Not as beautiful, just as tasty
We invited local primary school students to enter a fun competition to show that 'imperfect' produce can be just as tasty as 'beautiful' produce.
Students were asked to write a story about imperfect produce, and include a recipe to show how it could be used.
Congratulations to the winning school, Corrimal East Public School!
Thanks to everyone who entered. The judges were very impressed with the quality of entries and it was a tough job picking a winner.
Check out the entries
These fantastic stories and recipes will be on display at:
- Dapto Library: 2 to 15 December
- Warrawong Library: 16 December to 12 January
- Wollongong Library: 13 January to 3 February
You can also read the prize-winning entries below.
Year 3 student (teacher Miss Bek Randall)
The winning entry receives a GoPro Hero7 action camera and an insulated lunch box.
Casey the Capsicum's Journey
Chapter 1: The New Kid
A few years ago Casey the capsicum was born. She lived in a town called Veggie Patch. Casey's parents thought she was perfect. When she was older Casey went to school. But there was one slight problem, she had big lumps on her head. When she was at school a boy named Eggy the Eggplant said that she looked ugly. Casey burst into tears and ran out of the classroom and out of the school all the way home. She ran through the door and slammed it.
Chapter 2: School
The next day when she went to school, she was embarrassed because of the lumps on her head so she wore hats that she thought people would like.
One day in sport she was playing soccer with her classmates, Eggy the eggplant, Anana the carrot and Kelly the celery. The wind blew and whistled and took her hat off her head.
Eggy the eggplant started laughing. Casey ran over to the trees so no one could see her. When Casey was feeling a little bit better, she went to the cola to have lunch. Casey had her lunch and was sitting alone, looking miserable. When it was play time, Casey still didn't want to be near anyone. She didn't want to play with anyone because she didn't want to play with anyone because she didn't want anyone else to see her and make fun of her.
Casey was sitting on a seat near the tree and then a girl called Airlee Podmore saw her sitting down. She walked over near Casey.
"What's the problem?" Airlee said.
"Everyone hates me, because of my lumps on my head. I'm not like everyone else, I'm different" Casey said.
"No, everyone likes you, everyone is different and that makes them special." Airlee said. "I'm different too. Guess what? I have a disease called Alopecia Areata." Airlee took her wig off gently.
"Wow!" said Casey. "You are different but you are beautiful and you are a very kind friend. You're right, it's not what you look like but what is on the inside that counts."
Casey took off her hat and smiled with glee.
Chapter 3: Friendships
The next day everyone was looking like an odd fruit, or veggies. The had all taken off their disguises that hid the things that made them look different. They had been inspired by Casey and Airlee.
Casey made friends with all the fruit and vegetables and many of these friends were from the odd bunch but that didn't matter to Casey. She had a friend called Willow the carrot who looked like a bean and Roxy the rockmelon who looked like a rock.
Chapter 4: The recipe
Casey the Capsicum decided to start making delicious Capsicum dip to spread the awareness of being different and that being part of the 'Odd Bunch' is also great.
One night Casey and all her new friends were watching a documentary. It said that people all over the world are looking for all the strange fruit and veg to save them from landfill.
They said that they were going to donate all odd fruit or veg to local schools including Corrimal East Public School so it doesn't go to landfill.
So LET'S STOP FRUIT AND VEG GOING INTO LANDFILL!!!
Then Casey said "Thanks to Fruit and Vegtember, Woolworths Corrimal and Wollongong Council!!!"
Try out the roasted capsicum cheese dip recipe.
Year 4 student (teacher Ronda Field)
Each Highly Commended entry receives a bookstore voucher and a low waste lunch pack.
I sit in the fruit bowl and watch all the "perfect fruit" be bundled tightly into plastic bags to be taken to new families. Every day I endure this torture. My unusually shaped body is overshadowed by the other strawberries as they are slowly chosen.
As the open sign switches to a closed sign, I heave a great sigh. It's time to go back to the world of fruit and veggies.
Stalks become hair and seeds become freckles as I close my eyes and feel myself being taken from one world to the next.
When I open my eyes I gaze at my legs where fruity flesh is meant to be. Instead, a wheelchair...
As I trundle home solemnly, other fruits jeer at me for being "different". I enviously glance at their flawless bodies, every hair on their head perfectly placed, every seed on their skin perfectly turned into freckles.
I unlock my front door, and with great difficulty I wheel myself up into my house, plonking into an armchair. Let me explain a little more.
In the human world, if you have a misshapen body - err fruity body - you come into the fruit and veggie world with a disability. I, myself, and a wonky strawberry so well... I have no legs.
Wait a sec...my phone is ringing. This only happens when...when a customer wants to buy you!? I scramble to sit up, leaping onto the wheelchair with renewed energy.
I stop for a second. I will need to walk across Fruitville where all the jeering fruits are. How will I get to the gateway?
I must try going through without breaking down. A vivid flashback pounces into mind. My trying to get up from the group, wheelchair kicked away. Fruits chanting "Stupid Samantha Strawberry!"
I steel myself, taking my thoughts of the terrifying memory. Right now my thoughts need to be focused on getting to the gateway which helps teleport me to the human world, where a customer is thinking of buying me! Not just out of luck because I'm in a batch, they plucked me right out of the punnet!
Soon I'm nearly at the gateway, without a single piercing remark or snarling face thrown at me. Most fruits are huddled together, talking in hushed tones.
I hear the words, "Milly...famous chef...at shop..."
Finally, I piece it together. Milly King, a famous chef is in our shop!
But of course, she's not my buyer. She only chooses perfect glossy fruit, with big healthy stalks and flesh like jewels. But still, a tiny flicker of hope curls its tendrils around my heart.
When I finally get to the human world, I look up to see Millie King hovering over the fruits, picking the lucky fruit who will be part of her dish.
"I'll choose this one please!" said a loud confident voice. Strong fingers closed around me and I found myself gazing into the eyes of Millie King!
"O-oh are you sure Ms King?" says the shopkeeper nervously. "We have a wonderful selection of strawberries over here!"
My heart sinks. I know Millie will choose them. But to my surprise, I hear her saying "Oh no, but thank you. This strawberry is the perfect shape for my recipe. Here's how to make it."
She puts a piece of paper in the old bat's (aka shopkeeper) hand, and flounces off. She didn't even pay.
Like I care! Finally, FINALLY I have been chosen - and by a famous cook too!
Well, I'll see you soon. Maybe in another form of crooked veggie though....
Strawberry s'more recipe
- 10 choc chip biccies (of any kind)
- Vanilla ice cream
- 1 punnet of strawberries
- Cinnamon (just a sprinkle for each!)
Get 2 of your biscuits (remember you can always double the amount of biscuits) and a scoop of ice cream.
Place the ice cream scoop in on one of the biccies.
Working quickly so the ice cream doesn't melt, cut up a strawberry into small slivers (this works better with wonky ones because you can cut them more fancily).
Place 2-3 slices on top of the ice cream and using the other cookie we got out earlier, sandwich the ice cream and strawberry together.
For a fancy look, drizzle some chocolate sauce on top along with the cinnamon and a sprig of mint.
And now, Enjoy!
Year 4 student (teacher Miss Bek Randall)
Each Highly Commended entry receives a bookstore voucher and a low waste lunch pack.
Boris the Strawberry Bear
Boris was walking down the magical mushroom path in the forest, then he heard a trumpet "DU DUDA DAAAA"
"Calling all contestants." Said the commentator.
Boris started to job, then it turned into a sprint. He made it, he finally made it...to the toilet.
When he looked up, relieved, he noticed the sign.
"Pineapple Growing Competition"
"Wow what a fun idea!" He thought "I am great at growing things, I think I might try it out."
Luckily, he was able to enter the competition at the last second.
"You're lucky kid, last entry" said the slender orange. The judge gave him a small pineapple plant, fertiliser and soil.
Boris took the items and rushed home to get started.
"Good Luck!" yelled the judge in excitement "See you in a few weeks!"
"Ok I need water to grow this pineapple" thought Boris. He tried as hard as he could. He woke up early every day to check on his pineapple plant.
One day, as Boris was watering his Pineapple, he heard a wicked laugh growing louder "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA". It was Conner the Carrot. He's a massive bully.
"HAHAHAHAHAH you're terrible at growing fruit and vegetables!" shouted Conner. "They always turn out ugly!"
Boris was very shy so he looked down at the ground and began to cry.
"My pineapple will always be better than yours!" teased Conner.
A few weeks later, the slender orange had arrived at Borris' house to look at his pineapple. Boris looked at his pineapple, it was humongous but it was bent.
"Conner was right" he thought, "this isn't good. I probably won't win"
"You might want to go to the next house." He said, embarrassed.
"No, I think everyone should have a chance." The judge replied. "It doesn't matter what it looks like, it matters how it tastes.
The judge cut a little piece off the pineapple. Then he tries it. "Mmmm! This tastes delicious! I think you have the potential to win!"
When the judge had finished visiting the last couple of houses he took the competitors to the podium. The competitors walked down to the podium and the crowd cheered.
The commentator yelled "WE HAVE A WINNER! Borris the Bear!" All the people looked at Boris's Pineapple.
"But it looks so weird!" Said Conner.
"But it tastes so good" said the judge.
People started to cheer, "woooooooooow" yelled the crowd in excitement.
Boris had won the 1st prize, it was...a Go Pro!
He was so proud he jumped into the crowd. After that eventful day everyone respected Boris and his ugly fruit and vegetables. They all wanted a taste of Boris' pineapple.
How to make a strawberry gummy bear
Things you need:
- 470g (2 cups) strawberry puree
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh lemon juice)
- 1 tsp liquid stevia extract
- Natural red food colouring
- 60gs (6 tbs) unflavoured gelatin.
- Wash your strawberries and slice the green off and puree in the blender. Measure 2 cups of the puree and put it in the medium-size bowl.
- Stir the stevia, lemon juice and food colouring.
- It helps to have another person for this part. Spread open a nut milk bag over a large bowl while you pour the mixture into it. Tie the bag closed and squeeze to get as much liquid as you can out. You should get one and 3/4 cup (or 334g) of the mixture of the stirring.
- Pour mixture into a non stick saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it sit for five minutes exactly. Squash any big chunks of gelatin, don't worry about the small lumps, they'll dissolve.
- What is the pan over medium high and stir occasionally until it comes to a light boil. Stir constantly when you can't stir the bubbles away, keep it on the heat for 30 seconds and then remove from the heat. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the foam / bubbles have a chance to go away, and then carefully scoop the mixture into the gummy bear molds.
- Let the mold cool on the counter for roughly an hour then place them in the fridge. Refrigerate until firm. To store, place gummy bears in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Why imperfect produce is important
- About 20-40% of fruit and veggies never reach the shops because they don't look perfect - even though they're fine to eat!
- On average, every household in NSW throws away more than $1000 worth of food that ends up in landfill.
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