Fresh and happening right now
WANT to know what's in season and tasting great at the farmers' markets? Here's a guide to some of the fresh produce local farmers are picking now:
Black sapote: Commonly known by its much more delicious sounding name, chocolate pudding fruit, black sapote really does have a look, taste and texture a lot like chocolate pudding.
Related to the persimmon, black sapotes are best eaten when fully ripe, so if you have bought one that is still quite firm, set it aside and wait until it's very soft and squishy and darkens in colour. A good way to check is to poke with your finger - if it dents it is ready.
For a divine chocolate mousse-like dessert, blend with one quarter of a cup of coconut milk, a teaspoon of cacao powder and a teaspoon of vanilla. Chill then enjoy.
You can also add it to smoothies, mix in with a scoop of ice cream or chill and enjoy as is.
Black sapotes are in season now. John Picone at Picone Exotics (New Brighton and Mullumbimby Farmers' Markets) says he has a bumper crop this year and the flavour is amazing. Also available at Jungle Juice at Mullumbimby Farmers.
Basil: Fresh, fragrant basil is back in season, with some beautiful big bunches available at the Gourmet Salad Hut (Mullum and New Brighton) in recent weeks.
Great for pesto (try it made with local macadamias - it's delicious), sprinkled in salads, on pasta, pizza or bruschetta. It's best to use basil quickly but you can store well for a few days - make sure it's dry, cut off the roots and keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
Celeriac: This root vegetable isn't pretty but it's versatile and delicious, with a beautiful celery/parsley/ potato-like flavour.
Like other root vegies, it's great in soups and stews but can be used raw in salad. It makes a beautifully silky puree and can also be roasted whole.
Find it at the Jumping Red Ant stall at New Brighton and Mullumbimby Farmers' Markets.
Also in season now: Apples, avocado, bananas, beetroot, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, garlic, ginger, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, macadamia, mushroom, papaya, pecan, pumpkin, peas, potato, silverbeet, strawberries, sweet potato, tomato, turmeric, zucchini.