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In Season in April in Northern NSW

Time has flown! And I haven’t done an “In Season” post for months. This was first posted in April 2010, and it reminds me how the seasons turn, a familiar cycle that you can look forward to every year, every year a little bit different, every year a lot the same.

Finally there are enough lemons ripe to make chilli jam!  And still plenty of chillies and more coming on.  There’s still lots of limes – I’ve made one batch of hot lime pickle, and I’m hoping to get time to make another batch this weekend, so I have some to give away as well as enough to last us the year.

The rest of the citrus fruits are just beginning to colour.  We’re picking the very first of the early season mandarins and grapefruit and  tangelos.

I had given up on carambolas – a neighbour’s tree was loaded but ours showed no signs of fruiting and I thought it had been too hard a year last year.  But it has surprised me with a late and laden crop. The guavas are ripening and we spend our evenings listening to the flying foxes chattering and screeching in the tree. It has distracted them for the moment from the bananas.

I am picking pecans and macadamias, and almonds and walnuts are also in season.  Fresh nuts are a different thing and I love  pulling out all my nut-based recipes this time of year.

In the garden, there are still plenty of capsicums and eggplants,  and still too many cucumbers, zucchini and squash. We are picking the first of the season’s pumpkins, and they will take over as the glut vegetable in the next couple of months in the lead-up to Halloween (in the southern hemisphere in early May).

This year has been a low year for tomatoes.  Normally I would be making tomato sauce around now, but I planted too many last year, with the result that this year I have too few places to put them where they have not been recently.  So, predictably, I have more than usual diseases and lower than usual yields.  That will teach me.  Still though, we are picking enough for eating if not for bottling.

There is still lots of turmeric and ginger for curries and Middle eastern recipes, and enough lettuce, rocket and amaranth for salads and basil for pesto.

And I am picking and drying bulk beans now for the year’s supply.  The change to up-gardening required me to experiment with substitutes for the standard varieties of beans for drying, which all seem to be dwarf beans rather than climbers.  I have four varieties this year – perennial Madagascar beans that yield large maroon mottled beans perfect for minestrone, blue lake that are great fresh as green beans but also good for drying as small white seeds like cannellini beans, purple king that yield a good substitute for kidney beans, a lighter colour but a similar flavour and texture, and brown seeded snake beans that make a good substitute for azuki beans.  All are so prolific that I can easily grow enough to last the year (with a partner who’s a bean fiend)  in a very small area.

The local Farmers’ Market has new season avocados, apples and pears from the Tablelands (within 100 mile zone). So that’s the produce I’ll be basing my cooking around for the next month.


{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Liz April 15, 2012, 6:21 pm

    I was looking for climbing bean varieties for dried beans for next year and I have loads of purple king seeds so I’ll definitely give that one a go. Really useful tip.

  • Bromiliad August 1, 2012, 11:02 am

    Do you have a list of what’s in season now for Northern NSW? I’m experimenting with a seasonal Palaeolithic diet.

  • Linda August 1, 2012, 11:23 am

    Thanks for the reminder – I have really let it get out of date haven’t !! You’ve given me the incentive to post a new In Season post.

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