In season

December 8

In now: It’s peak season for apricots, with plenty of varieties to try, including bargain-priced seconds to thrill jam-makers.

At their best: The speckles that freckle some varieties of nectarine are caused by the sun exposure and indicate sweet fruit.

Best buy: Bags of carrots are stupidly cheap. To make a quick pickle for Christmas drinks, bring a quarter cup each of rice vinegar, water and sugar to the boil, with a good pinch of salt, (chilli optional). Add carrot batons, simmer briefly, then chill.

In the vegie patch: Plan ahead. For Brussels sprouts next winter, sow seed before Christmas.

What else:

  • The lychees have started but are still pricey.
  • The seedless watermelon is from Queensland at the moment and is delicious.  I read in Jacqui Newling’s great new book, ‘Eat Your History’ that in colonial Sydney, a popular way to enjoy melon was to pour a bottle of Madiera or sherry all over it and then spoon out the cool, sweet, alcohol-sodden flesh. I think I prefer mine straight up with a squeeze of lime.
  • Sydney-grown vegetables were set back by last week’s scorcher, affecting supply and quality.
  • The best raspberries are grown in Victoria and Tasmania and can be found now.
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