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Your essential guide to spring fruit and vegetables

Spring in season fruit and vegetables

Spring has sprung, so it’s time to discover the best of the season’s fresh fruit and veg, and how to enjoy them every day

As temperatures start to rise and the days get longer, now’s the time to start enjoying lighter recipes and vibrant flavours using quality Australian-grown produce. Whether it’s getting your salad on with crisp cos lettuce or fragrant fennel, or baking an awesome apple tart, you’ll find all the ingredients, advice and ideas you need to inspire you here.

Apples

01

Apples

There’s a variety of apples to choose from this season, from rosy Pink Lady and Royal Gala to Jazz, Envy, Kanzi and crisp, green Granny Smith. But don’t just stop at popping a fresh one into the lunch box for a healthier snack – apples are incredibly versatile in cooking, too.

They’re fabulous in a quick chicken, apple & avocado salad; baked into tarts and crumbles; spiced up into chutneys; or served beautifully alongside pork. Look for unblemished fruit and store your apples in the fridge, which will keep them crisp and fresh.

Top tip: When preparing apples for a recipe, toss the slices in a little lemon juice or submerge them in a bowl of cold water mixed with a generous squeeze of lemon juice (known as “acidulated water”) to prevent them from oxidising and going brown.

Apple recipes

Cos lettuce

02

Cos lettuce

Star of the classic Caesar salad, cos lettuce adds flavoursome crunch to salads, sandwiches, rolls and wraps. Use the large, darker outer leaves as you would spinach or bok choy: slice and add to stir-fries, or steam to serve with an Asian-style dish. Try halving cos lettuce hearts lengthways, brushing with olive oil and grilling, cut-side up, before drizzling with a little balsamic vinegar to serve with barbecued meat or fish. Baby cos leaves make great gluten-free “cups” for family favourites such as thStar of the classic Caesar salad, cos lettuce adds flavoursome crunch to salads, sandwiches, rolls and wraps. Use the large, darker outer leaves as you would spinach or bok choy: slice and add to stir-fries, or steam to serve with an Asian-style dish. Try halving cos lettuce hearts lengthways, brushing with olive oil and grilling, cut-side up, before drizzling with a little balsamic vinegar to serve with barbecued meat or fish. Baby cos leaves make great gluten-free “cups” for family favourites such as these Mexican-style burritos.

Top tip: Keep your cos fresh for longer by wrapping it in slightly damp paper towel before placing it in an airtight container in the crisper section of your fridge.ese Mexican-style burritos.

Cos lettuce recipes

brussel sprouts

03

Brussels sprouts

Treated right, Brussels sprouts are fabulous as sides or the main event, marrying well with flavours including citrus, chilli, garlic and sage. The trick is to maintain the vegetable’s crunch and bring out their sweetness, so steaming, roasting or simply shaving and serving raw in a salad are great options.

For a super side with a roast, try tossing steamed Brussels sprouts with chopped crispy bacon, parmesan and croutons, or finely shave them into a sensational slaw. Store them in a paper bag in a cool, dark place for up to four days, or in a crisper for up to two weeks.

Top tip: If cooking Brussels sprouts whole, use a small, sharp knife to cut a shallow cross into the flat stalk end. This helps them to cook through evenly.

Brussels sprouts recipes

Mandarin

04

Mandarins

It’s hard to beat the instant sweet fix that a juicy seedless Delite or Afourer mandarin can deliver. Easy to peel and perfect for lunch-box snacking or a healthier mid-morning munch, mandarins also play starring roles in sweet or savoury salads, sauces and sensational baked treats and desserts. Choose mandarins that feel heavy for their size, with glossy, blemish-free skin. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a week.

Top tip: Don’t throw away your mandarin peel! Gently remove any white pith, then place peel on a baking tray in an oven preheated to 120°C/100°C fan-forced for one hour or until completely dry. Use the dried peel in Chinese-style braises or ground as a flavouring for desserts, biscuits or cakes.

Mandarins recipes

Silverbeet

05

Silverbeet

This lovely leafy green can be used in much the same way as spinach, although it doesn’t reduce in bulk as much as spinach does when cooked so is ideal for savoury tarts or pies. Silverbeet has an earthy flavour that goes well with lemon, garlic and chilli; cheeses such as feta, ricotta and parmesan; and aromatic Indian spices. To prepare, wash leaves under cold running water and drain well, then cut out the central white stalk and chop. Stack the green leaves on top of each other, in batches if necessary, for easy slicing.

Top tip: When cooking silverbeet, add the chopped white stalks a couple of minutes before the leaves as the leaves will take wilt much quicker.

Silverbeet recipes

Spring onions

06

Spring onions

A fantastic all-rounder, spring onions are milder in flavour than their cousins, so they’re ideal raw in salads and sandwiches. When fried or roasted, spring onions take on a deliciously caramelised, smoky flavour. A staple of all sorts of Asian-style dishes, they’re also perfect partners for smoked fish, eggs, cheese and potatoes.

Did you know? For a budget-friendly trick the kids will love, cut off the white section about 1cm up from the roots. Place the root ends in a small, shallow bowl of water and leave on a windowsill for two to three days.

The white parts will start to sprout new green growth and can be planted in a pot or a garden to grow more spring onions.

Spring onion recipes

fennel

07

Fennel

This super-versatile veg has a strong aniseed flavour when raw, but it mellows to a subtle sweetness when cooked. It goes well with other fresh, bright flavours, such as orange, tomato and mint, as well as seafood, chicken and pork. If using it raw in a salad, prepare by either shaving it with a mandoline or slicing very finely. If roasting, cut into wedges about 3cm thick. Don’t forget to save those delicate green fronds for garnishing, or use them instead of dill to flavour grilled or baked fish.

Top tip: Choose tight, unblemished bulbs with rigid stems. Store wrapped in paper towel in an airtight container in a crisper for up to a week.

Fennel recipes

Strawberry

08

Strawberries

Look for plump, even-coloured fruit without soft patches. Check the base of each punnet for excess juice. Refrigerate strawberries in the punnet for up to two days and ensure you only wash them just before you’re ready to use them. If storing for longer, place strawberries on a plate lined with a paper towel to avoid fruit becoming “bruised”. Alternatively, freeze whole fruit for up to three months, then thaw at room temperature or add frozen strawberries to drinks.

Did you know? On average, each strawberry has 200 seeds. It’s the only fruit with its seeds on the outside.

Strawberry recipes

Blueberries

09

Blueberries

Blueberries are perfect when added to sweet and savoury dishes and make a delicious snack by themselves. Seek out berries that have a white coating, which is called bloom: it’s nature’s way of protecting blueberries from the sun. Store blueberries in a fridge in their punnet, and avoid rinsing them before freezing.

Did you know? Blueberries are high in fibre, which helps to support a healthy gut. When eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet

Blueberry recipes

Asparagus

10

Asparagus

The arrival of Australian asparagus means the start of spring. To store your spears, wrap them in a damp tea towel, pop them into a sealed container and store in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator. Alternatively, stand fresh spears upright, tips up, in a container with a centimetre of cold water. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Top tip: look for firm, bright green spears that are uniform in size with tightly closed clusters at the tip.

Asparagus recipes

Tomatoes

11

Tomatoes

Whole tomatoes of any variety are best kept at room temperature as they’re sensitive to chilling injury – which can lead to reduced shelf life – when stored below 10°C. To store cut tomatoes, place slices in a sealed container and keep them in a fridge.

Did you know? Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, which helps to support a healthy immune system*.

Tomato recipes

Corn

12

Corn

Whether it’s charred on the BBQ or chopped up in fritters, corn adds a burst of sweetness to your savoury dishes. Store corn in the crisper drawer of your fridge; keep the husk on as it helps keep the corn moist and juicy.

Ways to cut corn

Corn cobettes

Cobettes

Cut cobs into smaller segments before steaming.

Corn ribs

Corn ribs

Slice cobs lengthways into strips. Great baked or fried.

Whole cobs

Whole cobs

An entire corn on the cob is a fuss-free way to serve. Season and grill on the barbecue for fantastic flavour.

Kernels

Kernels

Remove kernels from the cob after steaming. Slice downwards with a sharp knife to remove.

Corn recipes

What else is in season?

Discover tasty meal ideas to make the most of more spring produce.


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