In season

December 16

In now: the nectarines and peaches are fabulous. To ripen off the tree they need to be picked when the skin is starting to glow gold at the stem end, so don’t choose those that are still completely green around the stem.

At its best: The pharaohs of ancient Egypt snacked on watermelon to beat the heat. Make like an Egyptian on modern seedless varieties, or the cheaper, seedy old-fashioned versions. I’m planning on cubing watermelon, and skewering the cubes on a toothpick with a chunk of fetta and a mint leaf for a Christmas canape. Also hard to beat over summer holidays is watermelon granita.  Juice watermelon, add lime juice and sugar syrup to taste (remember that food doesn’t taste as sweet when it’s frozen),  then freeze, scraping the crystals every few hours. Especially good atop chilled peeled lychees.

Best buy: Roma tomatoes are good value. Halve them and roast on the barbecue as the heat goes out of the fire.

In the vegie patch: Harvest zucchini every second day so the fruit doesn’t get any longer than a pen.

What else:

  • red cabbage is cheap. Thinly slice or mandolin some onto a green leaf salad for added colour and crunch.
  • snow peas are at their best, and are delicious  hot, room temperature, or chilled. Drain well before dressing.
  • lychee season peaks in January, but they are good right now. See watermelon above.
  • red currants have the shortest season of any berry grown in the country. Be quick.

This is my last In Season post for this year.  I’ll be back mid-January. See you on the beach!

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