Asparagus has a relatively short growing season. When buying, the tips should be tightly furled and fresh looking, and the stalks fresh and straight. If the stalks are badly scarred or drooping they shouldn’t be purchased.
Aubergines are cultivated and eaten throughout the world but most particularly in Europe, Asia and America. Aubergines, which are also known as ‘egg plants’, belong to the same family as potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.
Beetroot has been eaten since Roman times and by the mid-nineteenth Century it had become a very popular vegetable. Beetroot is usually boiled, baked, braised or pickled in vinegar. Red beetroot originated from Beta vulgaris, which is a native of Southern Europe.
Broad beans are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables known to man. They have been eaten as a staple food since medieval times. Broad beans are a member of the Legume family. Thick fleshy pods protect the edible seeds.
A member of the Brassica (cabbage) family, the edible part is the central flower stalk. It has become a very popular vegetable in recent years. It is best served lightly blanched or eaten raw in salads.
Brussels Sprouts belong to the Brassica family and have a distinctive "love or hate" flavour. They are believed to have originated in Flanders (part of modern day Belgium) in the Middle Ages.
The cabbage we eat today came from the wild or sea cabbage, which is a native of Europe. There is a cabbage type for every season of the year, each distinct in appearance, colour, size and shape.
After potatoes, carrots are without doubt the best-known and most popular root vegetable of all. The carrots we eat today were developed from the wild carrot but until the Middle Ages carrots eaten in this country were purple.
This is a popular member of the Brassica family, which, like cabbage, should not be overcooked.It is believed to have originated from China and from there it was brought to the Middle East.
Celeriac was developed from celery and is known as turnip-rooted celery. It is knobbly with a patchy brown and white skin and has a similar but less pronounced flavour than celery. Celeriac contains useful amounts of fibre, Vitamin C and folic acid. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
French beans are related to broad beans and a member of the Legume family. This name encompasses a range of green beans, including the snap bean and bobby bean. Their long green fleshy pods are at their best before they become stringy.