Even a disappointingly dull day can be livened up with colourful, flavourful and healthful summer fruits. Enjoy as guilt-free snacks, in bakes, desserts, salads, preserves, smoothies and salsas with mains.
Many of our summer fruits have interesting origins. The blueberry is one of the few fruits native to North America. Indigenous tribes consumed the berries fresh and also in preserves, medicines and tea. In New Zealand blueberries are available from November to May and about 80 per cent are grown in the Waikato. Do not wash until ready to eat and store in the refrigerator.
There is much controversy over the origin of the plum. Some botanists claim it is native to China but became popular in Japan. However, it appears that the most important strain of plum — the one from which our most common varieties originated — is European. Plums are available from January to March.
Peach history runs parallel with that of the apricot and nectarine. They all originated in China and were taken to Persia and then on to Greece and Rome. New Zealand peaches are available from January to March.
Choose mature fruit when buying peaches. The flesh should be fairly firm to slightly soft. Store at room temperature until fully ripe then refrigerate and use as soon as possible.
Fragrance is important when choosing plums. Look for slightly soft fruit of good colour, with an appealing aroma. For best flavour, store plums in a cool place — but not the fridge — and enjoy as soon as they are fully ripe.
Wedges of the cake can be reheated in the microwave. Great served drizzled with pomegranate molasses. Get the recipe
I used Purple Majesty plums that have dark purple skin and a yellow, tangy flesh. Get the recipe
This makes 12 medium-sized, very-yummy muffins. Get the recipe