In season November is the start of the summer vegetable season so get ready for those barbecues! Great for this are vibrant green asparagus, and sweet corn char them on your BBQ and toss them in salads.
Try some crisp and cool cucumbers as they are now in plentiful supply and at a good price as well as some crunchy lettuce varieties.
There is still a lot of gorgeous artichokes for you to try either raw or blanched in your salads or even to add to an antipasti platter.
Asian greens are also abundant some like pak choy are just wonderful to sere raw in your salads.
Artichokes; Asian Greens; Asparagus; Avocado; Beans (Green); Chilies; Corn; Cucumber; Lettuce; Peas (Snow, Sugar Snap); Potatoes; Rhubarb; Silverbeet; Spring Onions; Tomatoes; Watercress; Zucchini; Zucchini Flowers
Bananas; Blueberries; Grapefruit; Loquats; Mangoes; Mulberries; Paw Paw; Papaya; Passionfruit; Pears: Beurre Bosc, Corella, Josephine, Packham, Red Anjou, Winter Nelis; Pineapples; Rockmelon; Strawberry; Watermelon
MORE ON YOUR IN SEASON NOVEMBER VEG…
The artichoke is a member of the thistle and the sunflower families.
You should choose artichokes that are plump and feel heavy for their size. Select deep green coloured artichokes with tightly closed petals and a firm stem.
Artichokes are not fresh if they have a limp stalk and petals that are partially open and curling backwards. Test the freshness of artichokes by pressing the petals against each other – they should produce a squeaking sound.
Asian Greens that are in season in November are – AA Choy, Amaranth, Chinese or Oriental Celery, Choy Sum, Chrysanthemum Greens, Tasoi.
When choosing Asian greens, look for crisp stalks with bright green, glossy leaves. Flowering varieties are best when in bud, rather than full bloom.
Asparagus is the young shoots from a cultivated lily plant and is a member of the stem family of vegetables.
It has a distinct savoury flavour and was considered to be an aphrodisiac in ancient times, Asparagus has a long history going back as far as the first century.
Look for firm, bright smooth spears of uniform size with closed, compact tips without any bruising or damage. Check the ends for moisture as this indicates recent harvesting and avoid dry or split ends. When you snap freshly harvested asparagus, it should be crisp, moist and juicy.
Avocados are a fruit vegetable with different varieties available throughout the year.
The majority of avocados are sold unripe as they bruise easily. Make sure that your avocados are firm, heavy and on the large size as this usually means that there is more flesh than pit.
To choose a ripe avocado gently press around the stem and if it yields then the fruit is ripe. Hass is the only variety that changes colour from green to black when they are ripe, all other types are green when ripe.
Round green beans are the most popular fresh beans in Australia and are delicious and easy to cook. Because the seeds contain much protein, beans are useful as a meat substitute.
For green, yellow and purple beans they should have some snap when bent in half and should not be shrivelled or rubbery. Avoid dark spots and blemishes and beans that are unusually large or thick as this is a sign of over-mature beans.
They should “snap” when you break them. Store green beans in a paper bag in the crisper section of your fridge. They should be eaten as soon as possible as they lose sweetness and moisture after being picked.
Corn is a very versatile crop with the only place in the world not growing corn being Antarctica. The long threads on top of an ear of corn are called silks and there is one silk strand for each kernel of corn.
Look for ears with husks that are fresh, tight and green, not yellowed or dry. Peel back part of the husk to see if the kernels are bright, plump and milky. For packaged corn look for fresh looking corn and check the packing date.
As corn is one of the most genetically modified foods it is a good idea to choose organic varieties whenever possible.
The everyday cucumber is readily available throughout most of the year (except for the Winter months). They are mildly flavoured with a high water content which makes them very hydrating.
Select firm cucumbers without bruises that are heavy for their size and rounded at the tips. Avoid shrivelled tips or soft spots. Sizes vary with the type but smaller, slender cucumbers typically have fewer seeds and more flavour.
Our top 10 recipes that include cucumber…
There are four main types of lettuce grown in Australia Iceberg (Crisphead), Butterhead, Cos (Romaine) and Loose leaf. All coral, baby leaf and salad mix lettuces belong to the loose-leaf lettuce group. This group of lettuce has a great variety of sizes, shapes and colours.
Look for brightly coloured crisp leaves. Avoid yellow leaves as this is a sign of age and indicates that the greens may have an off flavour. Young, leafy greens generally have small, tender leaves and a mild flavour. Many mature plants have tougher leaves and stronger flavours.
Peas are podded vegetables with varieties that include garden, snow and sugar snap. They are tender with a sweet, green and grassy taste.
Look for bright green pods that are waxy to the touch and avoid the ones that look shrivelled and dried up.
The diversity of climates found in Australia means that potatoes can be harvested all year round. Potatoes in Australia can be grouped into three main categories – floury, waxy and all-purpose.
Choose potatoes that feel firm and heavy, without any soft spots, sprouting eyes, or green discolouration.
Is also known as chard or swiss chard in Europe and the US. It has a thick, white stem and dark green, curly leaves and is a multicoloured, leafy relative of beetroot. The large, crinkly leaves of silverbeet has more texture and flavour than English spinach.
Choose vibrant, fresh-looking greens that are not wilted, shrivelled, yellowing, or separating from their stalks.
The spring onion is believed to have originated in the Far East and has been a favourite in China and Japan for centuries.
Spring or green onions have a milder flavour than your classic onion varieties and are perfect for salads.
Look for firm unblemished bulbs and vibrant green tops that are not wilted, yellowed slimy or dry.
The varieties of tomatoes now available in Australia is quite extraordinary, they can be yellow, orange, purple, striped, red and green and vary greatly in size and shape.
They are at their peak during the summer months but readily available throughout the year.
Select tomatoes depending on when you intend to use them. Choose very ripe tomatoes to use soon after purchase and greener tomatoes for longer storage.
Tomatoes should be firm with unmarked skin and no soft spots. They should also have a wonderful tomatoey aroma.
Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight- do not refrigerate unless very ripe as they will become mealy.
Our favourite tomato recipes…
Though aN herb watercress is used more like a salad green. It is a lush, leafy semi-aquatic plant with leaves that have a fresh, peppery, rich and slightly bitter taste.
Choose vibrant-looking greens, avoid any yellow, damaged or slimy leaves. The smaller the leaf the sweeter the taste, the larger leaves have a much more bitter and peppery taste.
Zucchini is also called courgettes and can greatly range in size depending on maturity. Zucchinis are related to pumpkins and squash and have a sweet mild taste with more potassium than bananas.
Choose glossy skinned zucchini with few blemishes, avoid squash and zucchini that are soft or spongy.
Zucchini flowers can come from any summer or even winter pumpkins and are enjoyed for their earthy flavour. They are the edible flowers of the pumpkin or zucchini plant and usually come in yellow and orange shades. If you take the time to prepare these beauties you will not be disappointed – utter decadence!
Choose flowers that are brightly coloured with no shrivelling or wilting.
WHY YOU SHOULD EAT IN SEASON OCTOBER VEGETABLES…
It is a good idea to shop and cook with Australian seasonal fruits and vegetables as they are so much tastier and much more nutrient-dense when they are at their peak. You will not find the same flavour or goodness from imported produce.
Out of season produce may have been grown in artificial environments or sprayed with pesticides. For biosecurity reasons imported produce may also be subjected to fumigation.
Therefore, in-season October vegetables are packed full of flavour and are much better for you!
EAT A RAINBOW…
Nutrition Australia recommends that we “Eat a Rainbow” which means to eat one vegetable from each of the 5 colour groups that they are categorised in for further details see the Nutrition Australia website.