Fruits and vegetables in season this month:
In January, there are many great ingredients available that are both tasty and versatile. The Australian Summer is a great opportunity to enjoy stone fruit and melons as well as making the most of longer, warmer days for barbecues and garden parties.
Asian greens - Asparagus - Borlotti Beans - Beetroot - Broccoli - Capsicum - Carrot - Cauliflower - Celery - Corn - Cucumber - Eggplant - Flat Beans - Green Beans - Green Peas - Mushrooms - Potatoes - Pumpkin - Radish - Snow Peas - Sugar Snap Peas - Spinach - Tomatoes - Zucchini
Apples - Apricots - Avocado - Bananas - Blackberries - Blueberries - Cherries - Grapes - Grapefruit - Honeydew - Kiwifruit - Lemon - Lime - Lychees - Mangoes - Nectarine - Oranges - Passionfruit - Peaches - Pineapple - Plums - Raspberries - Rockmelon - Strawberries - Watermelon
How does eating local, seasonal produce help the planet?
If you’re wondering how eating fresh, local and seasonal produce is going to help save the planet, here are a few of the best reasons:
1 Supports local farms: Buying local food keeps local farms healthy and creates local jobs at farms and in local food processing and distribution systems.
2 Boosts local economy: Food dollars spent at local farms and food producers stay in the local economy, creating more jobs at other local businesses.
3 Less travel: Local food travels much less distance to market than typical fresh or processed grocery store foods, therefore using less fuel and generating fewer greenhouse gases.
4 Less waste: Because of the shorter distribution chains for local foods, less food is wasted in distribution, warehousing and merchandising.
5 More freshness: Local food is fresher, healthier and tastes better, because it spends less time in transit from farm to plate, and therefore, loses fewer nutrients and incurs less spoilage.
6 New and better flavours: When you commit to buying more local food, you'll discover interesting new foods, tasty new ways to prepare food and a new appreciation of the pleasure of each season's foods.
7 Good for the soil: Local food encourages diversification of local agriculture, which reduces the reliance on monoculture—single crops grown over a wide area to the detriment of soils.
8 Attracts tourists: Local foods promote agritourism—farmers' markets and opportunities to visit farms and local food producers help draw tourists to a region.
9 Preserves open space: Buying local food helps local farms survive and thrive, keeping land from being redeveloped into suburban sprawl.
10 Builds more connected communities: Local foods create more vibrant communities by connecting people with the farmers and food producers who bring them healthy local foods. As customers of farmers markets have discovered, they are great places to meet and connect with friends as well as farmers.
Now that you know the benefits, we’d like to share a few great ways that you can use this months seasonal produce…
Recipes for capsicum...
Capsicums are sold by colour: green, red, orange and yellow and each one contains slightly different amounts of nutrients, due to their different colours. Red capsicums have the sweetest flavour.
Choose capsicums that are firm with shiny, brightly-coloured skin. Avoid any with dull skin, or that are wrinkled or bruised.
Capsicums can be kept refrigerated in the crisper for up to one week.
This side dish is great with grilled lamb or beef. Combine roughly chopped red, yellow and green capsicum with 1 diced Spanish onion, 4 cloves crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon rosemary and pepper. Place mixture onto a tray and roast for 35 minutes, turning halfway through. Leave to cool slightly, then mix with 1 cup natural yogurt and a dash of lemon juice.
This simple dip is so tasty! Remove skin from 1 roasted red capsicum. Place flesh into a food processor with 100g feta and blend until smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve on toasted sourdough, topped with basil and fresh tomatoes.
Stuffed, roasted capsicums are an easy, nutritious dinner option and only take 15 minutes to cook. There are various filling options, so experiment with veggies and pantry staples. Try combining cottage cheese, 1 can tuna, cooked rice, diced button mushrooms and parsley.
Recipes for peaches...
Though there are many varieties, Australian peaches are mainly sold by flesh colour. White peaches are very sweet, with white to very pale yellow flesh. Yellow peaches are sweet, but slightly acidic and have pale to deep golden yellow flesh. All peaches have fuzzy skin and a large, inedible pit.
Choose peaches that are firm and heavy with soft, smooth skin. Avoid greenish peaches, or peaches with bruised or wrinkled skin. Ripe peaches will give slightly to pressure, but overly ripe ones will feel mushy.
Ripen peaches quickly by storing them at room temperature in a closed paper bag. Once ripe, store them in the fridge for up to five days. Peaches are juiciest when eaten at room temperature.
For a simple summer dessert, lightly brush halved, pitted peaches with honey and barbecue for 5 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar and serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
Make a summer crumble for dessert. Combine 2 cups peeled, sliced peaches with 2 cups chopped berries, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon each vanilla extract and cinnamon. Top with your usual crumble and bake.
Give bruschetta a summery twist. Mix one large bunch shredded basil leaves with 2 chopped peaches (one white and one yellow). Spread goats cheese or ricotta on 12 toasted sourdough slices and top with basil and peach mixture, thin slices of prosciutto, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Recipes for beetroots
Beetroot is not sold by variety but you can buy both regular beetroot and baby beetroot, which tends to be smaller in size and sweeter, making it ideal for salads.
Choose firm beetroots with smooth skins and no blemishes. Make sure the leaves are fresh and deep green in colour.
Beetroots can be kept in a cool dark place for up to three days. It can also be kept refrigerated for up to 10 days.
Wrap beetroot bulbs in foil. Cook in a 200 degree oven for an hour, until tender crisp. Allow to cool, then peel skin (wear gloves to avoid staining your hands) and chop into 1cm cubes. In a large bowl, combine beetroot with diced red onion, chopped walnuts, zest of 1 orange and plenty of fresh parsley. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve. This dish goes well with lamb rissoles.
Spice up a side salad with beetroot. Grate raw beetroot and combine with grated carrot, apple, chopped walnuts and feta.
Try this yummy beetroot dip. Remove stems and boil 4 large beetroots until tender. Peel and place into a food processor and blend until very finely minced. Add 1/2 cup of natural yogurt and 2 teaspoons horseradish cream. Blend again until combined. Stir through chopped fresh chives. Serve with slices of toasted bread or water crackers.
Every month this year, we're going to be sharing the different types of fresh produce that have come into season and the beautiful ways that they can be cooked, prepared and eaten.
We've teamed up with Hannah Thompson @bramblyorchard and Camilla Jorvad @sigridsminde for this blog series and will be sharing their photos and little snippets of inspiration from them throughout each post.
All photos displayed in this blog post have been styled, created and supplied by Hannah Thompson from @bramblyorchard. Hannah is based in the Tilba Tibla countryside, is passionate about seasonal living and has a wild flock of ducks and chickens free ranging among the bramble...
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