Whether cultivated or harvested from the wild, mushrooms are far from being a vegetable but are the edible fruit bodies of fungi that grow from either above or below the soil. There are many thousands of species with many more believed still to be discovered but only a small fraction are actually cultivated for our enjoyment. Such cultivation, however, has a long history going back thousands of years in all corners of the world from China, the Romans, Greeks and even ancient Chile.
Mushrooms are available throughout the year but wild mushrooms do have their season with morels being at their best in the Spring. Due to the many varieties of poisonous mushrooms, it really is best to buy all your mushrooms from a reputable source unless you really know what you’re doing as they really can kill. As well as providing a fabulous earthy flavour to any dish, the mushroom is a great source of important minerals and B vitamins.
Possibly one of the ugliest vegetable on the shelf but this alien looking root should not be passed by. With a wonderful celery-like flavour with nutty tones, it is incredibly versatile and can be eaten raw in salads or roasted, steamed, boiled, mashed and makes for a rich and nutritious soup. It also has an amazing long storage span and, if kept cool, will keep for many weeks if not months.
Known throughout the world and also referred to as turnip-rooted celery or knob celery, it originates from the Mediterranean Basin and can still be found growing wild in these regions. As a great nutritional all rounder, it is packed with essential vitamins and minerals and yet very low in calories with very little starch content unlike potatoes.
There is much to be said for naming a vegetable in the most descriptive way possible and these really are as so called. They are the first cabbages of spring and most definitely green, packed with taste and goodness. They are a welcome offering following on from winter with a softer texture than cabbages, a sweeter flavour and really fresh. They are best bought whole and resemble a head of cos lettuce with a darker hue.
These are probably the closest you will get to wild cabbage and truly lend themselves to being cooked rapidly, either steaming or add into dishes, soups and stews at the final stages. One transformation of spring greens is served from nearly every chinese restaurant in the land and goes by a more deceiving label of crispy seaweed.