In season

August 4

Not for long: Hunt up the delicious, ugly, big mandarins marketed as Sumo citrus, known in their Japanese home as dekopon. The Australian harvest is only its third season so is still small and only at selected Woolworths and Thomas Dux.

At its best: Conditions have been ideal for the smooth-leafed gold pineapples, often sold without tops, that grow so well in winter. Don’t worry about the skin colour, it’s not an indicator of ripeness. Choose fruit that is heavy, with a fresh-looking shiny skin. At a pineapple lunch last week at the perfectly chosen Ananas brasserie, grower Ben Clifton told us his cooking tips for pineapple extended beyond chopping chunks of fresh fruit only to grilling slices or chunks on the barbecue.  Chef Neil Martin went several steps further, the highlights being a spicy caramelised pineapple jam served with grilled pork chops, and a sensational pineapple four ways dessert that featured dehydrated rounds of pineapple so thin, crispy, sweet and delicious that someone should start packaging them.

Best buy: The dull grey tinge on bananas is an effect of cold weather. Flavour is unaffected.

In the vegie patch: Order certified virus-free seed potatoes to plant now for a summer crop in four or five months.

What else:

  • sweet potato is a good buy. On meat-free nights cook up a pot of spicy kidney beans and serve atop rounds of roasted sweet potato, topped with yoghurt and fresh coriander.
  • Sydney-grown English spinach is plentiful.
  • the blood oranges are fabulously bloody.
  • celebrate the parsnip.

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