QUEENSLAND is blessed with fertile farmlands and a rich multicultural heritage, and as a result we have a food culture that is strong and growing.
During winter we often stick to hearty meals like stews, roasts, pastas and curries. Sometimes served with winter staples such as beans, kale, potatoes, onions and carrots.
And while we all enjoy them, as the weather warms we look forward to the introduction of new fresh foods and dishes.
Out of the cold and into the sun, this change in season means choosing the best fruits and vegetables is a great way to shake up your routine, also making sure you get the tastiest produce around.
Spring gives us a variety of new colours and with that a variety of nutrients to keep us vibrant this season.
Fleshy fruits and a range of coloured veggies are at their peak this time of year.
Some spring time favourites include apples, avocados, bananas, berries, grapes, melons, Kiwi fruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, mangoes, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, watermelon, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, sweet corn, kale, tomatoes and zucchini.
While there are so many great spring fresh food options, we've selected a few to brag about:
Bursting with flavour, with a delicious nutty crunch, Australian-grown asparagus is now in season.
When buying, look for firm asparagus with even-sized spears and tightly closed tips.
Then simply snap or slice off the woody end from the spear before using.
You can grill them, pan fry them, sauté with eggs and bacon for breakfast. Throw them in a frittata or salad.
This tender, grassy, and sweet vegetable is a true marker of the triumphant arrival of spring.
Health benefits of eating asparagus include:
Helps strengthen the immune system and protects cells from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Promotes overall digestion.
Is a brain booster.
Is full of folate and Vitamin B that could lift your spirits.
Slice, dice, chop, grate, spiralise - There's so many different ways you can use this gem.
With its tender flesh and mild flavour, zucchini is a very versatile veggie.
Due to its delicate flavour and texture, zucchini naturally takes up other flavours and can be used in many different ways. Better still - no need to peel, just use the entire vegetable!
Health benefits of eating zucchini include:
Can slow down aging.
Lowers blood sugar levels.
Supports healthy circulation and a healthy heart.
Can improve eye health.
Helps with weight loss.
Improves thyroid and adrenal functions.
Here's a few ideas on how to use zucchini and entice the kids to eat it.
Zucchini ribbons - Using a vegetable peeler, slice zucchini lengthways to make these delicate wafer-thin ribbons. Toss into salads and hot pasta sauces.
Zucchini rounds - Thread onto skewers to complement chicken or meat or use as a delicious addition to stir-fries or frittatas.
Grated or blitzed zucchini - Add to burger or meatball mixtures, bolognese sauce or fritters.
Spiralized zucchini zoodles - Made using a spiraliser, zoodles - these bright veggie curls - can be used in place of spaghetti, added to coleslaw or tossed through salads. This is a fun way to serve to kids!
Add some tropical flavour and sweetness to your day with fresh pineapple.
At its best from mid-spring through to the end of summer, this delicious fruit is picked ripe and ready to eat.
Once home, leave your whole pineapple at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and use within four days. Once cut, peel and store pineapple in an airtight container in the fridge.
Team pineapple with the fresh flavours of mint, lime, chilli, passionfruit, ginger or coconut. Caramelise pineapple wedges in a pan with brown sugar and add a dollop of cream, yogurt or ice-cream and hey presto, you have a quick and easy desert.
Health benefits of eating pineapple include:
Immune system support.
Such a versatile fruit! Select deep-purple plump blueberries with a pale blush on the skin, avoiding any with wrinkled skin.
Once home, store in your fridge and use within a few days. A quick rinse in cold water is all that's required.
Use them in smoothies, salads, on top of your favourite muesli or granola, make muffins with them, or throw them in your pancake mix for the kids.
Health benefits of eating blueberries include:
Considered the king of antioxidant foods.
Reduce DNA damage which may help protect against ageing and cancer.
Protect cholesterol in the blood from becoming damaged.
May lower blood pressure.