Eat Seasonal - Winter

Your Seasonal Fruit and Veg Guide for June 2016

Winter is upon us, but that doesn’t mean we’re short of delicious seasonal veg. Whether you’re shopping at the local greengrocer, the farmers market, or getting your veg from the backyard or community garden, here’s what’s at its peak right now.

Citrus

Winter is time for citrus fruit, and at this time of year things are just ramping up with delicious new-season mandarines available.  Did you know that in North America, they give boxes of mandarines as a mid-winter Christmas gift?  They’re definitely something to celebrate at this time of year! Also keep an eye out for navel oranges – the navels are available in winter, while summer is the time for Valencia oranges.  If you’ve got a backyard lemon tree, you’ve probably got plenty to share around, so take them to work or school and offer them to your less fortunate friends!

Apples, Pears and Quinces

Apples, pears, and quinces, which are mostly harvested in Autumn, continue to be available – though quinces will be disappearing any time now.  If you’ve never tried quinces before, all you have to do is peel off their fuzzy skin, slice them, and poach them in a light sugar syrup until they turn a gorgeous pink. And don’t forget these fruits all make a great accompaniment to savoury dishes too, from apple sauce with your roast pork, to quince paste with your cheese platter.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Kale…

All these vegetables are part of the Brassica family, and one thing they have in common is that they taste sweetest when they experience a bit of cold – even frost and snow!  Try oven-roasting brussels sprouts until they are partly browned and caramelised, then drizzle balsamic vinegar over them.  Or try kale sautéd with garlic, piled on top of toast and beans.  Many Asian greens such as bok choy are also part of the brassica family and are good right through winter.

Parsnips, Turnips, Swedes, Celeriac

Some of our less common winter root vegetables, all of these are delicious roasted, mashed, or made into a soup or stew.  If you grew up eating bland root veg, don’t let yourself be limited – try Japanese-style miso-glazed turnips, add parsnips to a veggie curry, or try a classic French celeriac remoulade with a mustardy-mayonnaise dressing.

Coriander

Although you might think of coriander as something you use in quick summery stir-fries or easy light meals like tacos or salad bowl, it actually hates the heat and will quickly run to seed during our summers.  So winter is a great time to buy huge bunches of coriander, and use it in an Asian noodle soup, sprinkle it over Mexican-style beans and rice or an Indian curry, or make a fusion-style pesto for a warm bowl of noodles.

The year rounders

Some things just never go out of fashion.  Some of the fruit and veg that’s available year round, and still going strong through winter include: beetroot, carrots, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, and potatoes.

Out of season

Summer fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines and berries are long gone – wait for late spring for the first strawberries to reappear.  Tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and cucumber are all best in summer and autumn and are well and truly done when the first frost comes, unless they’re growing indoors.  Although garlic keeps year-round, it’s picked in summer and the fresh stuff is starting to run out at the markets. And if you have backyard chooks, you may find that they stop laying or at least slow down in the cooler weather.

The full list of what’s in season in Ballarat in June

Vegetables:

  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Daikon
  • Fennel
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Silverbeet
  • Snow peas
  • Spinach
  • Spring onion
  • Turnips

Fruit:

  • Apple
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarin (Imperial)
  • Oranges (Navel)
  • Pears
  • Rhubarb

Ballarat seasonal produce - Winter - June

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2 Responses

  1. Caz says:

    Great list. I would also love to know when apple varieties are at their best.

    • Thanks, Caz! Apples are harvested roughly Feb-Apr and are at their best when freshly picked, though of course they’ll last in cold storage through the year which is why you can buy them anytime. Next autumn I will put together a guide to apple varieties for sure – I reckon the Harcourt growers who do the markets would be happy to help out with information on all the commercial varieties they have, while Steve who manages the Smart Living Market is a bit of a local expert on backyard and heirloom varieties you might not find in shops.

      My best tip for you right now would be to ask the growers at the markets – I know there are apple vendors at Bridge Mall tomorrow morning and at the lakeside market on the 11th 🙂

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