Ideal growing conditions have your local fruit and veg shop looking like a produce wonderland this week, with beautiful winter fruit and vegetables bringing vibrant colours and promising flavours you can’t wait to bite into.
Strawberries are a consistent performer in the cooler weather, with sweet, plump fruit arriving from Alberton, Wamuran, Caboolture and Beerwah. If you’ve never tried them roasted, try this recipe: toss some cut up strawberries in a balsamic vinegar and honey mix and leave them to roast at 175°C for around half an hour. Meanwhile, blend some feta, Greek yoghurt, olive oil, and black pepper until smooth, and then chill the mixture for an hour or so. Once everything’s ready, spread the feta mix on some sourdough and top with the strawberries – voila, flavour heaven!
In citrus, mandarins continue to be one of the top eating fruits this week and there are many varieties to choose from such as late Imperials, Afourer and Avana. Lemons, oranges and grapefruit are in good supply, too. Add a few kiwifruits to your shopping list this week as the super nutritious and refreshing fruit is plentiful. Remember, the riper the fruit, the less tart it tends to be.
Bursting with tropical goodness are well-supplied pawpaws and Pandora passionfruit from North Queensland. Blend them with yoghurt and add some freshly torn mint for a delicious, filling smoothie.
It’s National Avocado Day on 31 July and what better way to celebrate it than in true Aussie style – smashed avo on toast, right? Avocado lovers will benefit from a bumper supply of the Hass variety; grab them while you can.
We also have some mango magic this winter! You’ll find Kensington Pride mangoes have started hitting the shelves as mango season has started early in Darwin. The flavours are great but remember it’s still early days, so be prepared to pay a premium price. There are good volumes of crispy apples and pears in the Market, too. You can enjoy them as snacks, add them to salads, create sweet desserts, or just top-up breakfast oats and pancakes with sliced fruit as a sweetener. While bananas and limes are moderately supplied, raspberries and blueberries are running low.
Many vegetable supplies are outstanding this week, particularly from the local growers. Best buys include cauliflower, sweet potatoes, Gatton-grown broccoli, celery from Redland Bay and Bundaberg-grown snow peas and red and green capsicums. After a period of tight supply, zucchinis are back to good buying and the quality is wonderful. Sweet corn and mushrooms remain short, however, from southern states, winter favourites such as fennel and leeks represent great buying. For a cosy dinner, jam-packed with flavour, try roasted fennel linguine with lemon ricotta sauce.
Look out for lobok this week, which is also known as white radish or daikon. Grown in Gatton, lobok is popular in Asia, where it is used in salads, pickles, and stir-frys. Try it shredded in coleslaw or use chunks to make a clear flavourful soup. Other seasonal buys include cherry tomatoes, parsnips, beetroot and kale.
This week’s hero is the beautiful bright orange from the Central Burnett region and Victoria. Oranges are in their prime in winter and we currently have plentiful supplies of blood oranges, cara cara navels, and the South African variety, the Midknight Valencia. While cara cara is pink-fleshed, sweet and seedless, Valencia is juicy, contains few seeds and is known as ‘King of Juice Oranges’. Blood oranges on the other hand boast a tangy raspberry-citrus flavour with a deep ruby flesh and red-tinged skin. Oranges pair remarkably well with almonds, chocolate, apple, blueberry, and fennel. Choose firm, glossy fruit that feels heavy for its size; the bright orange colour is not a sure guide to quality. Oranges are best kept at room temperature, but if you’re not going to eat them in a day, store them in the fridge.