Produce report May 7: Fruit and vege buys of the week
The month of May is peak season for persimmons. Looking almost too striking to pick, these vibrant orange fruits provide plenty of vitamins A and C along with potassium and a pleasing sweet crunch (mostly we buy the non-astringent fuyu variety in New Zealand that doesn’t need to be eaten soft).
Persimmons are attractive cut into a fruit salad and sliced on a cheeseboard. You may want to assemble one for Mum this Sunday if yours is not a cakeor dessert-loving household. However, persimmons are good cooked too. If it is dessert that Mum is after, then try them in a persimmon steamed pudding with coconut anglaise.
Persimmons will be with us until end of June and should be stored in the refrigerator. Especially good buying from Asian supermarkets and farmers’ markets. But it’s back to the cheeseboard now with green apples — they are a classic accompaniment, especially good with sharp cheeses.
New-season Granny Smiths fit the bill nicely. Harvested late April and early May, they are a traditional pie and baking stalwart because they hold their shape when cooked. Combine them with other varieties for a fuller, more rounded apple flavour. As with all apples, store in the fridge.
This week, as it’s all about Mum, we’re also picking up a few passionfruit. While never cheap, it’s time to make the most of their sweet tangy charm in an icing atop an afternoon tea sponge or to sandwich melting moments together.
For full-on flavour, drizzle that pulp over a passionfruit tart with coconut.
Keep an eye out for watercress. It is more readily available in stores at this time of year and brings peppery freshness to the dainty chicken or smoked salmon club sandwiches you may have in mind for Sunday. As a salad, watercress offsets rich foods and it makes a flavoursome soup (include those big stalks).
Very nutritious, watercress is high in vitamin K for bone health and has loads of vitamins C and A. However, it is very perishable, so needs to be used soon after purchase or picking. When buying, look for very green leaves without any yellowing. Refrigerate watercress in plastic bags or, if there are roots attached to your bunch, place in a jar of water on the bench.
Limes are hitting their strides. Go wild juicing them for salsas and in Asianinspired slaws. While they are so abundant, consider freezing the juice in ice cube trays, pop out the cubes and store in plastic bags. And, because much of the flavour is found in the skin, it’s a simple thing to zest them first and freeze that too, separately, in plastic bags to add to cooking and baking.