Real Time Seasonality Calendar

Real Time Seasonality | Chef Network and Keeling's Select

MAY 2020


Find out what's in Season!

Chef Network in partnership with Keeling's Select are working to give you updates every month on the latest and freshest fruit & veg coming into season so you can make the best of the seasonal produce on your menu.

Update your menu and utilise the ingredients that will give you the freshest flavour, inspire your team and delight your customers!

ASPARAGUS

Snap it up while you can

A distant cousin of the onion, the asparagus is also a member of the lilaceae family. The asparagus has been consumed for over 2,000 years. This garden plant is believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean countries and traces of wild varieties have also been discovered in Africa. Some archaeologists also believe that it was cultivated in Egypt as well.

In ancient Greece, asparagus was often considered to be a plant with sacred and aphrodisiac qualities. The Romans, for their part, appreciated the plants more gastronomic qualities. Eating the vegetable as an entrée or as an accompaniment fish. The Ancient Greeks and Romans used a Persian word "asparag" meaning shoot, for what we now call Asparagus. As time went on asparagus was largely forgotten, mainly during the Middle Ages. Eventually, Caesar’s legions returning from the Orient brought asparagus back to Europe.

Asparagus is low in calories but that doesn’t mean it’s not full of nutrients. Asparagus is full of fibre, folate and vitamins A, C and K. It’s also a rich source of antioxidants. A cup of asparagus can provide almost half of an adult’s daily requirement of vitamin K.
Asparagus can be green, white, or purple and can be eaten either raw or cooked. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling, grilling, steaming, roasting and sautéing, but its unique and delicate flavours allow it to be prepared and dressed very simply. Asparagus is planted in the ground three years before it can be harvested for the full season. Farmers only harvest for a short period of time for the first few years in order to allow for further growth. Asparagus has a short season in Ireland and is best eaten very fresh, so it is one of those hyper-seasonal products that you have to grab while you can. Luckily, while at its peak, Asparagus will grow up to 7 inches in one day, so it needs to be harvested frequently and sold quickly through its short season. Be ready to make the best of it in May!




This month's Asparagus from Keeling's Select comes from Marita Colliers from Drummond House in County Louth

Asparagus - Chef Network Real Time Seasonality with Keeling's

STRAWBERRIES

They're Berry Tasty

The strawberry, or Fragaria Ananassa as it’s less commonly known, first appeared in Europe during the 18th century. Strawberries have a very long history indeed and have been enjoyed since as far back as Roman times. Native to many different parts of the world, hundreds of varieties of strawberries exist nowadays, due to different crossbreeding techniques that have developed over the years. In 1714, a French engineer who had been commissioned to Chile & Peru, found that the strawberry native to those regions was in fact, much larger than those which had previously been found in Europe. It was then that he decided to bring a sample of this strawberry back with him, in order to cultivate in France. The end result was a large, juicy and sweet hybrid, which we know now as the modern garden strawberry.

Strawberries today are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fibre. Five strawberries (or a half a serving) contain more antioxidant power than three apples or four bananas and provide more vitamin C than an entire orange. While these sweet berries have powerful antioxidant content, another added benefit for them is that they do not rapidly boost a person’s blood sugar, making them an ideal choice for those who have diabetes, and a safe, delicious addition to any diet.

Strawberries, as it turns out are not actually fruits at all. Their seeds are on the outside, making the strawberry plants, runners, as they are not produced by the seeds. Strawberries also have on average approximately 200 seeds per fruit.

Keeling’s are the only grower producing 100% tabletop strawberries in Ireland. A method of growing strawberries that limits the build-up of pests and diseases, thus ensuring the highest quality strawberries. In 2009, they built a new state of the art strawberry glasshouse on their farm, resulting in the ability to produce over 100 million Irish Strawberries for the Irish market and extend the season into December.



This month's Strawberries at Keeling's Select comes from Keeling's Own Farm in County Dublin.

Strawberries - Chef Network Real Time Seasonality with Keeling's

COURGETTE FLOWERS

Also known as Zucchini Blossoms


Courgette flowers are pretty much what they say on the tin, they are the edible flower of the courgette or zucchini bush. There are two sorts of flower that you can come across: the flower with the immature vegetable attached is the female and the more eye-catching flower on the long stalk is the male. It is the male flower that is sold in bunches and used primarily in Italian cooking.

When you’re looking for courgettes, you should keep an eye out for the courgette with flowers still attached (a sign of youth) and cook them like that. Ideally, you should use them as soon as possible after picking, as the flowers tend to close within hours of picking.

Courgette Flowers contain the some of the same nutritional components as their fruit, such as Potassium, Vitamin A, B9 (Folate or Folic Acid) and Vitamin C, though you don’t get much from the small amounts that are typically consumed. Be aware that flowers that have pollen can cause allergic reactions in some people; removing the reproductive organs (stamen and pistil) reduces the risk but doesn’t eliminate it completely.

Courgette Flowers can be used for many things. You can stuff them, top pizzas & quesadillas, fry them tempura style or use them in soups. These bright summer flowers have a delicate, earthy flavour with grassy undertones that pairs best with cheese-based ingredients. A type of “squash blossom,” courgette flowers can also be pan-fried (go easy since they are so delicate) and served as a side dish or added to eggs. Before eating, remove the green parts (called sepals) around the buds—and shake out any critters that may be hiding inside. To clean them, dip gently in room-temperature water and let them dry on their own or spin them dry in a herb spinner (again, gently). Store them in the refrigerator wrapped in a moist paper towel; they will keep for about two days.




This month's Courgette Flowers from Keeling's Select comes from Donnacha Donnelly from Iona farms in County Dublin.


Courgette Flowers - Chef Network Real Time Seasonality with Keeling's



SEE WHAT WAS IN SEASON LAST MONTH

APRIL 2020

JUNE 2020

COMING SOON


________________________________________________


Keeling's Select

In Partnership with Keeling's SELECT


Keeling's Select are one of Ireland’s fastest-growing foodservice suppliers. Our philosophy is simple, to add value to every customer's business by supplying the best possible locally sourced produce, dairy and ambient goods. We always try to grow and source local produce. We know this is important to our customers. While farming is in our blood, service is in our nature.
Our Passion for achievement is evident in our teamwork, dedication to our customers and our integrity…. Because people matter. We are always growing, so come on the journey with us. Demanding kitchens rightly demand the best. No one knows how to select better than Keelings.