Fresh local produce is best, and with the winter harvest in full swing, there’s an abundance of vegetables to create warming winter meals.

Walking into your local supermarket or greengrocer, it’s hard to tell what is actually locally in season.  So much of our food comes from other areas, states or even countries and is trucked around the nation.

I like to eat with the seasons and always try to take advantage of local produce.  It’s fresher, cheaper and a great way to keep in touch with changing seasons.  I also think it tastes better.

At the moment local growers are harvesting broccoli, capsicum, sweetcorn and tomatoes.

Where they come from and how to store them

  • When it comes to tomatoes, Queensland, as the major producer, feeds the nation. Bowen is the largest production area but Bundaberg, the Lockyer Valley and the Granite Belt also produce tomatoes for your table. Store your tomatoes on the kitchen bench at room temperature.
  • Queensland grows 20 per cent of Australia’s brassica vegetables (broccoli, baby broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), mostly in the Lockyer Valley where it is harvested during winter and spring. Here’s a tip from the growers – don’t store your broccoli in that plastic bag that you bought it in at the supermarket.  It will keep much better in a perforated bag or wrapped in a damp paper towel, but is best consumed fresh.
  • About 70 per cent of Australia’s capsicums are grown in Queensland, mainly in Bundaberg and Bowen. You can keep whole capsicums in the crisper and cut capsicums in a plastic bag.
  • Sweetcorn is grown in the Burdekin and Lockyer Valley.  About 20,000 tonnes or 2.5 million cartons of sweetcorn will be harvested in North Queensland this year. Best to eat this vegetable fresh as the longer it is kept, the starchier it becomes. You can put the cobs in air-tight plastic zip lock bags and refrigerate for up to three days.

Colour Your Winter Frittata

Here’s a recipe which combines all these great winter vegetables in one.

Ingredients

3 spring onions

1/2 small onion, chopped

3 cups chopped vegetables: capsicum, sweetcorn, tomato and broccoli cooked until just tender in a microwave oven or steamed.

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1 – 2 teaspoons of oil

7 large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup low or reduced fat milk

1/4 cup low or reduced fat cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 Celsius
  2. Mix the cooked vegetables with the spring onions and parsley. Brush the inside of an oven proof pan with the minimum amount of oil. Place the vegetable mixture into the pan.
  3. In a large jug, whisk the eggs with the milk. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the vegetables leaving space at the top of the pan so the mixture does not spill over.
  4. Sprinkle the frittata with a little cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until just firm and golden brown.  Avoid overcooking or you will end up with a rubbery frittata.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan using a blunt knife.  Cut the frittata into slices and serve. If not suing at once, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 days.