Hayward is the green kiwifruit which are the size of an egg and have a thin, fuzzy, brown skin. They have emerald green juicy flesh and have small black, edible seeds dispersed throughout the pulp. Gold is the yellow kiwifruit which are similar in size and shape to green kiwifruit, but are hairless and have yellow flesh. They are sweet to taste sweet and have a lightly tropical flavour. Kiwifruit are an excellent source of vitamin C; firm fruit will ripen naturally at room temperature.
Leeks are a wonderfully versatile vegetable; they have a long white stalk, dark green leaves and shallow roots. When preparing trim the root end and any tough green leaves. Cut vertically to the centre of the entire length of the stalk, fan open and wash thoroughly under cold water. They make a great addition to stews, casseroles, soups and stir-fries. The baby leek variety is an excellent gourmet option. Leeks are a good source of vitamin C and iron.
Pumpkins are a great cool weather vegetable and there is excellent stock of pumpkin this week and they are an excellent source of vitamin C and A.
Grey/Queensland Blue – has a blue/grey skin and orange/yellow flesh. It is a large pumpkin that is drier than other varieties and is ideal for baking and boiling.
Jap/Kent – A small attractive pumpkin with a blue-green skin and a pale brown fleck; it has yellow/orange flesh. Jap/Kent pumpkin is excellent roasted, steamed or boiled.
Butternut – A medium to small pumpkin which is characterised by a bulb shaped bottom and a narrow neck. The flesh is vivid orange and the peel is edible when cooked; butternut pumpkin roasts beautifully. When purchasing pumpkins; choose firm, bright well coloured stock.
There are two varieties of artichokes (Globe and Jerusalem) available this week.
Victorian grown Globe Artichokes have an immature flower head comprising of a bud with numerous overlapping bracts or scales, the edible part consists of the fleshy tender base of the young flowers and bracts, plus the receptacle bearing the flowers. With a nutty flavour these are great for salads or hors-d’oeuvres. Small artichokes are better for pickling, stews and casseroles and medium-sized ones are good choices for salads.
South Australian grown Jerusalem Artichokes belong to the sunflower family; tubers form among the roots and are the edible part of the plant. Jerusalem artichokes have a nutty flavour and can be used in the same way as other tubers i.e. Potato and taro; steamed, boiled or baked.
Turmeric is a flavourful rhizome (root like in appearance) similar to ginger but with a deep orange colour inside with an orange-tingled beige-brown skin. Turmeric is used extensively in Asian cooking and is pleasantly mild and does not have a sharp bite.
Fresh Tahitian Limes from Queensland are of very good quality this week and are an excellent source of Vitamin C. When purchasing limes, select fruit that are firm, evenly coloured and glossy, and heavy for their size to indicate good juice content.
Freshly harvested Victorian Chestnuts are now available to purchase at your local greengrocer. Chestnuts are large and heart shaped with a flat light brown top.
Chestnuts are high in energy and fibre, are low in fat and have excellent nutritional value. When selecting chestnuts look for shells that have a healthy brown shine; they should feel firm, with no air between the shell and the underlying flesh. Store fresh chestnuts in an airtight container in the coolest section of your fridge. Chestnuts cannot be eaten raw however they are great toasted or roasted.
Celeriac is a variety of celery which forms an enlarged solid, edible tuber just below the soil surface; it has a gnarled appearance and is brownish white in colour. Celeriac is a very good source of dietary fibre and a good source of vitamin C. Peel, dice and boil celeriac until just tender (approx 10 minutes).
Add a touch of a vinegar or lemon juice to the water to keep the flesh of the celeriac white. Serve with butter or a cream sauce, or mash like potato. Add cubed celeriac to soups and casseroles for extra flavour.
Golden Button Squash
Button Squash are flat and circular with a scalloped edge; the flesh is white and crisp and has small edible seeds. Squash are botanically a fruit and are a very good source of Vitamins C and A. When purchasing squash the skin should be glossy, tender and free from decay. You can boil, stir fry, bake or fry button squash or combine into soups, casseroles, soufflés or pancakes. Squash can be scooped out and filled with a variety of fillings and baked and also can be eaten raw in salads.
Kohl Rabi is a member of the brassica (cabbage, cauliflower) family; it has a turnip like bulb which is white, purple or light green in colour. It has a tender flesh which is creamy /white in colour. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and contains moderate amounts of potassium and niacin. Cut off the base and trim the stalks, wash thoroughly and cook with the skin left on. It can be steamed, boiled or microwaved. Kohl Rabi can also be peeled and sliced or diced and used in soups or casseroles.
Fresh Tasmanian and Victorian Shallots are now being harvested and can be substituted for garlic. Shallots are often thought to be another variety of onion, but they are actually a species of their own. They grow in clusters, where separate bulbs are attached at the base and by loose skins. The shallot has a tapered shape and a fine-textured, coppery skin, which differentiates it from onions. Shallots have a mild taste that combines the flavour of a sweet onion with a touch of garlic.
Freshly harvested Victorian Broad beans are now being harvested and the quality is excellent. Broad beans are good source of protein, fibre, vitamins A and C. They can be used fresh or dried, whole or mashed, in soups or simmered casseroles. Cooked beans can be used in appetizers, salads, dips or sandwich spreads. Look for vibrant green coloured beans with plump pods.
Papaya and Pawpaw
Nothern Queensland Papaya and Pawpaw are now being harvested and are available at your local green grocer. Papaya is the red fleshed variety and is particularly sweet; Pawpaw is the yellow torpedo shaped variety and has a tart flavour. Use lime juice on either, when cut to enhance taste.