FRESH FACT: When most Australians think of stonefruit we think of peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries. There is however more to the story, these stonefruit (or drupes) belong to the Rose family (Rosaceae) and boast family ties with almonds, loquats,pomes (apples/pears), raspberries (multiple drupes that make up a single fruit) and even strawberries. While not related to the Rose family, Coconuts, Coffee, Olives and Mangoes are also botanically classified as ‘Drupes’. The fleshy fruit of a drupe has a dual purpose, it protects the seed as it develops and encourages birds/animals to spread the seed by eating the fruit and moving to a new location.
I can’t help but get excited when I see the full range of stonefruit at the markets, the bright colours and signature aromas herald the coming of Christmas, Summer and all the sweet, luscious treats that go with it. While the entire range is currently represented at the markets, fruit is still on the smaller side and eating quality varies between a 6.5/10 to 8.5/10. The peak stonefruit season in terms of both quality and price is still 2-3 weeks away, a consistent supply of good quality fruit- with the full flavour, bright skin and sweet fragrance we expect- is expected by the end of November.
Seasonality: Nov – Jan
Buyer Update: early fruit is available but despite appearances (great colour) is not at its best. Hold off until the end of the month for quality, flavorful fruit
Flavour: sweet, firm flesh
Selection: look for plump, well-coloured fruit with a pleasant apricot aroma
Nutrition: good source of Vitamin C and Dietary Fibre. The more orange the fruit, the more nutritious it will be due to higher levels of beta-carotene
For more information on cherry varieties, please refer to our previous bulletin– Cherries on Top
Seasonality: Nov- Feb
Buyer Update: fruit is sweet, good in both size and colour but still quite expensive
Flavour: it is the balance of acid (tart) and sweet that makes cherries so delicious. While different varieties boast different balances, sweet cherries are just that- moist, sweet and juicy.
Selection: look for a cherry that is good and plump, with glossy skin and a nice green stem. Avoid soft, dull or bruised fruit or small hard cherries as they will lack flavour and juice.
Nutrition: good source of fibre and Vitamin C. Boast a very high antioxidant concentration, as well as melatonin (which aids sleep and brain function)
For more information on nectarines, please refer to our previous bulletin– The Pits
Seasonality: Nov- Mar
Buyer Update: season is underway, fruit looks an 8/10 but is eating closer to a 6 or 7 – yet to reach their more-ish best
Flavour: sweet, aromatic and juicy with a smooth, thin skin
Selection: select relatively firm, unblemished, fragrant nectarines with bright, glossy skin
Nutrition: nectarinesoffer double the amount of Vitamin A found in peaches and are a rich source of Vitamin C and potassium
For more information on peaches, please refer to our previous bulletin– The Pits
Seasonality: Sept- Mar(Peak: Dec- Mar)
Buyer Update: on our best buys this week, peaches are well into their season, don’t yet have their distinctive fragrance but otherwise are eating and pricing well
Flavour: sweet, aromatic and juicy with a characteristically fuzzy skin
Selection: select relatively firm, unblemished, fragrant peaches that look fresh and yield to gentle pressure
Nutrition: very good source of Vitamins A and C and a good source of Dietary Fibre, Niacin and potassium
Seasonality: Oct – May (Peak: Feb-Mar)
Buyer Update: still early in the season, fruit is small but in good supply and eats well. Please note: blood plums are not yet available- expected January
Flavour: juicy with a thin skin- range from sweet to tart depending on variety. Blood plums and red flesh varieties are sweeter due to their high sugar content
Selection: choose wisely because plums don’t ripen well. Look for plump fruit with consistent colour, that yields under gentle pressure
Nutrition: good source of potassium and dietary fibre. Some Vitamin A and C, calcium, phosphorous, riboflavin and niacin.
Seasonality: Nov – Mar (Peak: Dec- Jan)
Buyer Update: fantastic eating but expensive due to being early in the season and only limited fruit available
Flavour: delicate, sweet taste with a firm, gelatinous texture
Selection: stem should be attached, skin firm
Nutrition: great source of Vitamin C, calcium and potassium
Oysters in crispy tempura batter with apricot purée via Great British Chefs – see full recipe here