Citrus season has started. We are picking the first of the mandarins, oranges and grapefruit, and we have so many lemons and limes coming on that I don’t even resent the cockatoos getting into them. This time of year is the one time I get into making a few different preserves. The wood fire is going so I don’t feel like I’m using so much fuel. It’s the moment now to make Chilli Jam – finally enough lemons ripe, and the last of the bulk chili season. Lime Cordial and Preserved Lemons are pantry essentials for me, and Rod’s Lime Pickle is a great gift.
The other glut is pumpkins. The southern hemisphere Halloween is just past, and you can see where the tradition of cutting lanterns in pumpkins came from! Over the next couple of months we eat pumpkin most days and I use all my pumpkin recipes!
The last of the local new season apples and pears are coming down from the Tablelands to our Farmer’s market, only for a few more weeks now. The rest of the year I avoid apples – cold storage uses lots of electricity and therefore creates lots of greenhouse gases, and the result is just not worth it. I just make the most of them in season. Apple Oat Slice, Lumberjack Cupcakes, Pear, Almond and Honey Tartlets, Apple and Passionfruit Muffins, Apple Porridge, Macadamia and Pear Butter.
I live in an avocado growing region, and local avocados of several varieties are in season. Avocado and Lime Juice on Toast is a favourite this time of year.
With vegetables, you can see the tipping point in the change of season happening. I still have the summer vegetables – chillis and capsicums, tomatoes and eggplants, zucchini and cucumbers, basil and beans – but no longer in glut quantities as plants reach the end of their life. I have one more patch of corn to harvest, and potatoes ready for bandicooting now and digging up soon.
The cool season greens are just starting to come on – celery and silver beet and lettuce and raddicchio. I have lots of rocket and amaranth and parsley for green salads, and I am even starting to harvest the very first of the pak choi, slightly cabbage moth grub nibbled but no longer completely decimated as they were even a fortnight ago. So that’s the produce I shall be basing my cooking around for the next month.