December Produce Report
Get fresh with the December Produce Report, a summary of the seasonal delights that the end of spring is serving up, thank to our friends at market fresh
Always a festive season favourite, excellent quality cherries are available this month. There is an excellent choice of varieties to choose from including – Brooks, Burlatt, Chelan, Empress, Merchant, Royal Down, Sequoia, Supreme and Tieton.
New season Australian Grapes are now available to purchase from your local fruiterer.
Grapes are an excellent source of vitamin C also contains some Vitamin B6 and potassium.
There are four varieties of new season Northern Territory mangoes available this month: R2e2, Calypso, Kensington Pride and Nam Dok Mai. Mangoes are ovate to elongate in shape and typically weigh 250g to 900g, depending on the variety. The colour of the flesh varies from yellow to golden and is soft, juicy and sweet. Some varieties have fibrous flesh, while others are succulent, buttery and smooth.
Select fruit free from blemishes and black marks, as these indicate the fruit is overripe. The best test of a mango is its aroma, which should be highly perfumed when ripe. Unripened mangoes will ripen at room temperature. Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, a good source of dietary fibre and a useful source of vitamins B1, B6 and potassium.
New season Victorian and NSW summer berries are of excellent quality, they are plump, juicy and sweet to taste. There is a good variety to choose from including – Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Loganberries and Blueberries.
Watermelon Seedless and Long Seeded - when buying watermelon, look for melons with an attractive waxy bloom and a pale yellow underside. When tapped lightly, the melon should sound hollow, which is an indication of maturity.
Honey dew melon - when selecting honeydew, look for a deep golden skin or honeydew with an almost white skin.
Rockmelon - the rockmelon has a porous skin allowing the aroma to come through and the exotic smell is the best indication of ripeness for rockmelon.
New season summer stone fruit is now available and a varied choice for consumers includes:
Apricots - delicious when eaten fresh or they can be used in desserts, poached, stewed, or pureed in jams and chutneys.
Peaches - available white or yellow fleshed and are a good source of vitamins A, C and B3.
Plums - are ideal addition to lunch boxes, they can also be used in hot and cold desserts, stewed, grilled, baked or sautéed, or in fruit salads and pies.
Nectarines - new season white and yellow varieties are now at your local greengrocer.
Great time to stock up on freshly harvested Victorian garlic – store in a cool dark environment for usage for months to come.
There is a large array of varieties of lettuce all in excellent quality this month. Cos, Iceberg, Butterhead, Coral, Frillace, Mignonette, Green or Red Oakleaf, Raddichio and Treviso are all popular varieties of lettuce to be utilised in all types of salads. They are all an excellent source of vitamin A, the darker the leaves, the more vitamin A and iron it contains. Lettuce is low in kilojoules, yet high in fibre.
Australian grown lycees fresh from Mareeba, Queensland are available in three different varieties at present, including Kwai May Pink, Fay Zee Sui and Tai So.
The unique flavour of the lycee can be enjoyed fresh or can be added to various dishes such as, Chinese meals, particularly Sweet and Sour combinations; serve with chicken or fish; add to either sweet of savoury salads; combine with other fruits and cheeses on a platter or simply serve with ice cream. Lychees can be eaten frozen, either peeled or still in their outer skins.
Australian Red, Green, Yellow and Orange Hungarian and Bullhorn fruit are in plentiful supply this month. 100g of capsicum provides over seven times the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C and they can be eaten raw in salads; sliced for stir fry; diced or cubed for casseroles and ratatouille or halved and filled with meat or rice.
Queensland, South Australian grown and local Victorian fruit are in abundance at this time of the year and are a great addition to summer cooked meals. Zucchini are an excellent source of vitamin C and are low in sodium.Varieties include –
Blackjack – cylindrical dark green fruit;
Regal Black – similar to Blackjack with a slight constriction around the middle of the fruit;
Corsair – green in colour and similar to Blackjack and
Gold Rush – attractive cylindrical bright yellow fruit.
When buying Zucchini, select fruit with glossy, blemish free skin. Avoid zucchini that show any soft spots or signs of withering.
Excellent quality asparagus is available this month. When selecting asparagus choose tender, straight, fresh spears with closed, compact tips; spears should snap easily at the stem end. There are three varieties available – Green, White and Purple. Asparagus is a low calorie source of folate and potassium; its stalks are high in antioxidants and green asparagus in particular is a very good source of vitamin C.
Very good quality tomatoes available this month, varieties include - Field Gourmet, Flats, Hydroponic Truss, Red and Yellow Grape, Mini Roma, Red Cherry and Gourmet Roma. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, a useful source of vitamin E and contain some vitamin A and dietary fibre.
Good quality eggplant is being harvested this month, there are four varieties of eggplant available to purchase at your local fresh Fruit and Vegetable shop. Varieties include – Cherry, Continental, Purple and Thai Apple. They are all a good source of dietary fibre and contain vitamin C and potassium.