Summer Harvest: Fruit

FRESH FACT: The Sydney Festival is a key event on the Sydney summer calendar bringing a constant stream of interstate travellers and diverse cultural events to Sydney for three weeks every January. Last year the festival contributed $56.8 million to the NSW economy and with an estimated 650,000 expected to attend in 2013 and additional events being hosted beyond the city centre, it is an exciting time for foodservice and hospitality businesses.

It may be hard to believe but Spring is on the wind up for another year, meaning the long days (and even longer nights) of summer are just around the corner. With the warmer temperatures encouraging more and more patrons to eat out, Summer is undoubtedly an important season for the food service/hospitality industries. With resources stretched to capacity, we thought we would profile the summer produce lines sure to bring both vibrant colour and fresh flavours to your menu with minimal fuss.  


CURRANTS (red /black):

Red currant

My English sensibilities (even after 20 odd years) have yet to come to terms with celebrating Christmas in summer and while pulling together a traditional Christmas turkey on a 40 degree day is akin to torture for many of us, we can at least be grateful that fresh red currants are available as a show stopping decoration or tasty addition to an Aussie Christmas menu.  

Seasonality: difficult to predict availability for this product, traditionally availablefrom mid-late Dec to mid Jan

Flavour: red currants are more sour than their black counterparts, but still boast the distinctively sweet, tart currant flavour that makes them ideal for both sweet and savoury dishes

Inspiration: Roast Pork with crackling and apples in red currant jelly - Steffan Jensen via SBS Food

Click here for full recipe




While some berry varieties have already started, the best is yet to come with the main berry season (and its vast range of flavours/colours and textures) starting in December.

Seasonality: uncommonly cool weather has slowed the growing process of many fruits, so there is a chance that some berry varieties may appear on the markets late or inconsistently this year.

Early season (Dec onwards): Blackberries, Blueberries (already in good form), Boysenberries, Loganberry, Raspberries (red), Gold raspberries (Dec only), Strawberries (VIC), Youngberries (Dec only)

Inspiration: Elderflower jelly with summer berries and strawberry sorbet - Martin Wishart via Great British Chefs

Click here for full recipe




It’s fantastic to see native produce gaining traction in the industry and with stunning fruits such as fingerlimes, it isn’t hard to see why they are in demand.

Seasonality: weshould see the first of the fresh fingerlimes around  Xmas/early January. Season lasts until May/June, peaking Mar - May

Flavour: same tangy, citrus flavour as common limes however the flesh is made up of small, translucent pearls which lend a unique texture and stunning aesthetic

Inspiration: Finger Lime Tart with Coconut Cream – Justine Schofield via LIfestyleFood

Click here for full recipe



Fresh Figs

Figs are a highlight of  the Summer, Autumn season for many of our chefs and with their rich colour, flavour and unique texture we can only lament that the season doesn’t last longer.

For more detailed information on fig varieties, please refer to our previous bulletin ‘Figs: The hidden treasure’- or click here

Seasonality: the main commercial variety – Black Genoa- is available late Dec – May

Flavour: distinctive rich, sweet flavour

Inspiration: Quail with cracked wheat, figs and aged balsamic vinegar – Gourmet Traveller

Click here for full recipe




When it comes to visual appeal, you really can’t go past the brightly coloured skin, white flesh and little black seeds of a dragonfruit. While subtle in flavour, their refreshing, crisp character makes them ideal for summer.

Seasonality: Oct – Apr (red with white flesh), red fleshed fruit start December/Xmas

Flavour: crisp, refreshing, sweet flavour- the flavour of red dragonfruit is often said to have a hint of raspberry

Inspiration: Dragon Fruit Caipirinha – Quantum Cocktails

Click here for full recipe



These exotic fruits are hard to go past in summer- not only do they boast symbolism and tradition (e.g. Chinese New Year) but also refreshing, unique and wonderfully exotic flavours


For more information on these varieties, please refer to our previous bulletin ‘Escape to the Tropics’- or click here

Other items of note for Summer: Stonefruit, Bananas, Mangoes, Pineapples, Salad greens,  Australian Grapes,Tomatoes.


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.



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


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


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


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




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.


Appearance: firm, dark orange-red flesh

Flavour: fragrant, sweet, succulent – similar to rockmelon


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

Flavour: fragrant, juicy, sweet- milder than red 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


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.