Shopping seasonally just makes sense. It's better for you because you're getting fresher, tastier food at a lower cost, and it's better for the environment because less fossil fuels are spent transporting the produce to stores and ultimately to your plate. At Commonsense, we do our best to have vegetables that are grown organically in New Zealand and picked at the time when they're juicy and ripe. We've put together this simple guide to help you make informed decisions about what's best to buy when.
One of the best things about buying seasonal produce is that the vegetables and fruit available to us feel so weather appropriate! When we're feeling the chill there's nothing more nourishing than winter fruit - namely oranges, lemons, limes and (later on in winter) grapefruit. If you've come down with a cold, the Vitamin C in citrus fruits may help to lessen the severity of your symptoms and can shorten the duration of your illness. In New Zealand, the winter months (June, July and August) are when citrus fruits taste and look the most vibrant - make sure you take advantage!
But if you're looking to branch out, why not try tamarillos? Tamarillos are a great source of Vitamin A, B6 and C. They're delicious eaten raw (just cut them in half and eat the insides with a spoon - avoid the skin, it isn't tasty) or in cooking - tamarillos are amazing for marinades or chutney.
The colder months are a good time to mix up your traditional roast vege salads with the addition of things like yams, squash, swedes and parsnips. These are also all amazing if you want to add depth of flavour to your warming winter soups and stews. Celeriac is great as a substitute for celery and goes well with potatoes.
Winter greens like cavolo nero or kale can seem tough and unappealing, but they're incredibly nutritious and tasty when added to stews or soups. Kale is known as one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet - what could be better at a time of year when your body is most vulnerable to illness? Kale makes a good snack too - baked at a low temperature with whatever seasoning you fancy, kale chips get a wicked, moreish crunch.
Marion's Cashew and Tamarillo Pie
700g cashew nuts
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter
250g puff or flaky pastry
First, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Cover the tamarillos with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, then drain, peel and slice them. Peel and slice the apples. Put in a deep pie dish with the cashew nuts. Sprinkle with the sugar, flour and cinnamon and stir lightly. Dot with the butter. Roll out the pasty and lay it over the filling. Crimp the edges. Brush with milk and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry well browned. Serve warm with cream.
Simple but Delicious Celeriac Soup
1 large celeriac
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
600 ml vegetable stock
275 ml milk
salt and pepper
Peal all of the brown off the celeriac and cut it up into rough cubes. Peel the potato and cut it into cubes also. In a large pot, sweat the celeriac, potato and the cloves of garlic in the butter for around 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and the lemon juice, and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Blend, then add the milk, salt and pepper. Re-heat in the original pot, then serve.