Produce report July 16: Fruit and vege buys of the week
It’s pretty cold out there – good news for skiers and celeriac, brussels sprout, kale, carrot and parsnip lovers. These veges are at their sweetest now, winter’s first frosts having converted their starches to sugar.
Gnarly celeriac (available April-November) needs a good peel but do yourself a favour and preserve nutrients by simply scrubbing small or medium-sized parsnips and carrots instead. Bigger, more woody parsnips will usually need to be peeled and will be less flavoursome than smaller roots.
Although they can be eaten raw, parsnips are usually cooked. Cut or peeled celeriac and parsnips will turn brown like apples after being exposed to air so drop them into acidulated water if you are not ready to cook with them or coat them with a vinaigrette straight away if they are to be eaten raw.
To store parsnips, trim off any green tops and refrigerate the roots. Parsnips may also be frozen but should be blanched first. Pop whole ones or cut chunks into a pot of water kept on the boil for 2 minutes, then drain and plunge into icy water for another few minutes. Drain again and pack into containers to freeze.
To serve 4, combine 400g peeled and shredded parsnips and 300g peeled and shredded waxy potatoes in a sieve and press out any liquid. Place in a bowl. Add 1 small diced onion, 1 large lightly beaten egg and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a little rice bran oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Take cupfuls of the mixture and place in piles in the frying pan. Press down gently. Cover for 1 minute. Remove the cover and cook until golden on the base. Turn the rosti over and cook the other side until golden. Place on paper towels to drain. Recipe by Jan Bilton
Broccoli, brussels sprouts and green kiwifruit are good buying. Navel oranges, mandarins and lemons are in good supply and affordable too. Red tamarillos are big and looking excellent – it is peak season for them.
Look out for cherimoyas
Grown in northern parts of the country, they will be in season for the next few months. The flesh of this chiselled, dull-green tropical fruit is sweet and custardy in texture, hence its other name, custard apple. High in protein, fibre and potassium, the cherimoya is a good source of vitamins B6 and C.