New and in season: April

pumpkinsPumpkin is a classic autumn vegetable. In America, where it originated, it’s a traditional part of the autumn harvest, eaten in soups, puree and the staple of Thanksgiving, the pumpkin pie. 

While not as wildly popular as it is in the US, pumpkin is still an Aussie favourite, most often making its way into a Sunday roast, pumpkin soup or those classic Queensland scones made famous by Lady Flo.

Local farmers have begun their Autumn pumpkin harvest, and there is a good variety currently available at the markets including the popular Jap, the Butternut and the Potkin – a smaller variety that tastes more like a blend of sweet potato and pumpkin (look for it at the Everest Farm stall).

If you are someone who finds cutting up pumpkin fiddly, simply cut your pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds (save them for later) season and cover with foil and roast for about an hour and a half until the flesh is soft. Once it’s cool, you can simply scoop the flesh out and use for pumpkin scones, blend with stock, coconut milk and ginger for an easy pumpkin soup or fold in some ricotta and fresh herbs and enjoy on sourdough toast for breakfast. 

For a lunch or side salad, roast pieces of pumpkin in olive oil and salt and pepper, then toss with baby spinach leaves, toasted pine nuts or local pecans and sprinkle with Nimbin Valley feta. Dress with local honey from The Honey Wagon and balsamic vinegar.

Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and a great snack, so don’t throw them away. To prepare, give them a quick rinse, and rub off as much stringy pumpkin buts as possible (don’t worry too much about getting them 100 per cent clean). Dry on a tea towel, then toss in a little olive oil and salt and roast  at 150 for about 20 minutes. Eat them as a snack, sprinkle on salad or on your pumpkin soup.

Avocado

The local avocado season is just kicking off, with new season avocados now available from Jumping Red Ant. Kate from The Organic Avocado will also be back at the market in the next few weeks

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Apples

They may lack the flashy appeal of fruits like goji or acai berries, but apples are a fruit that truly deserve superfood status. Not only are they incredibly good for you (high in fibre, vitamin and antioxidants), they’re one of the most convenient on the go snacks around (no peeling or preparation required) are incredibly versatile in the kitchen (cakes, desserts, salads, relish, breakfast), and they’re affordable. The new apple season has recently begun, with some lovely crisp Royal Galas and Red Delicious now available from Costanzo Apples and beautiful organic apple varieties at McMahon’s Organic Apples.

 

LimesLimes

It’s amazing how much of a difference fresh lime juice can make to a meal. A dash of lime juice on your Thai Green Curry or added to your guacamole, – it just takes food to the next level. Lime is great in drinks too – even tap water becomes something special with a dash of lime! With the local lemon season still a little way off, they also make a perfect lemon substitute in any recipe. And make sure you don’t waste the zest – grate it off before you cut the lime and then freeze it. Excellent in pasta, breadcrumbs or baked goods for some extra zing. In season and available now from Rancho Limes or Jumping Red Ant.

Jun

You’ve heard of kombucha and kefir, but what about jun? This fermented probiotic drink is based on tea (like kombucha), but instead of black tea and sugar, it uses green tea and raw honey. It has the same fizz, but a more delicate flavour, and some refer to it as ‘the champagne of kombuchas’. Numulgi citrus grower Jane Boniface, known for her fresh lime, mandarin and elderflower cordials, has developed her own version of jun, which she flavours with her home-grown elderflowers. Available at her stall, Rancho.

Dragonfruit

 

The popular pink -skinned dragonfruit variety is now in season locally.  The pink-skinned variety comes with two flesh colours – white flesh with black seeds or the striking magenta coloured flesh with black seeds. Both have a mild, delicate and refreshing taste that’s a little like a blend of kiwi, pear and watermelon. Dragonfruit look fantastic diced in a fruit salad, or simply chill, cut in half, add a squeeze of lime, scoop out the flesh and enjoy. Find dragonfruit at Picone Exotics and Rainbow Fruit Flats.

 

Capsicum

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Delicious eaten fresh or stuffed and roasted. Capsicums available from Coopers Shoot Tomatoes, Jumping Red Ant and Everest Farm.

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