In season

April 5

In now: Most of the early season Australian pomegranates have pink arils; the lush ruby red and deep burgundy varieties come later in the season.

At their best: Unlike other tree nuts, chestnuts don’t have a long shelf life so make the most of the short season. Peeling them is a labour of love – cut the skin before roasting, then peel off skin and the furry inner pellicle as soon as you can handle them.  This is not as always as easy as it should be. Also try putting the nuts in a bowl and covering them with a tea towel while they cool a bit – the steam can help shift that maddeningly sticky pellicle.

Best buy: Pumpkins are cheapest bought whole, but still good value in pieces. Choose jap, butternut and jarrahdale for versatility and bright orange, thin-skinned golden nuggets for stuffing, or simply for decorating the autumn table. While they look great, they have a low flesh-to-seed ratio and the flavour is thin compared to the usual heroes.

In the vegie patch: Head to Collectors’ Plant Fair, Hawkesbury Race Club, Clarendon next weekend, 9 and 10 April, when edible specialists join more than 70 other nurseries selling interesting and unusual plants.

What else:

  • fennel is back in season, and perfect in a slaw with fresh apples
  • there is a shortage of hass avocadoes at the moment, but the shepards make up for it. These are the avocados that made avocado vinaigrette a stylish entree in the ’70s – tear-drop-shaped, thin-skinned, and with delicious green-tinged yellow flesh
  • while the sage is still so good, cook it up some mushrooms
  • jam makers who just filled the pantry with fig jam will have to start begging empty jars from friends as quince season has started and they’ll soon be required for quince jelly.

 

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