A TASTE OF SOMETHING SWEET

Q: What is the difference between Paw-Paw and Papaya?

There is a common misnomer that Winter is ‘Apple and Pear’ season due to the shortage of bright, tropical summer fruits. In truth, there are a myriad of tropical and other fruit varieties available at the markets during winter; each offering unique textures, flavours and twist to your menu. So over the coming weeks, while pineapples, melons and figs are predicted to be in short supply and up in price why not try something new. Below we have featured a range of fruits that are both good quality and in good supply at the markets – making them smart buying this Winter.

BERRIES:

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While berry season (Nov – Feb) is still some time away, we are seeing some lovely fruit at the markets at the moment. QLD strawberries have suffered a little from recent rain and are experiencing some quality issues, however overall supply and standard is good for strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (red).

 

CARAMBOLA: StarFruit, 5 corner, Bilimbing, Yang Tao

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Currently sourced from: QLD

Availability: Available all year- peak production April/May, Jul/Oct, Dec/Jan

Appearance:  distinctive 5 winged fruit with waxy green-yellow skin

Flesh: transparent- yellow to white

Flavour:  crisp, juicy – sweet (yellow) to slightly tart (green). The edges/tips of the wings have the most acid/tannins and are therefore the most astringent

Selection: firm bright fruit with clean, waxy skin

Preparation: can be eaten fresh – slicing achieves the distinctive star shape for platters, salads, desserts and seafood dishes

 

CUMQUATS: aka kumquats

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Currently sourced from: QLD

Availability: autumn/winter

Appearance: small orange fruits with a thin peel that are round-oval in shape

Flesh: segmented yellow-orange flesh

Flavour: intense, sweet-sour flavour,- most often candied, glazed or preserved though can be eaten fresh or even in liqueur

Selection: start to deteriorate once picked so look for robust, bright fruit with no obvious damage on skin

 

KIWIFRUIT: aka Chinese Gooseberry

Currently sourced from: NZ

Selection: firm, full fruit with no blemishes

Preparation: while many choose to forgo, the entire fruit is edible including the skin

GREEN: Hayward

Availability: Local: Mar-Jul, NZ: Jun-Dec

Appearance: egg shaped fruit with fuzzy, light-brown skin

Flesh: rich green flesh with small edible black seeds

Flavour: tangy, sweet

GOLD:

Availability: Jun – Sept

Appearance: egg shaped fruit with smooth, golden-brown skin

Flesh: gold flesh with less seeds than the green variety

Flavour: sweeter than Haywards

 

PANAMA PASSIONFRUIT:

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Currently sourced from: QLD

Availability: all year

Appearance: lighter purple skin than other varieties, with white flecks

Flesh: orange pulp with lots of hard, black seeds(more pulp than black passionfruit)

Flavour: intensely refreshing- tangy (slightly acidic) flavour

Selection: fruit that is heavy for size, smooth and firm

Preparation: eaten fresh from casing or used in desserts

 

PAPAYA: aka Paw-Paw

Currently sourced from: QLD

Availability: all year with peaks May/June and Sept/Oct

Appearance: looks like an elongated melon with smooth, thin green-yellow skin

Selection: look for fragrant, well shaped fruit, no discolouration or soft spots

Preparation: unlike many fruits it can be cut without discolouration, eaten fresh, in salads or as a accompaniment to seafood or chicken.

RED PAPAYA:

Appearance: firm, dark orange-red flesh

Flavour: fragrant, sweet, succulent – similar to rockmelon

YELLOW PAW-PAW:

Appearance: rounder & larger than red variety, it has yellow skin and soft yellow flesh

Flavour: fragrant, juicy, sweet- milder than red papaya

GREEN PAPAYA:

Appearance: a green unripe fruit from either varieties listed above (commonly red papaya due to their fuller flavour)

Flavour: oil hands and knife prior to cutting (unripe papaya release a latex fluid which can cause allergic reactions) – used as a vegetable in Asian cuisines, suitable for pickles, salads and vegetables in curries

 

YELLOW DRAGON FRUIT: aka Pitaya Amarillo, S. megalanthus

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Currently sourced from: QLD

Availability: Main fruiting May- Jun – good quality fruit available, will be winding up in next few weeks

Appearance: med–large oval fruit with distinctive yellow skin and pointy scales

Flesh: clear-white with edible black seeds

Flavour: often lauded as the best tasting due to its higher sugar levels- crisp kiwi/melon flavours, delicately sweet and mild

Selection: look for bright fruit that gives slightly under pressure

Preparation: chilled and eaten fresh or used in gelatos, ice-creams, sorbets, cocktails etc

A: Nothing. Paw-Paw and Papaya are actually different varieties of the species Carica papaya– though in Australia we tend to refer to the yellow fruit as ‘paw-paw’ and the red as ‘papaya’. Native to the Americas and first cultivated in Mexico, this tropical fruit is highly nutritious and unfortunately under-used in Australian cuisine due to the popularity of melon varieties.

 

 

 

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