. Use equal parts nuts, cheese and oil, and use two parts garlic scapes. Add pepper to taste.
  2. Mince the garlic scapes and nuts, and finely grate the cheese, or add all ingredients in a food processor and blend.
  3. Mix all ingredients together. The longer the mixture sits, the more the flavours will meld
  4. Coat your favorite cooked pasta noodles with pesto for a delicious meal, spread the pesto on French bread as an appetizer, or serve a dollop on your with eggs at breakfast.

Download in Garlic Scape Fact Sheet .pdf format

Saskatoons

The saskatoon plant is native to Western and Central Canada and is a traditional food and medicine staple for First Nations. The fruit of the saskatoon plant, also known as saskatoon berries, resemble blueberries in size and color, but have a dense and nutty fruit flavour. The Saskatoon is not actually a berry, but is a pome, botanically similar to the apple. Saskatoons are considered a superfood, with high levels of antioxidants and nutrients, as well as protein and fibre. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try these amazing fruits as they are generally only available seasonally through local growers or wild foraging.

Nutrition

First Nations used the saskatoon extensively for food, medicine, and craft purposes. Modern science has also found the berry to be an excellent food source, very high in fibre and antioxidants, and a source of protein and several other essential minerals, including magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and protein.

How to Select

Saskatoons are harvested when plump and purple in mid summer. Berries intended for jam are harvested early, when pectin and acid concentrations are higher. Berries destined for the fresh fruit market are picked later in order to take advantage of the high sugar content. Avoid fruits that are dried or shriveled.

How to Prepare

RAW: Simply wash and enjoy. Try adding saskatoons to cereal or yoghurt for a nutritious start to your day. Blend them in a smoothie with other fruits, milk or yoghurt and flax seed for a powerful and refreshing summer meal.

COOKED: Saskatoons can be used to make a variety of delicious seasonal desserts. Try substituting saskatoons for blueberries in your favourite jam, crisp, or pie recipe.

Simple Saskatoon Crumble Recipe

3 lbs Saskatoons, 1 cup flour, 1 cup Brown sugar, ½ cup cold butter, 1 tsp Cinnamon, ½ tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash saskatoons and place wet fruit in bottom of baking dish.
  2. In a bowl combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Dice cold butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients.
  4. Sprinkle topping over fruit in pan and press down into even form
  5. Place dish in oven and bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is tender. Approx 50 minutes.
  6. Enjoy on its own or with vanilla ice cream

*Pastry technique: Use two knives to dice butter into mixture until the mixture resembles the consistency of bread crumbs

Download Saskatoon Fact Sheet in .pdf format

Squash

Squash is a term used to describe many varieties of the Cucurbita genus. Summer squash, such as zucchinis, yellow crooknecks and patty pans and are harvested as immature fruit when skin and flesh is tender and can be eaten raw. Winter squash, such as pumpkin, acorn, spaghetti, delicata, and butternut are harvested when the seeds are developed, the skin has hardened and the fruits are mature. While summer varieties are a seasonal favourite, winter varieties are a staple of northern pantries as they can be stored year-round after harvest.

Nutrition

Squash is a starchy vegetable that is rich in vitamins A and C and a good source of potassium, fibre and omega 3 fatty acids. Squash are extremely rich in antioxidant carotenoids, proving health benefits for skin and eyes and strong anti-cancer properties – the richer the colour of squash, the higher the likely carotenoid content. Because of their water content, summer squash are less nutritionally dense than winter squash.

How to Select

Summer squash: select small fruits that are heavy for their size with shiny, soft skins.

Winter squash: select fruits that are firm and heavy for their size, with dull skin. Avoid squash that is blemished or shows signs of decay.

How to Prepare

RAW: Zucchinis are the best squash eaten raw. Grate them into salads, on top of sandwiches, or into muffin mixes. Slice them up for snacking with a tasty dip.

COOKED: Summer squash makes an excellent addition to stir-fry. Winter squash can steamed, baked, roasted, and simmered or pureed in soups. Squash seeds can be saved and toasted as tasty snack.

Simple Butternut Squash Recipe

Butternut squash, onion, granny smith apple, carrot, soup stock, oil, salt & pepper

  1. Peel squash, remove stem, cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out pulp and seeds.
  2. Chop squash into 1 inch cubes and add to steamer basket. Steam for 15 min.
  3. Clean, peel and chop onion, carrots and apple.
  4. In a large saucepan, add oil and sauté onions, carrots and apple for 5-7 min.
  5. Add soup stock and cooked squash to saucepan. Simmer for 30 min. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Allow soup to cool and transfer to blender. Puree. Serve.
  7. Optional: Top with sour cream and chives. Try adding nutmeg or curry powder to the soup.

Download Squash Fact Sheet in .pdf format

Rutabaga

Rutabagas are often mistaken as turnips, but are actually their own distinct member of the Brassica genus. Rutabagas thrive in colder climates and grow abundantly in the north. Rutabagas are inexpensive and can be stored for long periods of time, making them generally available locally year-round. They are harvested in late summer and early fall when flavor is at its peak. The rutabaga has a delicate flavor that is similar to both cabbage and turnip, but sweeter and denser. It is nutritious, inexpensive and easy to prepare – a great staple for any family or student diet.

Nutrition

Rutabagas are rich in vitamin C and potassium. They have been known to enhance digestion and stamina, decrease risk of heart stroke and lower high blood pressure. The rutabaga can help relieve constipation problems, but is also prone to cause gas.

How to Select

Look for small, smooth, firm rutabagas that are heavy for their size.

How to Prepare

RAW: Peel, slice and enjoy as a snack. Chop, dice, or grate them and add to salads of all kinds, including coleslaw and carrot salads.

COOKED: Rutabagas can be roasted, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, mashed, or stewed. Boil them with potatoes and mash together. Quarter them and roast along with potatoes. Enhance the flavor of stews with chopped or quartered rutabagas. Dice them and add to soups. Stir-fry with onions.

Simple Rutabaga Recipe

Rutabaga, butter, salt and pepper, curry powder, brown sugar

  1. Peel the rutabaga and chop into half-inch cubes.
  2. Place in a medium skillet with 1.5 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Add a pat of butter or 1 tbsp. olive oil.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add curry powder and a pinch of brown sugar
  5. Lower heat and simmer until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Drain and serve mashed or whole

Download Rutabaga Fact Sheet in .pdf format

Parsnip

Parsnips are similar to carrots, but are lighter in colour, more nutritious and have a  sweeter flavour. The parsnip grows best in northern conditions, and is most flavourful after the first fall frost. Decades ago parsnips were a mainstay for winter cooking, but were largely replaced by the potato in the 1900s. Parsnips can be stored for long periods of time and are generally available locally year-round. They are harvested in early fall when flavor is at its peak.

Nutrition

Parsnips provide an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, and manganese.  They also offer a very good source of niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium. They are a good source of riboflavin, folic acid, and vitamins B6 and E.  Parsnips provide similar nutritional benefits as potatoes except that they are lower in calories and protein, but higher in fibre.

How to Select

Parsnips should be firm, intact, and white in color; the whiter the color, the sweeter the parsnip. Avoid parsnips that are yellowing or browning around the core and parsnips that are excessively large. Large parsnips will have a woody texture. Look for parsnips that are heavy for their size.

How to Prepare

RAW: Parsnips can be eaten raw when small and tender. Wash, peel and grate into salads. In general, parsnips should always be peeled.

COOKED: Parsnips are best roasted, but do well steamed or mashed like potatoes. They are also a wonderful addition to soups. Cook them with other roots vegetables for a tasty casserole. If parsnips are excessively large, be sure to remove to woody core.

Simple Parsnip Recipe

Parsnip Fries & Dip: parsnips, butter, dijon mustard, maple syrup

  1. Wash and peel parsnips.
  2. Cut parsnips into rounds or sticks.
  3. Toss parsnips in salt, pepper and melted butter. Spread out in shallow baking dish.
  4. Place in 400 degree oven and cook 40 min. Turn parsnips over occasionally while cooking.
  5. In small bowl, mix 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp dijon mustard, and 2 tbsp maple syrup
  6. Enjoy dijon sauce and parsnips as you would ketchup and roasted potatoes.

Download Parnsip Fact Sheet in .pdf format

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is another delicious and nutritious Brassica vegetable that is extremely easy to prepare. Kohlrabi is easy to grow and thrives in cool weather climates, making it an ideal vegetable to purchase locally in the spring, summer and through the fall. Kohlrabi has a sweet and mild taste similar to broccoli stem, with a hint of spiciness.

Nutrition

Like its cousin, the cabbage, kohlrabi is packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants with few calories. Kohlrabi is a great source of dietary fibre, along with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium calcium folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. In fact, one serving of kohlrabi provides you with your entire daily vitamin C requirement.

How to Select

The purple kohlrabi tends to be tougher and sweeter than its softer, milder green or white counterparts. The smaller the kohlrabi, the more sweet and tender it will be. Larger, over mature kohlrabi can have a woody texture and tough skin. Look for firm, heavy bulbs with crisp, green leaves.

How to Prepare

RAW: Kohlrabi is great served raw. Be sure to wash and peel your kohlrabi; small tender bulbs may not need much peeling. Slice kohlrabi into sticks to add to a veggie plate, or grate kohlrabi into a unique salad with other vegetables.

COOKED: Kolhrabi can be steamed, boiled, grilled, baked, stewed or sautéed. Add a pinch of salt to steamed kohlrabi for a quick side dish. Use kohlrabi to bulk up soups and stews, or toss kohlrabi into your favourite asian stir-fry; its porous consistency will pick up many flavours. Use kohlrabi as a substitute in any recipe that calls for broccoli, cabbage or turnip. Kohlrabi leaves can be prepared just as you would spinach.

Simple Kohlrabi Recipe

You will need: kohlrabi, onion, butter, Water, lemon juice, flour, Salt & pepper

  1. Wash, peel and dice onion and kohlrabi.
  2. Heat butter in a skillet and add kohlrabi and onion. Sauté for 2 min.
  3. Add 1 inch of salted water or broth to pan and cover. Cook until tender.
  4. Sprinkle in 2 tbsp of flour and stir until thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper

Download Kohlrabi Fact Sheet in .pdf format

Kale

Kale is leafy green often used as a garnish but is actually a nutritious and delicious vegetable, with properties similar to broccoli and cabbage. Kale is a main ingredient in many traditional dishes, including Dutch stamppot, Irish colcannon, Portuguese caldo verde, African ugali, and Scandanavian langkål. Kale can generally be found all year round, but is best available locally in the late fall and early winter when freezing temperatures sweeten the taste.

Nutrition

Kale is extremely nutrient rich, high in vitamins A, C, K, B6 and E, potassium, calcium, iron, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. These and other kale nutrients combine to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Kale can lower cholesterol and aid in the body’s cell detoxification process. Pound for pound, kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables with the fewest calories.

How to Select

Look for moist and firm stems with vibrant leaves. Avoid wilted, yellowing or blemished leaves. Young kale stalks are most tender, and kale harvested after the first fall frost is most flavourful. Warm storage temperatures and long storage periods will make kale flavor bitter.

How to Prepare

RAW: Kale can be enjoyed raw, most often in juices and smoothies. Kale’s tough and fibrous stalks are generally not well-suited as raw snacks. Be sure to wash kale thoroughly and buy organic when possible as it is one of the vegetables on the ‘dirty dozen’ list – a list of foods most likely to have the high pesticide residues.

COOKED: Many of the nutrients in kale are more readily available once cooked. Kale can be steamed to make a quick stand-alone dish, sautéed in stir fries, boiled in soups, baked as a pizza topping, or cooked in countless other ways.

Simple Kale Recipe

Kale Chips: kale, oil, salt and pepper, seasoning

  1. Wash kale and separate leaves from stems.
  2. Tear leaves in 2-3 inch pieces.
  3. Add oil, salt and pepper to the bottom of a mixing bowl and add seasoning of your choice
  4. Seasoning options: garlic, parmesan, paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, vinegar, etc
  5. Toss the kale leaves in the oil mixture and spread out on a baking sheet
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy this snack as a healthy alternative to potato chips

Download Kale Fact Sheet in .pdf format

Eggplant

Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, tobacco), and is warm weather crop that will grow well given adequate sunshine, warmth and moisture. It is a vegetable that performs well in northern greenhouses. Eggplant plays a central role in many classic dishes, including French ratatouille, Turkish and Greek moussaka, Indian bharta, and Arabian baba ghanoush. It is generally only available locally in the late summer and early fall.

Nutrition

Eggplant is an excellent source of dietary fibre as well as nutrients such as potassium, copper, manganese, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, folate and magnesium. Eggplant contains several phytonutrients that have been linked to cardiovascular health improvements. A powerful antioxidant called nasunin found in the skin of eggplants may aid in warding off cancer and the effects of aging. Interestingly, Eggplant contains the more nicotine than any other edible plant.

How to Select

Look for eggplants that are firm and heavy, with smooth skin and vibrant colour. The leafy top should be as green as possible, indicating freshness. A ripe eggplant will give until the gentle pressure of your thumb and spring back when released. An unripe eggplant will not spring back and will have a more bitter taste

How to Prepare

RAW: Eggplant is not commonly eaten raw. The plant has a naturally bitter taste that is reduced when cooking.

COOKED: Eggplant plant is most often stewed, roasted or baked, but you may want to try it steamed, deep-fried or sautéed. Eggplant will soak up large quantities of oil and any flavours the oil carries. Try battering eggplant slices before frying to reduce the oil it absorbs. Choose large globe eggplants for the oven and small Japanese eggplants for frying.

 

Simple Eggplant Recipe

Eggplant, onion, red pepper, mushrooms, feta cheese, bacon, spices

  1. Wash a large eggplant and slice lengthwise in half. Brush with oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place eggplant halves face down in baking dish and bake 20 min at 350 degrees or until tender.
  3. In a skillet, fry bacon, onions, peppers and mushroom. Add spices of your choice.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop out roasted eggplant flesh, leaving skin intact.
  5. Mix eggplant flesh with fried veggies and scoop mix back into eggplant skins. Top with feta
  6. Place stuffed eggplants in oven and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Download Eggplant Fact Sheet in .pdf format

Carrot

Highly nutritious and adding colour to any meal, carrots are a versatile vegatable that can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, fried, baked, mashed, pureed, slawed, juiced stewed and in soup. Carrots are inexpensive, can be stored for long periods of time, and are generally available locally year-round after they are harvested in late summer and early fall when flavor is at its peak.

Nutrition

Of all the commonly consumed vegetables, carrots provide the highest amount of provitamin A carotenes.   Carrots also offer an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K, and biotin.  They are a good source of vitamins B6 and C, potassium, and thiamine.  Carrots are also effective in promoting good vision and protecting against cardiovascular disease and cancer.  

How to Select

Carrot roots should be firm, smooth, relatively straight and bright in color. The deeper the orange-color, the more beta-carotene is present in the carrot. Since the sugars are concentrated in the carrots’ core, generally those with larger diameters will have a larger core and therefore be sweeter.

How to prepare

RAW: Wash and gently scrub. If carrots are old or non-organic they should be peeled. If the stem is green, cut it away as it will be bitter. Slice and enjoy as a snack. Chop, dice, or grate them and add to leafy salads. Create a unique salad with grated carrot, beets, apples and raisins. Use a juicer and mix with other fruits or soy milk to make a tasty morning beverage

COOKED: Carrots can be roasted, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, mashed, or stewed. Cook them with other roots vegetables for a tasty casserole. Because only a fraction of the beta-carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion, cooking can improve the nutrient uptake by breaking the fiber, making nutrients and sugars more available, thus also making them taste sweeter.

 

Simple Carrot Recipe

Glazed carrots: Carrots, Butter, Brown Sugar, Honey, Lemon Juice, Pepper

  1. Wash and peel the carrots with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Use 1-2 cups per person.
  2. Chop into slices or sticks.
  3. Place carrots in a medium skillet, cover with water or vegetable and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook until tender (10 min). Drain.
  5. In a fry pan, melt butter, honey, and brown sugar (about 1 tbsp of each per person) together. Cook until sugar is dissolved.
  6. Toss carrots in with glaze and add a touch of lemon juice. Stir until carrots are well-heated and glazed
  7. Garnish with pepper or parsley and enjoy

Download Carrot Fact Sheet in .pdf format