#FORGOTTENFRUITANDVEG SERIES – AVOCADO SEED

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Article by Megan – co-founder of Too Tasty to Throw.

The benefits of eating the delicious green flesh of an avocado are well documented – a healthy ‘good fat’ packed with vitamins and antioxidants to support the skin, heart, blood, tissue and other organs. Also, avocados are one of our favourite foods here in Australia – a serving on toast eaten at a café has recently been blamed for young people not being able to buy a house, with indulging in the luxury being seen as too difficult to give up in order to save some pennies.

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However, did you know that the avocado seed itself, which most would normally throw away, has more than 70% of the avocado’s nutritional benefits?

These include:

  • More soluble fiber than even top tier fiber providers, such as oats;
  • Antioxidants that help regulate intestinal function and have even been shown to help prevent tumours;
  • The oil within ups the amount of collagen in our skin and hair keeping us looking young; and
  • A great source of polyphenols associated with green tea.
  • Great source of calcium, magnesium and potassium

So, if we know the benefits, how do we go about using the seed? Well, it is easier than it might first seem. Simply cut the seed into quarters and process into a powder (more details below). If you dry out the seed, this gives the resulting powder a longer shelf life. This powder can then be added to your morning smoothie, lunchtime soup or evening stew. It is a strong flavour and so best served with other strong flavours. You can also use it as a condiment and grate onto your meals just like salt or pepper.

Avocado Seed Powder Recipe:

  1. Remove seed and rinse
  2. Place in the oven to dehydrate for 1.5-2hrs at 120 deg
  3. Once cool, discard the outer skin and gently press seed into two halves and dice the halves again
  4. Blitz the seed into a fine powder using a high powered blender
  5. Store in the fridge in an airtight container and use a tablespoon at a time.

So, I tried the above process and it worked really well. I went on to make a smoothie – banana, coconut water, avocado seed, ginger and matcha. Attempt one was without the ginger and matcha. The flavor of the avocado seed is definitely strong and adding these made a great taste. Highly recommended – the triplets liked it too!

In addition, you can also put chunks of the seed inside a tea infuser, put the infuser in a mug and pour boiling water over it. It can taste bitter so you may want to add a little bit of honey or other sweetener! This tea is said to be great for stomach aches.  You can also smash the seed and infuse it in olive oil for a week. Once filtered, this oil can be applied to itchy, sore skin. Perfect for the skin over winter!

 

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#FORGOTTENFRUITANDVEG SERIES – PUMPKIN

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Article by Megan – co-founder of Too Tasty to Throw.

Pumpkin is one of the most versatile of vegetables. It can be used in soups, stews, cakes, biscuits, as a spread for toast, a salad ingredient, seeds to top your cereal and skin to use for vegetable stock. The list goes on. However, sadly in terms of waste, it is much more common for people to buy pumpkin pre-cut or in quarters, using a lot more plastic wrap, than buying it whole. Buying and eating the whole pumpkin from skin to seed has so many health benefits, reduces waste and is a lot cheaper. These beauties shouldn’t be reserved for carving at Halloween. So, what can you do with a whole pumpkin?

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Firstly, roast it whole. Anyone who has cooked with pumpkin before knows how difficult it is to cut. So, bypass the cutting and bake the pumpkin in the oven whole. There is very little prep work involved and the pumpkin is much easier to cut into after its been cooked. Simply stab the outer shell a few times with a knife to allow for ventilation and place the pumpkin on a baking dish to roast in the oven at 180 degrees for 45-60 minutes, depending on size. The pumpkin is ready when the flesh is darker, and the skin can be easily pierced with a fork.

Now for what to do with all that pumpkin:

  1. The skin. Why not try making pumpkin crisps? Peel the skin from the cooked pumpkin and cut into crisp sized pieces. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes to crisp up. An alternative is to cut the skin into fine strips and use in a stir fry. YUM!
  2. The flesh. Hummus with half the flesh and muffins with the other? Cut the remaining pumpkin flesh in half and scoop out the seeds from the middle. The flesh is so versatile but one of my favourite recipes is to blitz half a pumpkin in a food processor with a can of chickpeas, 2 tbsp of tahini, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 garlic clove and 1 tsp of cumin and whizz until smooth, for a lighter and healthier hummus. The remainder can be used to make healthy pumpkin muffins. Recipe here.
  3. The seeds. Love peanut butter but want a sustainable alternative making sure you use all the pumpkin? Look no further…roasted pumpkin seeds on a multi grain roll or toast make a great breakfast or take to work lunch. Simply take your seeds and pull away any remaining flesh and rinse clean. Spread over a large baking tray. Add some olive oil and then salt and your preferred spices (fennel, chilli, pepper) and some olive oil. Bake at 180 deg for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Leave to cool. Butter your bread of choice and press into the seeds…delicious.

Now you know what to do with one, what are the benefits of getting as much goodness out of your pumpkin as you can?

  1. Lots of fibre to make sure you feel full. Pumpkin seeds have 1.7g of fibre per 25g, while mashed pumpkin has 3g per cup with only 50 calories. This load of fibre helps keep you feel full.
  2. Twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin A to help your vision.
  3. Pumpkin seed oil is packed with phytoestrogens to help lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension.
  4. Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan to help the body make serotonin to help you sleep better & feel happier.
  5. Pumpkin and its seeds are rich in beta carotene and other antioxidants with cancer protective qualities.
  6. All the fibre also helps heart health. Those eating a diet high in fibre are found in various studies to have a 25-40% lower risk of heart disease.

So head in store, buy a whole pumpkin & eat it skin to seeds!

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In store for #PlasticFreeJuly we are selling our quarters without a plastic wrap on them. They may not look too shabby by the end of the day or week, but that doesn’t mean they should turn into waste. Take it home slice off the front bites and it is good as new OR cut it up, roast it and blend it then put it on the stove – VOILA, pumpkin soup! 

#FORGOTTENFRUITANDVEG SERIES – Celeriac

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Article by Megan – co-founder of Too Tasty to Throw.

We have been trying to incorporate one meat free night a week into our family meal plan. With a 6ft+ husband, hungry three year old triplets, and being a protein loving gym goer myself, this is not an easy feast. However, welcome the humble celeriac. Filling and nutritious, it is definitely worth getting the whole family on board as a celeriac lover sooner rather than later.

Celeriac has so many benefits. These include:

  • Prevents osteoporosis
  • Boosts immune system
  • Helps prevent Parkinson’s disease
  • Helps heart health
  • Helps to heal wounds
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Helps maintain muscle and brain function
  • Reduces inflammation and arthritis
  • Maintains skin health

That all sounds great – but with a rather weird looking, it might be difficult to see how you use them easily in cooking? We are glad you asked, this is what we have found.

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With similarities to celery and turnip, uses range from salads to soups to even peeling like a potato and turning into mash. To be more creative, a favourite recipe I tried this week is in a hearty take on Shepherd’s Pie. We could even freeze the leftovers to reheat when we next wanted to avoid buying more takeaway. A win-win.

So here goes… add some onions and garlic to a pan and fry with some leek, celery and thyme. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and any beans or grains of your choosing (black beans and lentils work well), with some vegetable stock and simmer until the beans are cooked and the sauce reduced. Meanwhile,  peel the celeriac like a potato and boil in a pan of water until tender. Add a can of butter beans and some yoghurt and mash to a smooth consistency. Spoon the tomato and bean mixture into individual ramekins and top with the mash. Bake for half an hour or so in a hot oven until crunchy on the top. Serve with a green side salad or some green veg or the below recipe – time to use more celeriac. Freeze any leftovers once cool in the ramekins to make easy to reheat. Enjoy!

At About Life, next to these strange looking vegetables we place a recipe to take home with you, so you can buy the celeriac and try! You can find the recipe here. Plus doesn’t it just look divine (see below)!

celeriac-salad

 

#forgottenfruitandveg series – Beetroot Heads

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This feature is bought to you by Too Tasty to Throw (TTTT) – we are super excited to be partnered with this wonderful business to combat food waste. TTTT provides a market place for your favourite lifestyle branded cafes and food outlets to sell their surplus produce that would otherwise be thrown away as well as promote special food offers.

This weeks pick – Beetroot Heads. We usually opt for the loose beetroots during our shop instead of the beet-iful whole beets with the roots / stalks attached. Mainly, because we don’t know what to do with the stalks and they usually end up in the waste or compost bins.

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Certified Organic Beetroots – currently $5.95 / bunch in store. Photo: R. Rose

However, beetroot heads have so many benefits. These include:

  • Athletic endurance
  • Detoxifying effects
  • Boost gut health
  • Source of vitamin c, iron, copper and calcium

That all sounds great – but how do you use them in cooking? We are glad you asked, this is what we have found. With similarities to silverbeet and spinach, obvious uses include soups, stews and braising to add to salads. However you can be more creative!

Why not add some chopped beetroot heads to an onion and some garlic and any leftover vegetables you have in the fridge. Add some crumbled cheese (feta would work well) and a sprinkling of nuts and seeds and wrap in a flatbread or the like. Any remaining can be wrapped and taken to work for lunch the next day. A great recipe from something that would normally be binned.

And if you want to boost your gut health further and have a little more time, try this recipe, wait till you see the stunning colours of this dish: http://detoxdiy.com/probiotic-sauerkraut-recipe

Be sure to tag us & use the hashtag #forgottenfruitandveg so we can see how you are using this produce – together we can combat food waste!

The #forgottenfruitandveg series

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Across our social media platforms we will bring you information on produce you see in store but may not buy because you just don’t know what to do with it, plus it is another initiative to combat food waste.

Try something new & buy the picks in this series, otherwise it just gets left behind & forgotten about.

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Our first pick is YELLOW SQUASH – it comes from the same family as pumpkin and zucchini, this vegetable is very versatile. It contains dietary fibre and is a great source of Vitamin C.

Select firm squash that’s heavy for its size and has smooth, glossy skin.

Store in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to three days. Simply wash and cook whole, sliced or cut into wedges.

Cooking tips:
Thread onto skewers with tomatoes and mushrooms and barbecue.
OR
Thinly slice and add to stir-fries with chicken and capsicum.

Using the above hashtag & tagging us, show us how you use Yellow Squash!

Let’s conquer the #WaronWaste

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Bring your own re-usable takeaway cup and we’ll give you 10c off. While our takeaway cups are made from sustainably managed plant sources, naturally, bringing your own is always better. To help you do this, we also offer Keep Cups for sale in our cafés. All our cafés have a FREE self-serve pop up toast bar, where the toast is on us. We’ll shout you to toast, with any takeaway drink. Too easy!

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This goes the same with bringing your shopping bags – About Life supports the campaign to #BanTheBag. Bring your own re-usable shopping bags, and we’ll give you 10c off your shop. While our shopping bags are 100% degradable and designed to be reused and recycled, naturally, bringing your own is always better. To help you do this, we also offer calico totes and hessian shopping bags for sale in stores.

Our calico tote bags are $2.20 and our hessian bags are $3.95. Grab one in store and lets all show our support to #BantheBag!

To find you nearest store to grab a coffee & some toast or for a shop, click here: http://www.aboutlife.com.au/Stores/Store-Locator

MATCHA DUKKAH CRUSTED SALMON

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Matcha gives the fish great lift and adds an amazing bright light green colour.

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Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes – GF, DF, P

What you need:

  • ¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 4 piece salmon fillet, about xx g each, skin on and pin-boned
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 3 ways mash, to serve (see page x)

Dukkah:

  • (½ cup) raw hazelnuts, chopped
  • (½ cup) pistachios, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Matcha green tea powder

Method:

  1. To make the dukkah, preheat the oven to 150˚C. Place all the ingredients except the matcha powder into a blender and blitz until coarsely chopped. Spread over a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until xxx. Remove from the oven and let cool, then stir through the matcha powder.
  2. Place the salmon, flesh side up on a plate. Spread a thin layer/1 tablespoon ? dukkah over the top of each piece to cover evenly.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a large non-stick? Frying pan over high heat. Place the salmon, dukkah-side down and cook for 2 minutes or until xxx. Turn and cook for 10 minutes or until. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove from the pan, stand for 2-3 minutes to rest, then serve with 3 ways mash.

Note: The dukkah recipe will make about 1 cup which is more than you will need for this recipes, but it keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months. Use it for a crust on meat or fish, or simply serve dukkah with sourdough and extra virgin olive oil for dipping when entertaining.

Nutritional information: Matcha is powdered green tea and is high in ORAC antioxidant count. It’s a great pick me up with a slow release of caffeine and it also contains theanine which creates a focusing and calming effect on the body. It’s perfect for lunch on a busy day.