Produce report: December 5
Beautiful weather in Hawke’s Bay recently has helped along the region’s cherry harvest, while in Blenheim, volumes remain low — thanks to all that rain. For now, it’s pretty much a waiting game for cherries from the mainland. Stay tuned, we’ll let you know. Choose well: cherries will not ripen after harvesting. Look for firm, glossy fruit with concentrated colour, preferably with bright green stems still attached.
Cherries will keep for about a week refrigerated in a plastic bag but will deteriorate quickly at room temperature. Ditto if you wash them when you bring them home. Excess moisture hastens decay so only wash those you are about to eat.
Cherries freeze very well, for about a year. Wash and pit them or keep them whole, with stalks attached. Spread in a single layer on a tray and, when frozen, store in sealed plastic bags.
Kaitaia sweetcorn is in store. While the prices are not super-cheap they are not prohibitive either, considering how early it is in the season. Time to get that flavoured butter ready (check out Warren Elwin’s herb and goat’s cheese version).
Round beans will be here in time for Christmas but in the meantime you should be able to find locally grown flat ones.
Imported pomegranates from the United States are still around. They taste exotic and look festive too. Viva's Angela Casley uses them combined with pomegranate molasses in this dressing. Pour into decorative bottles for a great gift. As Angela says, it’s delicious over chicken, couscous, or even icecream.
Get those beautiful peonies while you can. We’re following a tip from Farro Fresh: if your peonies are not opening or are slow to open, cut the stems and place in hot water or place them in a warm place in your home. And if they are opening too fast, slow it down by placing them in cold water with a few added ice blocks.