What’s a rainy day indoors without a big cooking session? Whether you are planning on a movie marathon or teaching your kids to draw, the wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables available at your local fruit and veg shop this week will help you create comfort foods for your loved ones.
Apples and pears are in full swing this week. Choose from new-season Red Delicious apples, Williams, Beurré Bosc and Corella pears. Enjoy them as a snack, add slices to salads, and, if you have a sweet tooth, try a warm apple and pear crumble. Citrus fruit in excellent supply includes Valencia oranges, grapefruit from Northern Territory, and lemons and limes from Mareeba.
The season for nectarines and peaches is almost over, however, late-season plums from Victoria are bursting with colour and flavour, so make sure you add them to your shopping basket. Autumn raspberries, ripe figs and glorious persimmons are in season and eating beautifully. Add to cheese platters or pair them with chocolate to make delectable desserts. The exotic guavas from Buccan, along with pomegranate and nashi, are beginning to make an appearance at your local fruit and veg shop.
Must try this week are creamy custard apples coming from Bundaberg, which are only in season until May. Use in fruit salads or make into ice cream, sorbets, drinks or fillings for cakes. Pro tip: spoon out the flesh of custard apple into a blender, whiz for only two seconds, and the seeds will scoop out easily. We are noticing improved supplies of local strawberries while blueberries are limited. Grapes maintain their peak-season quality, while pineapples and rockmelons represent great value.
In vegetables, cherry and truss tomatoes are plentiful along with green beans from Stanthorpe and Asian vegetables. Look out for new-season, Australian-grown garlic with white skin – a superstar ingredient that gives a nutritional punch and adds gorgeous flavour to many recipes. If you are hunting for a bargain, then go for crunchy celery and pumpkin as they are fantastic value at the moment, along with potatoes and onions. Red radish, carrots and beetroot are all well-supplied, while lettuce, broccoli and mushroom are in moderate supply.
Are you addicted to fries? Satisfy your craving with healthy baked sweet potato fries as the Bundaberg-grown gold variety of sweet potatoes are in abundance right now. Other seasonal buys include capsicum, zucchini and eggplants. The quality and supplies of cucumber and cauliflower are improving. For a simple yet fulfilling dinner, make dukkah roasted cauliflower, serve along with hummus and salad leaves.
This week’s hero is Shepard avocados from North Queensland, which are green-skinned and don’t brown easily. Shepard avocados have a nutty flavour and buttery texture which works well in creating smoothies, desserts and dips. Look for bright green avocados that give a little when gently pressed. Store unripe avocados at room temperature; once ripe, store them in the fridge.
– Produce report supplied by Brismark