This month, try some exotic fruit and vegetables – and check out the latest healthy products on the shelf.
Also known as carambola, these glossy yellow or pale green fruit have five distinct ‘ribs’ that, when sliced, give this fruit its name. The entire fruit is edible, including the skin, and tastes great in Asian-style and fruit salads. They’re also perfect for topping pavlova! Per cup, starfruit contains just 171kJ, 3.7g fibre (12–14% RDI) and 45mg vitamin C (100% RDI).
These small, slender pods have white flesh with lots of edible white seeds, and a mild, zucchini-like flavour. Available from September–May, okra tastes best when boiled, steamed or sautéed. And don’t be alarmed if they release a sticky, gelatinous-like substance when sliced. The substance is edible, but many people prefer to minimise this stickiness by cooking okra whole and/or cooking them with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, tomatoes or vinegar.
Add this Aussie classic to your barbecue
Have you been avoiding prawns because of their cholesterol content? You’ll be happy to know they are back on the menu! Research has found that dietary cholesterol has a minimal effect on your cholesterol levels (it’s more important to stay away from saturated fat).
Prawns are a good source of protein and are high in calcium, too (10 king prawns have 40g protein, 240mg calcium and only 1.1g fat). Pick up some Australian King Prawns for your next barbie. They’re full of flavour and caught in some of the world’s cleanest oceans in WA, SA and QLD between November–December and February–June.
These small round, red fruit are covered with long red tendrils, making them look like sea urchins. They have juicy, white flesh similar to lychees, though slightly more tart. Available from September-May, rambutans are best in fruit salad or on their own – simply peel off the skin and remove the inedible stones. Look for rambutans that feel relatively heavy for their size, with firm tendrils that are not showing any signs of turning black.
Not sure how to use rambutans? Try this simple dessert: serve peeled, de-stoned rambutans over rice pudding and sprinkle with toasted, shredded coconut.
Also known as Belgian endive, this pale-coloured relative of lettuce has small, tightly closed, white to pale yellow leaves. Store it in a paper bag in the crisper, as exposure to light can cause the leaves to turn green and become bitter-tasting.
For a quick snack or healthy entrée, fill the crisp leaves with delicious combinations like low-fat cottage cheese mixed with cracked black pepper and topped with sliced radishes, or tuna combined with crunchy celery and raisins.
Other products to try
Flora pro-activ buttery: This new variety of plant sterol spread is churned with real buttermilk. It’s versatile enough to use for baking, cooking or spreading. Remember, to gain the cholesterol-lowering effect, you need to consume three teaspoons of the spread per day.
Annie’s Fruit Leathers: These 100% pure fruit leathers are high in fibre; fat-, gluten- and dairy-free; and contain no added sugar. Each one contains 2–3 serves of fruit, making them a good way to sneak some fruit into your kids’ lunchboxes. Look for them in Coles.
Ajita’s Vege Twists and Vege Deli Rice Crisps: These new gluten-free snacks are a great alternative to potato chips, with 40% less fat and 80% less saturated fat. They contain about 400kJ and 128–200mg sodium per 20g serve. But with 6g fat per serve, they’re still considered a ‘treat’.