It is gearing up to be a fine Australian summer with all summer fruits at their best for both quality and taste. It wouldn’t be an Aussie summer without juicy plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots and mangoes, all currently in great supply and eating at their very best. A good tip for selecting peaches is to check they are firm but have some ‘give’ when you very gently squeeze them. When choosing apricots, pick ones that are firm but not too hard. Avoid fruit that is overly soft and go for flavour and aroma over appearance, if they smell good, they’ll taste even better. Rival apricots are great for eating fresh this week, just halve them with some cream cheese are delicious or preserved for later, stewed peaches are always a hit with kids and adults alike.
The tropical theme continues with Aussie grown seedless grapes, cavendish bananas, topless pineapples, and orange candy melons plentiful and great eating, making a fabulous combination for a fresh summer fruit salad! Don’t forget papaya and pawpaw available from far north Queensland. Make sure you chuck some seedless grapes in the freezer for cooling off on those hot summer days.
Don’t forget to get into your local fruit & veg shops to enjoy the cherry season while you can as it is short – only 100 days, and boy they are good this year! This year’s harvest is about two weeks behind and currently, most cherries are coming from the southern states as the harvest moves south. South Australian and Victorian Cherries are tasting incredible and they are saying the Tasmanian harvest after Christmas will see some of the best cherries ever.
Hass avocados are in great harvest from mainly from Western Australia and New Zealand are plentiful and continue to be exceptional quality and will only get better in the next few weeks. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, coming mainly from the southern states, are all well-supplied and reasonably priced which are perfect for our Christmas pav recipe. Lemons are becoming slightly dearer, as a drop in local supply has been replaced by imports mainly coming from Egypt and California, but locally grown limes are plentiful and considerably cheaper than lemons. A great tip for juicing limes is to roll them on a benchtop with the palm of your hand, softening the fruit before cutting open and squeezing.
There’s a good supply and variety of lychees hitting the market this week from North Queensland. Although all varieties of lychees are flavoursome, you can expect to pay more for fruit with smaller seeds. Lychee flesh is sweet and tangy, and they are the perfect addition to salads or desserts. Peel off the skin before eating and suck the flesh from the seed, or are great in fruit salads or the summer cocktail. The lychee is ripe when the inedible outer skin turns from green to red, or pink/red in colour.
This week’s hero is the juiciest of stone fruit – plums – which are widely available in different varieties and sizes. Select smooth-skinned, shiny fruit with a flavoursome aroma that yields to gentle pressure. The redder the flesh of the plum, the more radical-fighting antioxidants present in it. Plums are delightful poached or made into marinades, desserts, or chutneys.; but the best way to eat a plum is to just bite into it and enjoy its sweet, tart and juicy flavours.
Report supplied by Brismark