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Your essential guide to summer fruit and vegetables

Summer seasonal fruit and vegetables

Discover the best fresh produce and how to transform it into delicious meals and treats for a summer’s worth of flavour

Summer is all about lazy days at the beach, and easy, breezy evenings around the barbecue. It’s about kicking back and letting fresh ingredients do the work for you. From sweet, juicy pineapples and rockmelons, to crisp, cool cucumbers, you’ll find plenty of inspiration to make this summer your tastiest ever.




For many, Australian-grown mangoes are a quintessential symbol of summer. A snacking favourite, they’re beautiful in a tropical fruit salad or great diced with Spanish onion, chilli, mint and lime juice for a refreshing salsa alongside barbecued prawns or grilled salmon. Choose strongly perfumed fruit with a slight give when held (the colour doesn’t necessarily indicate ripeness). Fully-ripe mangoes only last a couple of days at room temperature, giving you the perfect excuse to eat them immediately.

Did you know? Mangoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A  and fibre.

How to cut a mango into a hedgehog

Step 1 of 3

Slice cheeks

On a chopping board, cut the mango on both sides of the pit to produce two cheeks.

Step 2 of 3

Score cheeks

Cut through the flesh of the cheeks without piercing the skin. First, cut lengthways in multiple lines then crossways to create a criss-cross pattern.

Step 3 of 3

Pop out the hedgehog

Holding the edges of the mango cheek with your thumbs, use your fingers to push into the skin to pop out the mango flesh into convenient mango cubes. Bite these directly off the cheek, or cut off the cubes and add to a fruit salad.

Mango recipes




Sweet Australian peaches are the epitome of relaxed summer living. There are so many easy ways to serve them beyond just eating them straight from the fruit bowl. Add peach wedges to a goat's cheese salad, or halve and grill them to pair with roast pork or chicken. For dessert, you can’t beat a classic peach Melba or stone-fruit salad.

Top tip: Store firm, ripe peaches at room temperature in a single layer to avoid bruising. Once the fruit has fully softened, transfer peaches to the fridge in one layer in a paper bag.

Peach recipes




Juicy Australian-grown nectarines are at their peak in summer. Nectarines are also delicious when combined with savoury ingredients, such as in a herby quinoa and haloumi salad, or in a nectarine and mint salsa to serve with poached or grilled chicken. You can even make them a star in a simple pastry tart topped with a dollop of thick cream.

Top tip: When choosing, look for nectarines with smooth, firm skin and a sweet aroma.

Ways to cut a nectarine

Nectarine wedges


Wedges of nectarine make a great addition to a summer salad. Try it with halloumi, ancient grains, currants and slivered almonds for a range of textures in this refreshing salad.

Nectarine wedges diced


Dice nectarine and mix with red onion, capsicum, mint, olive oil and lime for a tangy salsa. Use it as a dip or pop it on fish tacos or barbecued chicken.

Nectarine puree


Thicken up a smoothie by adding chopped nectarine into a blender. It teams so well with orange, carrot, coconut water and pear in this luscious breakfast smoothie.

Nectarine recipes




The wide variety of plums grown in Australia means you can enjoy the juicy morsels right through summer and autumn. They make a perfect fresh snack and are great sliced for a seasonal fruit platter, but they’re also wonderful in both sweet and savoury recipes. Try simple poached plums flavoured with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Or make a quick salad of rocket, sliced plums, goat’s cheese and walnuts for a perfect summer lunch.

Top tip: Choose fruit with smooth, unwrinkled skin with a white bloom and no brown patches. Plums continue to ripen once picked, so just-ripe fruit can be stored at room temperature, then refrigerated.

Plums recipes




It’s hard to resist sweet, juicy cherries, but the Australian season only lasts for 100 days so grab them while you can! They’re the stars of fruit salads, and also make a great topping for a pavlova or cooked in a sauce for ice-cream. But perhaps the best way to serve them is just as they are. They make a perfect treat for kids and adults alike! Look for plump, shiny unblemished fruit. Store cherries loosely packed in an airtight container or reusable bag in the fridge.

Did you know? You can freeze cherries with their stones removed, that’s a handy tip to know if you ever have too many!

Cherry recipes




With their signature tartness, Australian raspberries are unbeatable and served fresh, but they’re also marvellous in a crumble, muffins or summer pudding. However you serve them, make sure you eat them a couple of days after purchase when they’re at their best. If you leave them too long, simply cook them briefly with sugar and a little lemon zest for a sauce to serve with something sweet.

Top tip: Store raspberries (and other berries) in the fridge unwashed in a covered dish lined with a paper towel.

Raspberries recipes




Bananas are the ultimate snack. They’re easy to peel and eat, and also incredibly versatile. Ripe bananas make a great addition to a smoothie, fruit salad, or cake or muffin mix. When buying bananas, think about when you plan to eat them. If straight away, then choose bananas that are bright yellow in colour – a good indication that they are ripe and ready to eat. If they’re a little green, they’ll generally ripen over two to three days. Store bananas at room temperature, but if you decide to refrigerate them, don’t worry if the skins turn black; the flesh will still be delicious.

Top tip: Have a few overripe bananas? Peel them and chop into small chunks, then place in an airtight container and freeze. For a quick, easy summer treat, whiz the frozen banana chunks in a food processor until they form an ice-cream-like texture.

Did you know? Bananas are categorised as a berry, botanically speaking. In Australia, Cavendish is the most common variety of banana, but the small, plump Lady Finger variety is also available year-round.

Banana recipes




Sweet, juicy pineapples embody the essence of summer. You can slice them to serve in a refreshing fruit salad or salsa; to go with barbecued seafood, pork or chicken; or turn them into fritters for a light brunch or dessert. They work beautifully with other tropical and Asian-style ingredients, too, particularly coconut, mint and even a dash of chilli. Store whole pineapple at room temperature until ready to cut, then remove the peel, cut and store pieces in an airtight container in the fridge.

Top tip: When choosing and buying pineapples, look for fruit that feels heavy for its size with no bruising. Make sure their crown (the spiky top) is green and upright. The skin colour isn’t related to their ripeness as pineapples are sold ready for eating.

Did you know? To check whether a pineapple is perfectly ripe, flip it upside down and smell the base instead of around the crown. A ripe pineapple should have a sweet, fruity aroma, and shouldn’t be tangy or bitter. It should also be slightly soft when you squeeze it.


Pineapple recipes




Refreshing, crisp and the unsung hero of many recipes from around the world (think Indian raita and Greek tzatziki, European-style pickles or dainty English high-tea sandwiches), cucumbers are the ultimate no-fuss summer staple. You can cut them into batons to serve with your favourite dips, pop a ribbon of thinly sliced cucumber into a refreshing cocktail, or slice a cucumber into rounds to use instead of crackers for bite-sized canapes. Whether you’re a fan of the Lebanese, continental or baby-size Qukes® variety, choose cucumbers that are firm and heavy for their size, with no blemishes or wrinkly skin. Wrap them in some paper towel, place in an airtight container and store in the crisper drawer.

Top tip: To prevent salads, sandwiches or dips from going soggy or watery, wash and dry cucumber with some paper towel, then cut lengthways and use a teaspoon to scoop out the centre and seeds.

Did you know?While they’re most commonly prepared and eaten as vegetables, cucumbers are in fact a fruit, botanically speaking, because they grow from flowers and contain seeds.

Cucumber recipes

Green beans


Green beans

Green beans are just as happy as the hero as they are as a side dish for the main event. The versatile veggie adds sweetness, colour and crunch to the simplest meal or salad. Serve raw green beans with carrot, cucumber and celery sticks and your favourite hummus dip; steam and toss them with a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to complement grilled seafood or chicken; or slow-braise them with fresh or canned tomatoes for a delicious Mediterranean-style side dish with barbecued meats. Look for vibrant colour and smooth, rigid beans – they should snap, not bend. Store green beans in an airtight container in the crisper drawer of the fridge for up to a week.

Top tip: If you’re steaming green beans for a salad, such as a classic Niçoise, refresh them immediately in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process and to help retain their colour and crispness.

Did you know? Green beans are also known as French beans and snap beans (because they should snap when they’re at peak freshness). They’re also referred to as string beans because they used to have tough fibrous strings running the length of their pod, but these were eventually bred out.

Green bean recipes




A summertime staple, rockmelons make a great refreshing snack when you’re on the go, but their honey-like flavour makes them a favourite in fruit salads, smoothies and sorbets, too. Rockmelon also plays a starring role in a simple Italian combo: rockmelon and prosciutto. Its sweetness perfectly complements the cured ham. Choose fruit that is heavy for its size and unblemished, with no cracks or splits. Don’t worry if it doesn’t have a strong scent, most modern varieties don’t – even when ripe.

Top tip: Store whole rockmelons at room temperature until ready to cut. Once cut, peel and remove the seeds, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Did you know? Rockmelon seeds are edible, so save them for a crunchy snack. Simply rinse the seeds, then spread them in a single layer on a baking paper-lined oven tray to dry out. Place the tray in a preheated 200°C oven to cook for 10 minutes or until the seeds turn golden-brown.

Rockmelon recipes




One of the true all-rounders, crunchy carrots are a great quick snack eaten raw and dunked in your favourite dip. Grate them for a delicious coleslaw; toss them through a stir-fry; roast them with a drizzle of oil and honey; or juice them for a refreshing morning pick-me-up. Store in the crisper section of the fridge, in their original packaging.

Top tip: Add finely chopped or grated carrot to your bolognese sauce. The kids will love the added sweetness and won’t even notice all that extra veggie goodness!

Carrots recipes

iceberg lettuce


Iceberg lettuce

Crisp iceberg lettuce makes the perfect wrap for Asian-style chicken or pork mince dishes. It adds crunch to any salad, can be shredded for sandwiches or used in a classic prawn cocktail. Cut a whole lettuce into thick wedges, then serve drizzled with your favourite creamy dressing as a simple side or starter. This versatile salad green keeps well for days in the crisper section of the fridge. Just wrap it in a few sheets of paper towel and pop it in a reusable bag.

Top tip: To remove the core and separate the leaves easily, turn the lettuce core-side down and bang it sharply on the benchtop. Turn it over, pull out the core and it’s ready to go.

Iceberg lettuce recipes




There’s so much you can do with this family favourite. You can shred zucchinis raw to add to a salad; team them with eggplant, canned tomatoes and basil for a yummy ratatouille; or steam them lightly and serve drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and a grind of black pepper for an easy side dish. Look for unblemished, smooth-skinned zucchini that feel heavy for their size. Store in the crisper section of the fridge.

Top tip: Use zucchini as soon as possible after purchasing. If stored for too long, its flavour may become bitter.

Zucchini recipes




Savoury and satisfying, mushrooms are one of nature’s best convenience foods. They’re quick to cook and virtually waste-free, so you can whip up a midweek meal in minutes. They’re a versatile vegetable, whether they’re the filling for a weekend omelette; tossed into a spicy stir-fry; pan-fried with garlic to top grilled meat or fish; or baked into a quiche.

Top tip: Don’t peel or wash your mushrooms. Instead, wipe them with a slightly damp cloth or use a soft scrubbing brush to get rid of any residual dirt.

Mushroom recipes




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



Cut cobs into smaller segments before steaming.

corn ribs

Corn ribs

Slice cobs lengthways into strips. Great baked or fried.

whole corn

Whole cobs

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

Corn kernels


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

Corn recipes




Also known as baby broccoli, this tasty veg is best cooked quickly by blanching in hot water or stir-frying. You can also add broccolini to soups and curries, just ensure you throw them in toward the end of cooking so they don’t overcook. Don’t throw out the stems. Cut them up or leave them whole - they’re just as tasty as the florets.

Did you know? Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and gai lan and was officially named in 1998.

Broccolini recipes

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