A fruit that tastes like crème caramel? It may sound like something out of a fairytale, but that is actually exactly what an abiu tastes like. These smooth skinned yellow fruit have a soft, sweet and delicious flesh that you can scoop out with a spoon after cutting in half. Try them chilled for extra deliciousness. Available from John and Lyndall at Picone’s Exotics.
A little ugly looking, and unable to be eaten raw, quince may not have instant-gratification appeal, but if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort you will most definitely reap the rewards. To transform this hard-to-find fresh fruit into something sweet, fragrant and delicious, cut into slices and stew in sugar and a little water or wine. Once it’s cooked, you can eat as is, or bake it into a tart or pie. You can also make a quince paste – amazing on a cheese platter. Fresh quince available now from Costanzo Apples.
Commonly used to make jams and sauces, these pretty little ‘fruits’ are actually a type of hibiscus. The part that is used for eating is called a calyx, which is the outside petal like part of the fruit. Rosellas have a whole host of culinary uses: try making tea (use 3-4 calyx per cup and pour over boiling water) or make a rosella syrup – delicious in desserts, as cordial or added to champagne. Available from Glenyce Creighton.
Freshly picked, crisp and juicy: new season apples have arrived. Royal Gala are the first off the trees, a sweet round variety that’s perfect for kids lunch boxes, salads, cooking or sauces. Jonathon, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious will arrive in the next few weeks, followed by the Fuji, Pink Lady and Granny Smith later in the season. Keep an eye out for the more unusual varieties as well, like the Mutsu – a green apple that originates from Japan with a sweet sharp flavour. Apples available from Costanzo Apples or organic growers McMahons.
There is some excellent passionfruit available at the moment. Cut them open and their sweet scent will fill your entire kitchen. Try it with your fruit salad, on top of your pav, in your ice cream, a drink, or scooped straight out with a spoon. Growers include John Atkin at Jumping Red Ant and Everest Farm.
Perfect for adding cool crunch to a summer salad, cucumbers are also known for their ability to get rid of bad breath, and according to some, can even cure a hangover if you eat a few slices before going to bed! Cucumber pickles are a great way to preserve a cucumber glut in the garden, and are delicious on sandwiches. Fresh cucumbers available now from Summit Organics, Coopers Shoot Tomatoes, Jumping Red Ant.
This versatile vegetable is in abundance during late summer. Char-grill to bring out the flavour and add it to salads, curries or use as a pizza topping. Fresh eggplant is available from Everest Farm, Summit Organics, Jumping Red Ant and Glenyce Creighton. Baraka Foods’ authentic Baba Ganoush (eggplant dip) is another must-try.
Kyvale Produce, Summit Organics and Everest Farm all have fresh pumpkin at the moment. Keep your eye out for unusual varieties, such as the gramma (commonly used for gramma pie), which is now available at Glenyce Creighton’s organic stall. Spice Palace also make a delicious pumpkin and macadamia dip- local organic pumpkin sprinkled with chermoula and olive oil and blended with local macadamia nuts.
With their hot pink colouring, unusual shape and dragon-like ’scales’, dragonfruit are one of the most striking fruits you’re likely to come across. Their flesh is equally spectacular, ranging from white through to red, pink and even purple, depending on the variety. Also known as pitaya, the dragonfruit is a member of the cactus family, and grows on a large sprawling vine. Dragonfruit have a mild taste, something like kiwi and pear, and taste lovely chilled and with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. To eat, cut in half and scoop out with a spoon. Local dragonfruit growers include Rainbow Fruit Flats and Picone Exotics.
If you haven’t tried a fresh fig, you haven’t lived. Sweet honeyed deliciousness. Eat them as they are, top with marscapone for an easy dessert or add to a cheese platter. Available for only a short time from Picone Exotics.
There are plenty of crisp and sweet fresh capsicum to be found at the markets right now. Try Jumping Red Ant and Everest Farm.
As soon it is picked, the sugars in sweet corn begin converting into starches, hence the saying that you should put a pot of water on to boil before you go out to pick your corn. Realistically, corn will retain its sweetness a little longer than than that, but fresher is always better, and certainly corn that’s been transported large distances to reach the supermarket shelf will have lost much of its sweetness. The freshest, sweetest corn you’re going to find (apart from your own garden) is the farmers market, where produce is generally picked within 24 hours of coming to market. Will Everest, who farm at Eungella, near Murwillumbah, is currently bringing the last pick of the summer corn to market. Enjoy now or freeze for for sweet corn hin in the summer months.