I went out to pick some greens for lunch this morning, thinking there’s not so much in the garden this time of year. Before I knew it though, my basket was full and I was using my shirt to carry the extras. Winter is a surprisingly good growing season in most of Australia. Most gardens are snow-free, and I’m lucky enough to have a frost-free site.
So although they are strictly speaking out of season now, I am still picking the very last of the Richmond River cucumbers, and I have a zucchini hanging on, and my cherry and Roma tomatoes are doing really well away from the fruit fly of summer. There are also carrots and parsnips and spring onions and beets as basics.
But it is the leafy greens that own this time of year. Gorgeous deep red radicchio, bok choi and choi sum and wom bok and all kinds of Chinese Cabbages for sauteing, silver beet and chard and the first of the season’s English spinach, lettuces and rocket and aragula and amaranth for salads, celery and parsley and coriander and dill to make soups really interesting.
With fruit, it is still citrus and more citrus. Mid and late season mandarins have taken over where the early varieties left off. We have tangelos and navel oranges and grapefruit and more cumquats than I know what to do with. And even using them for cleaning, I am hardly making a dent in the lemons. The local farmer’s market also has lots of avocados.
Macadamia nuts are also in season now, and macas with their monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), protein, wide range of minerals, B vitamins, and phytochemical antioxidants are really good for you.
The other seasonal ingredient I’m looking forward to using this month is sea mullet. They are now fully in season and cheap as chips to buy. Mullet is under-appreciated – one of my favourite fish if its fresh – and a really high source of Omega 3.
So that’s the ingredients I’ll be basing my cooking around this month!