I’m all for buying what’s in season. It’s more cost effective, it’s how humans have always eaten and it gives us variety instead of eating the same old thing all year round. So let’s take a look at my top picks for what’s in season right now.
This gorgeous dark red-fleshed variety of orange is a winner with me. The colour comes from the anthocyanin group of antioxidants present. This adds to the overall impressive nutrition of the fruit. Taste wise it has a slightly tarter taste I think than regular oranges, which makes them work well in savoury as well as sweet dishes. Cut off the peel and pith with a sharp knife and then slice. Use to top your muesli, serve with natural yoghurt for a snack or dessert, or add to a salad with a robust green, feta cheese and walnuts.
Leeks belong to the allium family of vegies that includes onions and garlic. They boost an impressive array of sulphur antioxidants that have particular benefit in the gut. I reckon leeks are underused so if you’ve only ever added them to a soup, give them a shot. They have a milder, more delicate taste compared to onion and so I love to use them in place of onions for dishes. Sauté them in extra virgin olive oil over a moderate heat, watching that they don’t brown but simply turn translucent, and then add garlic, a jar of passata and a little white wine. Sometimes I also add capsicum. This sauce is then ideal to add seafood for a marinara dish or pour over chicken to then bake in the oven. I also use leeks and garlic sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with a splash of white wine, and perhaps a dash of cream cheese to cook a bag of mussels. Finish with plenty of fresh parsley and serve with a salad and crusty wholegrain bread for a delicious French inspired dinner.
When the weather warms up it’s easy to start throwing the same old salad vegies together every night and omit the vegies that are best cooked. But spring is when silverbeet is gorgeously fresh and vibrant green. I love to cook it in a non-stick pan with a little prosciutto, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, just as it has wilted add a can of borlotti beans. Heat through and then serve with a piece of simple grilled white fish. The saltiness of the prosciutto is perfect with the robust flavour of the silverbeet while the beans add a creaminess that makes this a pretty wow dish.
Asparagus contains a pretty spectacular array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C and folate. Depending on where it is grown it can also be an excellent source of the antioxidant mineral selenium. If any vegetable gets to be called a superfood, asparagus should definitely qualify! Asparagus are delicious drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and cooked on the barbie. Alternatively slice and add to stir-fries, or steam or microwave and serve with poached eggs for breakfast.
While kale has been hogging the nutritional limelight, watercress has been quietly winning accolades from nutritionists the world over. It’s excellent for carotenoids, vitamin K and calcium, while providing a whole host of other beneficial compounds. Watercress is wonderful in salads, in sandwiches and wraps, or make into a classic watercress soup.
Different varieties of pineapple are available all year round in Australia, but right now they are perfect for pairing with both savoury and sweet dishes you might do on the barbie. Pop chunks of pineapple on skewers with meat or prawns and vegies, grill sliced pineapple until it starts to caramelize and serve with Greek yoghurt for dessert, or chop it and mix with chilli, lime, mint and red onion for a zingy salsa to pair with your burgers or pulled pork.