Seasonal Produce – MayPublished 01 May, 2016
Kiwifruits are native to China where they are known as ‘yang tao’ or ‘chinese gooseberies’. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Yang Tao seeds were introduced to New Zealand where they were commercially grown and eventually became known as Kiwifruit.
Technically a berry, Kiwifruits have a tangy sweet green flesh and fuzzy brown skin. When buying, look for fruit that is firm with little give and the skin is still fuzzy – an older and well travelled kiwi will be balding. Kiwis will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks if you store them away from other fruits such as apples and bananas that might release ripening ethylene gas.
Little fuzzy Kiwifruits are a powerhouse of nutrients with more fibre than three prunes and more vitamin C than oranges, as well as antioxidants.
Slice kiwis in half and scoop the flesh out of the skin for a sure-fire lunchbox hit, add the diced flesh to tropical salsas, top pavlovas and tarts or adorn fruit skewers, make jams and jelly, or use slices to tenderise meat. Kiwis also makes a great addition to a smoothie or cocktail, but just be sure to stop blending before the seeds get blitzed as they can be quite bitter.
Versatile pumpkins come in all sorts of fantastical varieties. Their hard skins range from bright orange to pastel blue, ribbed to completely smooth, while their shape and size varies from round to pear-shaped, and fist sized to a world-record 1,054 kg.
Like all orange-fleshed produce, pumpkins are very high in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in our bodies and helps to prevent degenerative diseases
Pumpkins are enjoyed the world over in many different styles of cuisine. Mediterranean cooking uses pumpkin to make ravioli and gnocchi. The French blend it into soups and bread. In the Middle East it is added to rich tagines and spicy stews. In India and throughout South East Asia pumpkin is used in curries and fragrant soups. Roasted pumpkin is the perfect accompaniment to a traditional roast dinner, but is just as delicious in a fresh summery salad sprinkled with feta cheese.
Beetroot is a root vegetable with a rich and earthy flavour and beautiful vibrant dark red flesh. Beetroot leaves are also edible and can be eaten fresh, cooked or mixed into salads and sauces much like spinach.
Beetroot is high in fibre and folate, and also contains manganese, vitamin C and potassium. The bright purple colour comes from an antioxidant called betacyanins that helps with blood pressure.
Store beetroot in a cool, dark place for up to three days or on the fridge for up to ten. To prepare beetroot cut off the beetroot stems, leaving a few centimetres of stem so the colour won’t bleed. It’s always best to wear gloves when handling raw beetroot so the juice doesn’t stain your hands.
The earthy bitter flavour of beetroot pairs beautifully with balsamic vinegar and creamy goats cheese. Roast beetroots as a side, add into salads and quiches, blend into a traditional polish borsch soup, pickle in vinegar, grate into chocolate cake batter or blitz into a dip or tangy beetroot vinaigrette. Beautiful heirloom beetroots in vibrant pink and yellow make for a stunning garnish.