In season

April 28

In now: Our most popular mandarin, the baggy-skinned, sweet Imperial, was discovered in Sydney in 1890 when the city was home to lots of citrus orchards. Most of the crop now comes from Queensland, but there are still citrus growers in the Hawkesbury. They’ll have pick-your-own mandarins in winter.

At its best: The lusciously sweet flesh of custard apple is an unlikely looking treat, especially if the fruit has cold-store black spots on its lumpy green skin. Don’t judge.

Best buy: Young ginger is pink-tinged and pretty but doesn’t keep as well as mature roots, so needs to be preserved. Store chunks in Shaoshing rice wine, or make up a pickle mix of equal amounts (I usually use a quarter cup) of rice wine vinegar, sugar and water with a pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil then pour over ginger root thinly sliced with  a mandolin or vegetable peeler. Store in the fridge.

In the vegie patch: Coriander, chervil and rocket race to seed in hot weather but will grow usefully slowly now.
What else:

  • Have you had a go at pickling your own olives?  Raw green olives are available anywhere shoppers with a Mediterranean background shop.
  • Fans of tamarillo have only a small season to celebrate as the fruit is not as popular here as it is in New Zealand. Act now bro!
  • A few of my favourite things – roasted cubes of pumpkin, drizzled with balsamic just before they have finished cooking, then tossed with pomegranate arils, pepitas and small lengths of steamed green beans. So good.
  • packham pears are the ugliest of a good-looking family, but they have the best flavour.

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