Produce report July 31
At this time of year it can be hard resisting the pull of imported fruit when we know we should be buying local (I confess to eating a handful of rather delightful USA cherries last week) and Mexican mangoes have been grabbing my attention — so sweet, so cheap.
However, the very good, usually seedless Gisborne navel oranges are now in supermarkets, to be enjoyed until the end of the year with the rest of our local citrus.
For more variety, there are also little-used cherimoyas, grown in northern parts of the country. The tropical fruit is also known as the custard apple and, in India, as sharifa, and will be in season for the next few months.
With a dull green, golf ball-like appearance, the cherimoya is no beauty. However, its flesh is sweet and custardy in texture, hence one of its names. High in protein, fibre and potassium, the cherimoya is a good source of vitamins B6 and C.
To eat cherimoya, chill, scoop out the flesh, avoiding the seeds, and enjoy in fruit salads, ice creams or smoothies. To choose a ripe one, squeeze it gently in the palm of your hand. It should yield a little. Store in the fridge, for a couple of days.
Tamarillos are at their best now. They are super-sized and very sweet, with just a hint of tang. Breakfast won’t be the same without them. Store at room temperature.
Ditto Jerusalem artichokes — the season finishes after August but these little tubers are looking good and are crunchy and lovely added raw to winter salads (slice very thinly and drop immediately into a lemony vinaigrette) or add to soups and vegetable pies. Try them roasted too and while you are at it, throw in a few yams, which are looking excellent right now.
Keep your eyes open in the next few weeks for kalettes. They were first introduced here a couple of years ago and are a cross between kale and brussels sprouts so they look like curly-leaved baby cabbages with a sweet nutty taste. You can eat the whole thing and they are great stir-fried.
Salad leaves, unfortunately, are in shorter supply right now, but we have got to remember that this is winter.
Carrots are one of the week’s best vegetable buys along with Asian greens. Try Aaron Brunet’s nutritious and comforting carrot and caraway soup, below. He adds lentils and the zest and juice from those navel oranges — carrots and oranges are always the very best of friends.
MORE WAYS WITH NAVEL ORANGES