In season

February 11

In now: Williams, the world’s most cultivated pear, is the first of the new season. Let it ripen at room temperature and eat it as soon as it turns golden, or get it into the fridge: it speeds from unripe to mush in a flash. I’ve experimented with all kinds of ways of making edible goodies out of mushy pears, but basically you’re looking at smoothie territory.

At its best: This late in summer most of our carrots are from Tasmania, and they are delicious, and cheap. Hard to go past a simple grated carrot salad, dressed with lime juice, mixed with sugar and allspice. Let the carrots soak in the dressing for a few hours in the fridge before serving. Top with chopped pistachio or roasted hazelnuts and fresh mint leaves if you like.

Best buy: We honour the Lombardi gardeners who hybridized the modern summer squash in the early 19th century by calling it zucchini, Italian for little squash. It’s now at its summer peak.

In the vegie patch: Scale insects target citrus and bay trees stressed by heat and dry weather. Spray with horticultural oil in the cool of the evening.

What else:

  • apple growers at Bilpin are picking Jonathon as well as Gala, and a few Bramleys. Pie makers take heed and plan a daytrip.
  • the Honey Gold mangoes are back. So good.
  • there are a few pine mushrooms around. The supply of these is always weather-dependent so not reliable. Buy them when you spy them.
  • if you’re planning to cook plum cake or tart, choose the little oval sugar plums as the skin won’t go bitter when baked.

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