Baby spinach is the term used to describe spinach that has been harvested during a fairly early stage of plant growth, usually between 15-35 days after planting. It is used as a vegetable in salads and included in many dishes. It is known for having a high iron content, along with other leafy green vegetables.
Use baby spinach as a leafy green or steam, boil or fry to add to dishes as 1 of you 5 a day, or use as a side dish.
Baby sweetcorn is a cereal grain taken from sweetcorn harvested early, so the stalks are still small and immature. It typically is eaten whole – cob included as opposed to mature corn, whose cob is too tough for human consumption. It is eaten both raw and cooked. Baby corn is common in stir fry dishes.
Bacon flavour rasher crisps are usually made from maize and have a bacon flavour added to them. They are made to resemble a bacon rasher. You can get them in all UK supermarkets under own brand labels or branded items.
Crumble on top of a lasagna or pasta bake to make a crispy ‘bacon’ topping.
A round bread like baked item with a hole in the middle, bagels are a popular lunch item. Widely available with different flavours in all UK supermarkets.
Cut a bagel in half and use as an easy pizza base for a quick dinner, or for children’s lunchboxes.
A baguette is a long thin loaf of bread that originates from France. It is typically eaten as a breakfast loaf but is also enjoyed as an accompaniment to most meals.
Use a baguette in our recipe for French Onion Soup with Cheesey Croutons.
Haricot beans tinned with a sweet tomato sauce, baked beans are able to be eaten cold from the tin or eaten hot.
Served over brown toast, baked beans make for an excellent protein source as well as an easy and cheap meal.
Starchy potato varieties such as Maris Piper, King Edward and Desiree. Other types of potato are available, however these are the most common in supermarkets.
Use the inside of baked potatoes to make an easy and quick mash. Alternatively, sliced baked potatoes and shallow fry for easy and quick homemade chips.
Widely available at a low cost, baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent that releases carbon dioxide into the dough or batter mixture. It is a white powder that is usually made from bicarbonate of soda and an acid salt.
Not only can baking powder be used for baking, you can use it as a natural cleaner, a breath freshener, a skin exfoliant and much much more!
Baking soda is the same as bicarbonate of soda. It is white powder in fine crystalline form and because it is alkaline, it helps soda breads rise. It is easily accessible in supermarkets.
Clean dirty fruit and veg with baking soda; To clean your fruit, put some baking soda on a damp sponge, scrub your produce and rinse.
Balsamic glaze is an Italian condiment that is a reduction of balsamic vinegar with sugar.
Balsamic glaze can be added to tomato based dishes to add depth of flavour or can drizzled over a salad as a dressing.
This is a type of vinegar that is made from vinegar with grape must. It is high in concentration and rich in flavour. It is traditional to Italy, however it is widely available in UK supermarkets.
Use to make a quick and easy salad dressing – mix with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are the edible shoots of the bamboo plant. They are used as vegetables in numerous Asian dishes and broths.
Sold in various processed shapes, they are available in fresh, dried, and tinned versions.
Raw bamboo shoots contain cyanogenic glycosides, which are natural toxins (which can also be found in cassava.) These toxins must be destroyed by thoroughly cooking the bamboo shoots and for this reason fresh bamboo shoots are often boiled before being used in other ways. The toxins are also destroyed in the canning process, which is the most popular way to purchase bamboo shoots.
See recipe for Savoy Cabbage Dumplings
A pale yellow fruit with a thick skin, bananas are grown in countries with a hot climate. They are a popular fruit that is widely available. When they are ripe they are yellow in colour, transitioning from green and get black spots on when they are over ripe.
If your bananas are turning brown, mash them up and use as an egg substitute or to make banana bread. Chopped up and frozen, then blended in a high speed blender, bananas also make a healthy ice cream or smoothie base.
Banana blossom is a bunch of tear shaped flowers found at the end of a banana cluster.
You can use banana blossom as a substitute for fish as it has a flaky texture, or just just use it as a delicious addition to a healthy salad as banana blossom flowers contain a multitude of vitamins and nutrients.
Tins of banana blossom can be found online and also in a variety of Asian supermarkets as banana blossom isn’t a plant indigenous to the UK.
This medium-sized member of the chilli pepper family is also known as the yellow wax pepper or the banana chilli. With a mild, tangy taste, it is often pickled or used raw. Usually bright yellow in colour, these veggies can turn orange or even red as they ripen.
Use as a tasty but smaller alternative to Romano peppers and stuff with lentils for a tasty meal.
These are otherwise known as Echalion shallots, and they are unusual in their shape, as they look like a cross between a shallot and an onion, however they have a milder taste. Often more expensive than onions and shallots, they are not considered a cupboard staple.
Use as a slightly sweeter alternative to a regular white onion.
Natural and organic, this African super fruit is the only fruit in the world that dries on the branch, producing a natural superfood powder. With a delicious sweet and citrusy flavour, baobab supports a wide range of health and beauty benefits.
Add baobab powder to homemade protein bars or energy balls for added nutrition.
This sweet, tangy sauce is widely available. Generally it does not have a hot flavour, however some recipes might require a different type of barbeque sauce, however that should be specified. It is brown in colour.
Barbeque sauce can be used to make pulled ‘pork’ jackfruit as well as a quick and easy salad dressing, dip or glaze for barbeque dishes.
Dried basil refers to basil leaves that have been dried, it has a stronger flavour than fresh basil, and when used as an alternative in recipes that demand fresh basil, a smaller amount is needed than the amount specified. Dried basil is also a perfect all year round alternative to seasonal fresh basil.
Use dried basil in place of fresh basil in recipes. It works particularly well in tomato sauces and Italian inspired dishes.
This is a herb that is easily accessible and can be grown in the UK. Often used to add flavour to dishes, basil is a green coloured leaf and included in Italian cooking.
Blended with olive oil, seasoning and garlic, fresh basil makes a simple and delicious salad dressing.
One of the most common types of rice, this is a widely available type. Used in Asian cooking, basmati rice is white in colour and is one of the long grain varieties.
Rinse basmati rice before cooking to remove the starch, this will make rice fluffier when cooked.
Used in cooking to infuse flavour, bay leaves are removed from a dish before serving. Used in a range of cuisines, bay leaves are a the dried leaves from bay trees.
Bay leaves are great to use as a herb when cooking, but you can also use powdered bay leaves to clean your teeth with, or made into a paste with oil as relief from an insect bite.
Traditionally used in Chinese takeaways, the most common types of bean sprouts come from yellow-capped soy beans and green-capped mug beans. The bean sprouts are white in colour and are available in most supermarkets.
Beansprouts are a great addition to stir fries and can be used raw in salads to add a crunchy bite.
Beef tomatoes (otherwise known as beefsteak tomato) is one of the largest varieties of cultivated tomatoes. Similar in taste to regular vine tomatoes, beef tomatoes are twice, sometimes three times the size of regular tomatoes.
Use beef tomatoes in our recipe for Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers.
Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. It is the third most popular drink overall after water and tea and is brewed from cereal grains—most commonly from malted barley, though wheat, maize (corn), and rice are also used.
Use beer in batters when cooking dishes such as beer battered tofu.