In season

January 19

In now: Blood plums are followed by a rainbow of plum varieties. Eat fresh, bake, grill, jam, or bake in pies, tarts, cakes and crumbles. I made a blood plum and tomato salad out of Matt Preston’s new book last week, on a bed of rocket, with mint and a red wine dressing spiked with white pepper.

At their best: Seedless black grapes are big, sweet and firm-bordering-on-crunchy. Choose bunches with fresh-looking stems and store in a ziplock bag or closed plastic container in the fridge.

Best buy: Australians buy more carrots than any other vegetable, even potatoes. Good news then that the Tasmanian carrot harvest is underway.

In the vegie patch: Keep pinching off basil flowers to promote more growth. They are edible, with a stronger flavour than the leaves, so use judiciously.

What else:

  • I don’t usually shop at Woolies, but research calls, and yesterday I noticed that it is marketing grey zucchini as white zucchini. Wonder if that will increase the price?
  • drought in the north has affected supplies of lychees, hence that stubborn price. They are a delicious treat eaten straight from the fridge on a hot night.
  • look out for golden queen peaches. These are  firm peaches so don’t wait for them to soften. They are the traditional canning peach, but don’t let that put you off – the flavour is great.
  • good times for seedless watermelon salads, both sweet and savoury.

2 thoughts on “January 19

  1. David Rothery says:

    You write “Australians buy more carrots than any other vegetable, even potatoes”.

    That surprised me so I looked up some figures.

    According to ABS in 2013/14 (their latest data) Australia produced 1,171,259 tonnes of potatoes and just 242,664 tonnes of carrots. Hard to see how that fits with your statement even allowing for differences in retail/wholesale/export splits and differing prices.

    I did fine an article headed “Carrots Australia’s most popular vegetable purchase” at’s-most-popular-vegetable-purchase.html but the heading is based on interviews of just 800 consumers, 94% who had replied that they’d bought carrots in the previous month compared to just 83% for potatoes; interesting but definitely not hard data. The article goes on to say though “figures show that potatoes are still the major vegetable crop in Australian” [sic – they can’t spell let alone write headlines that aren’t misleading]. It goes on to say that the total potato crop had a value of $625m and retail value was around $300m compared to carrots with a crop value of $215m.

    The survey was commissioned by Ausveg so I looked at some of their data which had very obvious errors (carrot farmgate value jumps from $149.7m in 2011/12 to $713.7m the following year?) so it shouldn’t be relied upon.

    I think your statement is wrong whether measured by tonnage or value or do you have some other source to support it?

    • Robin Powell says:

      Thanks for your comment David. The figures I used are from Ausveg, which is the peak body for Australian potato and vegetable growers.

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