In now: There’s a sudden influx of different apple varieties in stores as the end of last year’s harvest is sold off. But there’s no need to eat old apples. The Bilpin orchards all have fresh Royal Galas, and some have some interesting non-commercial varieties too, such as Gravestein and Akane. Make a day trip. For addresses and opening times of of individual orchards check Hawkesbury Harvest. Otherwise just head up the Bells Line of Road. I wrote about our usual daytrip itinerary here.
At its best: Expect great figs from now until April. Eat fresh; drape with prosciutto; pan fry and pile atop salad, or roast and serve with crushed praline and vanilla ice cream.
Best buy: Look for corncobs with plump shiny smooth kernels bursting with juice.
In the vegie patch: Protect ripening pomegranate from fruit fly. After last year’s horror show harvest in which almost all my fruit had maggots wriggling among those glorious ruby pearls, I am this year trying out mesh exclusion bags. I’ll put together a post on the process and its success once I pick, usually in mid-February.
- will you bust the budget with just one more 2kg box of Tasmanian cherries before they finish for another year?
- look out for locally grown nashi.
- test for snake bean freshness by giving them a gentle squeeze. Firm is good, foamy is old.
- expect some bargains on last year’s packham pears as the shelves are cleared for the new harvest.