Garlic is a species in the onion family Alliaceae. The bulb of garlic, the most commonly used part of the plant, is divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. The leaves, stems, and flowers on the head are also edible and are most often consumed while immature and still tender. The papery, protective layers of “skin” over various parts of the plant and the roots attached to the bulb are the only parts not considered palatable.
Although tomatoes are now available year-round, the truly wonderful qualities of tomatoes are the best when they are in season from July through September. Tomatoes have fleshy internal segments filled with slippery seeds surrounded by a watery matrix. They can be red, yellow, orange, green, purple, or brown in colour. Although tomatoes are fruits in a botanical sense, they don’t have the dessert quality sweetness of other fruits. Instead they have a subtle sweetness that is complemented by a slightly bitter and acidic taste. Cooking tempers the acid and bitter qualities in tomatoes and brings out their warm, rich, sweetness.
The onion, known scientifically as Allium cepa, is, on the surface, a humble brown, white or red, paper-thin skinned bulb; yet, despite its plain looks, has an intense flavour and is a beloved part of the cuisine of almost every region of the world. The word onion comes from the Latin word unio for “single,” or “one,” because the onion plant produces a single bulb, unlike its cousin, the garlic, that produces many small bulbs. The name also describes the onion bulb when cut down the middle; it is a union of many separate, concentrically arranged layers.
It is an important staple food and the number one vegetable crop in the world. The potatoes are the swollen portion of the underground stem which is called a tuber and is designed to provide food for the green leafy portion of the plant. There are about 100 varieties of edible potatoes. They are often classified as either mature potatoes (the large potatoes that we are generally familiar with) or new potatoes (those that are harvested before maturity and are of a much smaller size). As potatoes have a neutral starchy flavour, they serve as a good complement to many meals.
The pea is a green, pod-shaped vegetable, widely grown as a cool-season vegetable crop. A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the legume Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Although it is botanically a fruit it is treated as a vegetable in cooking. In early times, peas were grown mostly for their dry seeds. In modern times, however, peas are usually boiled or steamed, which breaks down the cell walls and makes the taste sweeter and the nutrients more bio-available.
It is a vegetable round in shape, consisting of layers of thick leaves that grow around each other from the stem. There are different varieties of cabbage to choose these days, from round to conical in shape, with flat or curly, tight or loose leaves in green, white, red, and purple colors. The most common is the round, light green or white head variety
Capsicum should be a uniform, glossy colour, firm. The peppers can be round, long or square. Depending on the variety, it may be mild, sweet, hot or fiery. Capsicums are also called green, red or yellow peppers. The two varieties are sweet pepper or chili pepper. Sweet peppers are green, orange, red or black capsicums with a mild flavour. Chili peppers are significantly smaller than sweet peppers. They are also green, orange, and red but are extremely hot.
Carrot have a long, narrow, cylindrical cone shape root, but they are also found in other varieties that may be thick and short in shape, or that are orange, red, purple, yellow, or white in color. The carrot has a sweet flavor and is one of the most popular versatile root vegetables. The carrot has a thick, fleshy, deeply colored root, which grows underground, and feathery green leaves that emerge above ground. Carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet and minty aromatic taste
The milk, sweet, almost nutty flavor of cauliflower is at its best from December through March when it is in season and most plentiful in your local markets. Cauliflower has a compact head (called a “curd”), usually about six inches in diameter that is composed of undeveloped flower buds. The flowers are attached to a central stalk. Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, is in the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage. When broken apart into separate buds, cauliflower looks like a little tree, something that many kids are fascinated by. Raw cauliflower is firm yet a bit spongy in texture. It has a slightly sulfurous and faintly bitter flavor.
Coconut belongs to the Palm family Arecaceae and is found growing around the world in lowland, tropical and subtropical habitats. Classed as a fruit, it is actually a one-seeded drupe. Coconut fruits are large and nearly round. The husk is hard, medium brown, and has a rough, hairy surface. Three round depressions are found on one end of the fruit. The fruit is used for its husk, white flesh, and liquid in the fruit called “milk.” The fruit harvested from the coconut tree, which lives for 70 years, producing thousands of coconuts. The white flesh of the fruit is the coconut meat. The center contains a watery liquid coconut juice which is often sipped straight from the coconut.
Sometimes referred to as a bean, this long, rigid pod grows on a tree. Its hard, green outer covering is rigid enough to earn its common name of drumstick. They are a popular ingredient in vegetable curries. These long, slender pods are tricky for those not brought up to eat them. The only portion consumed is the soft, almost jelly-like interior in which the seeds are embedded. The seeds, too, are nice to eat if the beans are young, but a drumstick is never young enough to eat the outer skin. Simmered in lightly salted water for 7-10 minutes they make good eating – but discard the outer skin after scooping out the pulp.
Okra is a type of green vegetable, long finger like, having a small tip at the taporing end. Its head shows a bulge, lighter green in shade, which is often removed as inedible portion. The cross section cut okra shows white coloured round seeds spread entirely inside the vegetable. One of the peculiar signs of this vegetable is the internal stickiness. The lady’s finger may be cut in to round pieces or sliced in to 4 halves or may be put whole in a mix vegetable subji. The taste is very specific to the vegetable and generally liked by children.