Produce report December 17: Fruit and vege buys of the week
The summer solstice on Saturday is something to be celebrated, even more so for garlic lovers — it’s when those mild new bulbs are traditionally harvested. Some people couldn’t wait and small volumes of the new season crop have already made their way into stores and farmers’ markets.
You’ll find New Zealand garlic at New World all the way through to August.
These wet bulbs have crunch, more sweetness and less sharpness than older garlic. Because it is so new, the rubbery skins can be harder to peel but if the outer layers are removed, the soft thin sheets underneath can be left on. Stored in a dry, not sunny, aerated place, the skins will dry to paper in a few weeks, ensuring the garlic stays preserved for 5-8 months.
The colder the winter, the more intense the flavour of the new garlic crop and, as a rule with garlic, the smaller the clove, the stronger the taste.
Now is the time to roast whole bulbs in the oven or cook these sweet chunky cloves slowly in olive oil to make silky confit (a great gift for the cook in your life).
Garlic is a healthy companion to have — it’s a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It’s anti-fungal and also a natural antibiotic.
This garlicky chicken recipe is a great one to make and take to a Christmas or holiday potluck.
Mighty handy for desert travellers, watermelons originally came from the Kalahari in Africa. Not only do they work as exemplary thirst quenchers, but they are also refreshing additions to summery salads. Watermelon is filled with lycopene and vitamin C, and can be soothing on your tummy too.
Keep Megan May’s watermelon and strawberry slushy recipe close by this summer to whizz up delicious, healthy treats.
Raspberries have been great buying. “We’ve been seeing a huge growth in the popularity of raspberries and blackberries,” says New World fresh expert Brigit Corson. The quality has been great too, “particularly from our grower in the Hawke's Bay, who with new growing methods, has been producing beautiful fruit that is larger and sweeter. Look for Driscoll’s raspberries and blackberries in New World stores for Christmas and into summer.”
Sweetcorn is slowly dropping in price and asparagus is every-meal cheap. Other good buys in New World this week include pineapple, orange kumara and new season blueberries. As long as this fine weather keeps up, look out for fresh Central Otago cherries in New World stores for Christmas.