PRICKLY CHARACTERS:

Q: Why are some pineapples sold topless?

As far as fresh produce goes, I have always considered pineapples to be relatively straightforward (despite the ongoing debate as to whether they belong on a pizza- or burger for that matter). The pineapple industry in Australia is very QLD centric with top quality fruit being produced from Brisbane to Cooktown, though small amounts produced in Northern NSW and the NT deserve a mention. For many years, Australians buying pineapples lived by the general rule that smooth varieties are larger and juicier, whereas rough leaf fruit are smaller and sweeter. Over the last 15-20 years however this has changed, with cross-breeding of the existing smooth, rough and Hawaiian varieties producing a number of hybrid fruits that offer consumers the best of both worlds. With most pineapple varieties currently performing well at the markets, our bulletin this week is dedicated to the tropics favourite  prickly character.

Before we break it down by variety, here are some insights which are true for all pineapples:

Selection: No matter which variety you buy it is important to note that pineapples may get juicier after harvesting but they don’t sweeter so choose plump fruit that has no bruising/blemishes and boasts a fresh, sweet (but not too sweet) pineapple fragrance.

Nutritional Benefits: pineapples are a fantastic source of Vitamin C with 100gm of some of the hybrid fruits delivering the entire recommended daily intake.  They are also a great source of dietary fibre and a good source of Manganese

 

STANDARD PINEAPPLE: aka Smooth Cayenne

 

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

 

Availability: All year round, peaks in summer/warmer temperatures

Appearance: smooth with top

Flesh: pale yellow flesh

Flavour: juicy, slightly acidic, not as sweet as rough skin or the new hybrid varieties

Big deal: historically this has bee the canning pineapple – however still fantastic fresh.

 

BETHONGA: aka Bethonga Gold Hybrid/Topless Gold

Image: www.fruitezy.com.au

Availability: all year, best Sept-May

Appearance: smooth, topless, slightly smaller than smooth cayenne

Flesh: richgold colour, less fibrous

Flavour: low acidity makes them more aromatic and sweeter in flavour than smooth cayenne

Big deal: less likely to cause the mouth blisters commonly associated with pineapples

 

BABY PINEAPPLE WITH STEMS:

Image: SGS

Availability: Aug - Mar

Appearance: small pineapple with leaves, still attached to the stem

Flavour: N/A

Best use: display purposes

Big deal: These miniature fruits are beautiful and add a quirky twist to a display/centerpiece.

 

ROUGH SKIN/LEAF: aka Queen

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Availability: all year, peaks Dec/Jan

Appearance: rough skin with top on, small fruit

Flesh: gold/yellow flesh that is drier and more fibrous than Smooth Cayenne

Flavour: delicate, mild pineapple flavour that makes it lovely fresh

Big deal: more of a niche product, it keeps well and has a lovely crisp texture

 

AUS JUBILEE:

Image: www.daff.qld.gov.au

Availability: all year, best Nov-Mar

Appearance: smooth yellow skin, small fruit, topless

Flesh: flesh is yellow, firm and crunchy

Flavour: very sweet, strong pineapple aroma with a hint of coconut

Big deal: this variety was born & bred in Australia, therefore it tends to delivers top quality fruit year round- it also has twice the Vit C of the Smooth Cayenne

 

KING OF FRUITS:

Image: www.kingoffruit.com.au

Availability: all year

Appearance: green/yellow smooth skin, topless

Flesh: much darker yellow/gold than smooth cayenne

Flavour: very sweet, low acid

Big deal: hybrid of rough skin and Hawaiian Gold, consistently good performer year round

 

A: This is a trend with the newer hybrid varieties on the market which are often trademarked by commercial partners. The tops of pineapples are removed and replanted, which considering each plant produces 1 pineapple every 2 years is a crucial part of ensuring the increased productivity and commercial availability of these new varieties. The cynics among us might also conclude that it is an effective strategy for trademark companies to protect their brand, as consumers and/or competitors are unable to use cuttings from purchased fruit to produce their own stock.  


MARKET 5: BRITISH

Q: How big is the catering operation at the Olympics?

The world’s eye is fixed squarely on the London Olympics this week and while the weather has been mixed and the Badminton players suspect,  the quality of the games overall has been exceptional. Beyond the individual sports, British culture is also in the limelight, so to capture the Olympic Spirit this week we are sharing our Market 5 for British cuisine. There is much more to British cuisine than Bangers ‘n Mash and to highlight the versatility of these everyday (and often overlooked)  kitchen staples, I have included some world class recipes from some of Britain’s best Chefs.  

1.      PARSNIP:

Image: www.naturespride.eu

While Don Burke may have controversially called parsnips an “affront to human dignity”, there are many Brits who couldn’t imagine a Sunday roast without them- in fact before the arrival of the potato from the Americas, the parsnip was a staple across Europe. So much so that during the Tudor dynasty, the parsnip was more commonly consumed than bread. Closer to home this cost-effective, nutritious and versatile vegetable is wonderful buying at the markets with quality, flavour and supply at its peak until October. For more information on parsnip selection and availability, please click here.

Host Nation inspiration: Chris Horridge’s Veal sweetbreads, parsnip air and curry oil

Click here to view recipe

 

2. ENGLISH SPINACH:

Image: Freepik

Spinach first appeared in England in the 14th century and was adopted quickly due to its availability in early spring when other vegetables were scarce. Spinach was brought to Australia by the first fleet but as it was difficult to grow here, Silverbeet soon became the crop of choice. Today many still refer to Silverbeet as Spinach in Australia for this reason. At its best until September-October, Spinach is a tasty, healthy addition to the menu, especially while other leaf lines are battling with frosty conditions.

Availability: all year, best Mar-Sept

Appearance: bright green, slightly crinkled, flat leaves on a firm green stem

Flavour: bittersweet- finer in texture and flavour than silverbeet

Best for: suitable for eating raw, blanched, braised

Host Nation inspiration: Adam Gray’s Spinach soup with wild garlic toasts

Click here to view recipe

 

3.      RHUBARB:

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Rhubarb is yet another ingredient that isn’t native to Britain, yet it is strongly linked to the national cuisine due to its popular use in desserts and wine making prior to WW2. In the United Kingdom, the first rhubarb of the year is harvested by candlelight in forcing sheds, where all other light is excluded, in order to produce a sweeter, more tender stalk. In Australia. Our rhubarb season peaks during Autumn-Winter, so now is the time to enjoy this tart vegetable at its best. For more information on selection or availability of rhubarb click here.

Host Nation inspiration: Nathan Outlaw’s Rhubarb and crumble trifle

Click here to view recipe

 

 

4.      LEEK:

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

The leek brings a Celtic flavour to the celebrations. As one of the National emblems of Wales, this humble vegetable root has a proud history in Britain and is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Brought to Australia on the first fleet, the leek is used widely in Australia with most production coming out of Victoria and an annual production value of over $16 million in 2007/2008. While it is grown commercially in other states across Australia, Victoria’s cooler temperatures allow for a top quality, consistent harvest over a longer period.

 Availability: all year, best May-Sept

Appearance: long thick white stalk with hard green leaves

Flavour: mild sweet, onion flavour

Best for: commonly used insoups (cock-a-leekie), stock, stews and other dishes, they can also be boiled, fried or eaten raw in salads

Host Nation inspiration: Martin Wishart’s Leeks vinaigrette with eggs mimosa

Click here to view recipe

 

5.    PEAS:

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

 Growing up in Manchester there was nothing I liked more than mushy peas- popular across Northern Britain (Scotland/Yorkshire etc) this signature dish has become synonymous with stereotypical English fare- in particular meat pies and fish ‘n chips. Realistically peas shouldn’t be featuring in our Market Five as they are very expensive at the moment (due to cold snaps in QLD slowing supply) however we couldn’t help by include this British classic on our list. Prices should ease over the coming month as the weather warms up, in the meantime Sugarsnaps are performing well and are a good substitute.

Availability: generally all year

Appearance: round green seeds in a long green pod

Flavour: sweet, juicy

Best for: mushy peas- other than this they aretasty raw or cooked- often used in soups, risottos, pastas, salads, sides

Host Nation inspiration: Nathan Outlaw’s Ham hock with pea purée and wholemeal bread

Click here to view recipe

 

A: The Olympics (in this instance London 2012) is recognised as being the largest peacetime catering operation in the world and the Brits have stepped up to the plateas the first Olympic organisers to produce a food vision with a focus on sustainability.  Over the course of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Olympic venues are forecast to serve up 14 million meals across 40 locations. The Olympic Village alone is being supplied with 25,000 loaves of bread, 232 tonnes of potatoes, over 82 tonnes of seafood, 31 tonnes of poultry items, over 100 tonnes of meat, 75,000 litres of milk, 19 tonnes of eggs, 21 tonnes of cheese and more than 330 tonnes of fruit and vegetables. Now that’s a mouthful.

 


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:

Image: www.mensfitness.com

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

Image: www.freepik.com

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

Image: www.freepik.com

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:

Image: www.marketfresh.com

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

Image: www.wikipedia.com

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.

 

 

 


PEAR SHAPED

Q: What gives a pear its unique melting texture?

While the cold weather is having an adverse reaction on many fruit and veg lines, apples and pears are a reliable addition to the menu with quality consistent and stock readily available. With harvesting taking place between Jan-May each year, apple and pear varieties have been relatively unaffected by recent weather and therefore will be both good quality and in steady supply over the coming months.

Having recently discussed apple varieties, the bulletin this week explores the pear varieties currently available in Australia. While often overlooked, pears are still a key player in the horticulture industry and are growing in popularity. In fact, Australian pear production increased by 30% last year taking it to more than 123,000 tonnes. While Victoria still accounts for the majority of Australia’s production at 88%, our local farmers are upping the ante with NSW increasing production by 63% in 2010/2011.  

The secret to enjoying pears is knowing which pear to eat when. A pear eaten too early is an opportunity missed, as it has not yet had a chance to develop its full flavour and the unique, buttery texture. As stated by Edward Bunyard, author of The Anatomy of Dessert, "The pear must be approached, as its feminine nature indicates, with discretion and reverence; it withholds its secrets from the merely hungry." So with a little reverence, here’s our guide to getting the most of winter pears:

 

Fast Facts:

Selection: Look for fairly firm, fragrant fruit that is unblemished. 

Storage: Store firm, unripe fruit at room temperature until it changes to a ripe yellow and/or gives a little when pressed at the stem. Once ripe, keep in refrigerator and use quickly.

Preparation: Handle gently, pears bruise easily. Once cut, brush surfaces with citrus juice to prevent discolouration prior to serving

 

BEURRE BOSC:

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Available: Mar – Oct, best Apr – May

Appearance: med to largepear with an elongated neck, green-brown skin and a golden-brown russet that darkens as it ripens

Flesh: juicy, white flesh

Flavour: aromatic, sweet, buttery and juicy

Best use: great all-rounder. Suitable for most cooking methods and lovely fresh. Often used for poaching

 

CORELLA: aka Forelle Pears

Image: www.rediscoverthepear.com.au

Available: April – end August

Appearance: squat with a bright, glossy pink-red blush on green – yellow base

Flesh: tender, soft white to creamy yellow flesh

Flavour: sweet and juicy

Best use: fresh – striking addition to salads

Watch for: sometimes smaller fruit is sold as baby corellas, these retain the unique flavour and are practical for salads and portion control

 

HONEY: aka Winter Nelis, Quall

Image: www.rediscoverthepear.com.au

Available: Mar - Nov

Appearance: small – medium in size, squat, round pears with green, heavily russetted skin that yellows when ripe

Flesh: creamy white

Flavour: tender, sweet, buttery– very juicy and aromatic

Best use: very versatile- good cooked and fresh

 

JOSEPHINE: aka Josephine de Malines

Image: www.rediscoverthepear.com.au

Available: Apr –Aug

Appearance: medium sized fruit withlight-green soft skin and slight russet

Flesh: fine grained, creamy yellow-white

Flavour: rich, juicy and very sweet

Best use: excellent fresh eating variety

 

NASHI PEAR:

Image: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

Available: Mar – Nov (best May – Aug)

Appearance: medium, round fruit with yellow-green slightly rough skin (can be flecked with white or brown depending on variety)

Flesh: creamy white, crisp and juicy flesh (like an apple)

Flavour: subtly sweet with medium sugar and high acid

Best use: its crisp texture makes it an interesting apple substitute for a variety of dishes (salads, cheese platters) or eaten fresh

 

PACKHAM: aka Packhams Triumph

Image: www.rediscoverthepear.com.au

Available: Mar – Dec (best- May-Jun)

Appearance: med – large green pear (turns golden yellow when ripe) with a short neck (skin can sometimes appear bumpy)

Flesh: white and slightly firm yet juicy

Flavour: juicy and sweet

Best use: great baked in desserts, poached or fresh

 

RED D’ANJOU: aka Red Angou

Image: www.rediscoverthepear.com.au

Available: Apr - Nov

Appearance: medium sized, deep red fruit with yellow-green mottling

Flesh: fine, white flesh

Flavour: juicy

Best use: salads

 

A: It is the unique texture of the pear that sets it apart from its popular pome brethren. From harvest to consumption the quality of a pear is reliant on knowing when to act. If allowed to stay on the tree too long, the pear develops a gritty, coarse texture as it ripens. To avoid this, farmers pick their pears when mature (but not ripe) and then hold them in cold storage (a key step in achieving their unique character) before they hit the markets and begin to ripen naturally. As pears ripen from the inside it can be difficult to gauge when to indulge, but it is worth the wait. If you press the point where the stem meets the neck and if it gives evenly without applying proper pressure – then the pear is ready to melt in your mouth.


MARKET 5: Spanish Cuisine

Q: How did the Spanish navy influence Spanish cuisine?

At this time of year there really is nothing like indulging in the rich, earthy flavours of Spanish food (and a glass or two of sangria) to keep the winter chills at bay. Inspired by the Spanish tradition of preparing simple, seasonal food (and a  Euro 2012 win), this week we have produced our ‘Market 5’ guide to the best performing (and buying) produce at the Sydney Markets for bringing an authentic, Spanish twist to your menu.  

 

PIMENTOS: aka Peppers, Capsicums, Chillies

Peppers (or pimentos in Spanish) play a key role in Spanish cuisine. The markets at the moment are full of peppers (both capsicums and chillies) that are crisp, vibrant and full of flavour making them an easy choice for the ‘Market Five’. We have chosen to profile the habanero chilli, however for more information on the varieties of ‘pepper’ available and their unique characteristics, please click here.

1. Habanero Chilli

Image: freepik

Availability: all year – best Nov – Mar

Appearance: look like a small bell pepper that has had the air sucked out

Flavour: very hot and spicy, with a hint of citrus. Average between 100,000 and 350,000 on the Scoville scale depending on growing conditions

Best For: a very angry tomato sauce, spicy salsa

 

TOMATOES:

Originally imported from Mexico, tomatoes were believed to be unfit for consumption however they are now at the heart of many Spanish dishes, including Sofrito, Patatas bravas (crisp spiced potatoes), Pan con Tomate (tomato bread), Gazpacho (cold tomato soup) and Paella. Today we have featured the all purpose truss tomato, however to view a more comprehensive overview of Simon George & Sons varieties click here.

2. Truss tomatoes: (available in gourmet, cherry, baby roma, roma)

Image: www.perfectionfresh.com.au

Availability: all year, best Dec - Feb

Appearance: rich, red fruit still attached to vine

Flavour: usually ripened on the vine, these have a wonderful rich flavour and are suitable for eating fresh and for cooking

Best for: suitable for eating fresh and cooked

 

POTATOES:

Potatoes are a key ingredient in a number of famous Spanish dishes, the most obvious being potato tortilla (Tortilla de Patata) and Patatas Bravas mentioned above. Most potato varieties are at their peak this time of year and  all are currently performing well at the markets. For tortilla de patata and patatas bravas the potatoes are fried, therefore I would recommend using either an all-rounder or waxy variety, here I have featured Bintje. For a list of varieties under these headings click here.  

3. Bintje:

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Available: all year, best Nov- Aug

Appearance: small – medium elongated oval, with yellow skin (brown flecks) and cream white flesh

Flavour: our most popular waxy potato it is firm fleshed and creamy

Best for: any dish that requires the potato to be fried. A good cooking potato.

 

ORANGES:

Spain is the 6th largest producer of oranges in the world and with two orange varieties (Seville/Valencia) named after growing regions in Spain, it is safe to assume that this wonderful citrus contributes to their national food identity. Here I have featured two different orange varieties that sadly boast short seasons at the Sydney Markets but are wonderful while they are here.

4. Blood Oranges:

Image: www.bbc.co.uk

Available: late Jun – Aug (having just come into season they need a week to be at their best, but will be worth the wait)

Appearance: medium sized fruit boasting orange skin with a red blush and orange-red flesh

Flavour: sweet, juicy and less acidic that regular oranges

Best for: Sangria, they bring a wonderful colour and refreshing zest to this traditional Spanish wine

 

5. Seville Oranges:

Image: www.bbc.co.uk

Available: Jul- Aug

Appearance: medium sized fruit with thick, orange skin that is difficult to peel

Flavour: very acidic and therefore very tart

Best for: whilst often used in marmalades, the acid in Seville oranges makes them perfect for serving with particularly oily or fatty dishes. In Southern Spain they are also frequently served with fish dishes, such as salted cod, to bring out the flavours of the fish

 

A: Many of the dishes we know as being distinctively ‘Spanish’ came about as a result of the bold venturing of the Spanish navy, in particular the discoveries of Christopher Columbus. Of the ingredients listed above, all of which are considered synonymous with traditional Spanish food, none are actually native to Europe. It was the Spanish conquest (and colonisation) of the Americas, made possible by a thriving navy, that brought the wonders of peppers, tomatoes and potatoes into the Spanish diet. This ‘new world’  produce was adopted into the Spanish cuisine over time, resulting in native dishes renowned for their rich combination of Moorish spice and exotic flavours.  


QUESTION TIME:

Q: What do eggs and potatoes have in common?

At Simon George & Sons we like to work closely with our clients, listen to their needs and then shape our service accordingly. So this week, I thought I would take the opportunity to answer our most frequently asked questions about produce. It is interesting that some of the more ‘commonplace’ produce on our quote tends to generate the most questions, for example one of the most FAQ of our team relates to the classification of eggs (what do they mean and how should they affect my purchasing decisions?). Meanwhile, the #1 most searched product on our blog (by a long way) is the humble potato – with people wanting to know what varieties are out there and how to use them. I have done my best to answer these questions below, should you have any products or produce trends that you would like to see featured on the blog, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

EGGS: Simon George & Sons is HACCP accredited for the storage and distribution of eggs

Image: Eggs

Purchasing eggs has become much more difficult. With no centralized classification system, egg producers can be accredited by one of any number of different associations, each with very different requirements to achieve accreditation. So what do these mean?

ORGANIC: organic and humane

Buying organic states that the eggs have been produced on a certified ‘organic’ farm by chickens who have been fed only certified organic feed/grain and treated humanely (roam free, outdoor access, no beak-trimming or wing-clipping).

Simon George & Sons stock 60gm organic eggs 

FREE-RANGE: access to outdoor areas

There has been some controversy surrounding ‘free-range eggs’ of late, with the lack of a formal definition coming under fire. The number of hens per m² can vary hugely from farm to farm, however 90% of free-range egg producers in Australia are accredited by the Egg Corporation of Australia, which allow farmers to keep an equivalent of 2 hens/m². Free-range hens are housed in sheds but must have access to outdoor area.

Simon George & Sons stock 70gm free-range eggs

BARN-LAID:

Barn-laid is an alternative system to Free-Range farming- the chickens do not have outdoor access but roam freely around a multi-tiered barn that accommodates fundamental needs such as dust-bathing, scratching, enclosed nest boxes. Density of the hens in the barn varies per farmer and accreditation.

Simon George & Sons stock 60 & 70 gm barn-laid eggs from Llandilo farm

CAGE EGGS:

Simon George & Sons sells caged eggs in 50, 60 and 70 gram sizes, these can be supplied in tray pack or carton.

 

POTATOES:

Image: Mixed potatoes

There are hundreds of potatoes on the markets and with more varieties being developed all the time, the question seems to be- which should you use for what? Below is a list of the most common commercial potato varieties, their classification i.e. waxy vs floury and recommended use.

Waxy: low starch (16-18%) and high moisture content

Best for salads, stews, soups or anything where you want the potato to hold shape

Bintje

Dutch Cream

Kipfler

Nadine

Nicola

Patrone – the salad potato

Pink Eye

Pink Fir Apple

Purple Congo – avoid roasting

Red Delight

Ruby Lou

 

All-rounders:  Are neither waxy nor floury

Lend themselves to a variety of cooking methods

Desiree – avoid frying

Kennebec – chip

Pontiac

Purple Jester

Red Rascal

Royal Blue

Sebago

Spunta

Toolangi delight - gnocchi

 

Floury: high starch (20-22%) and low moisture content

Release starch when boiled or fried, best for roasting, baking (in skins) and mashing. If you want to make chips or use them in a salad, soak first.

Coliban

Golden Delight

King Edward - mash

Russet Burbank

 

A: They come alive when you add fresh truffles!

While fresh black truffles are as expensive as they are delicious, they also add a whole new dimension to potato and egg dishes. Simon George & Sons has fresh Black truffles available, with extra class, first class and pieces selling by the gram. With the WA season up and running , the first of the NSW truffles being dug up this week and Tasmanian truffles yet to come -we are looking at a harvest to remember.

Eggs: add unique character to egg dishes without using a single gram. Grab a large glass jar and place a bed of rice at the bottom. Layer your eggs, truffles (wrapped in absorbent paper) and finally a knob of butter on top of the rice. Close the jar and refrigerate for 48 hours, after which the egg, rice and butter will all be infused with the unique truffle aroma.

Potatoes: with your truffle still whole and ready to use, why not add that gourmet touch to your potatoes and finely slice or shave fresh black truffle through a rich, creamy mash.


BUYER'S GUIDE: Asian/Exotics - 7th Feb-13th Feb

Vegie lines like Bitter Melon, Luffa, Hairy Melon, Winter Melon and Sin Que all good buying.

Leaf lines showing some signs of weather damage but  still in good supply.

Chillies, plenty around so now’s the time to turn up the HEAT!

 

Asian Vegetables: Not Available

Kachay - Lotus Root - Tamarind - Water Spinach

Exotic Fruits: Not Available

Asian Plum - Buddha Hands - Cumquats - Custard Apple - Fuji Fruit - Guava - JuJu Fruit - Kiwifruit (gold) - Loquats - Persimmon - Pomelos (red) - Star Apple - Tamarillo (red) - Tamarillo (gold) - Tangelos

Exotic Fruits: Short Supply

Mangosteen

 


FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY

Q: Are seasonal guides redundant now that many produce lines are available year round?

Despite all evidence to the contrary, February is the last month of Summer and soon the hot, sunny days (we were supposed to have) will begin to give way to cooler Autumn months. Inevitably, the changing of the seasons brings new fashion and food trends, which for chef’s means a revamp of the menu.

So, to help ease the burden of menu planning we thought we would literally give you four seasons in one day and attach our new SG&S seasonal charts to this week’s bulletin. These charts serve as a quick reference guide to the fruit & veges you can expect to see in the markets each month.

These charts are also hosted on the Season’s Best section of our blog, however for those who want something more permanent to keep in their kitchen, contact SG&S and we will issue you with a laminated poster version which covers the full year.

Seasonal supply does vary, with individual lines arriving at the market early, late or in fits and starts due to unexpected weather conditions. So, keep an eye on our weekly buyer’s guide. Posted on our blog each Tuesday, these guides outline the week’s best buys, new season stock and any notable gaps in supply. To receive these updates directly, click on the follow button on the blog homepage and enter your email address.

 

Happy planning!

 

A: In short, no! We may not live by the Cordoba Calendar anymore (Google that when your bored!) but knowing your seasonal produce is the best way to serve up a cost-effective and reliable menu- rain, hail or shine.  Not only will the fruit and veg you use be abundant and therefore cheaper, it  will also be more nutritional and taste better, having been harvested at its peak and spared from travelling long distances.