In season October try some fresh and tender baby bok choy either steamed or raw. Crisp, bright green sugar snap and snow peas make great springtime salads.
You will find globe artichokes a real treat, as well as tasty and vitamin-packed mushrooms. Asparagus is at its peak during spring and just perfect for elegant salads.
You will also find plenty of cos lettuce which is great for its crispness and adding bulk to your salads.
Artichokes; Asian Greens; Asparagus; Avocado; Beans; Broccoli; Chilies; Corn; Cucumber; Garlic; Kale; Lettuce; Mushrooms; Onions; Peas (Sugar Snap, Snow, Garden); Potatoes; Rhubarb; Silverbeet; Spring Onions; Tomatoes; Watercress; Zucchini.
Bananas; Blueberries; Grapefruit; Lemons; Mangoes; Oranges: Valencia; Paw Paw; Papaya; Passionfruit; Pears: Beurre Bosc, Corella, Josephine, Packham, Red Anjou, Winter Nelis; Pineapples; Pommelo; Rockmelon; Strawberry; Tangelos; Watermelon
More on your in Season October 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 October are – AA Choy, Amaranth, Baby Bok Choy Chinese or Oriental Celery, Choy Sum, Chrysanthemum Greens, Tatsoi
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.
The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural “broccolo” and means the ‘flowering crest of a cabbage’. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan), it has smaller florets and longer stalks. While broccoli has a bitter flavour broccolini has a milder, sweeter more earthy taste.
Select firm and dark green broccoli and broccoli hybrids with densely packed heads. Avoid heads that with yellowing florets that are separating. For broccolini look for fresh moist florets and avoid drooping ones.
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…
Resembles a rough leafed silverbeet with thin stems, you will find grey/pale green and purple varieties. It is sold in bunches as it does not form a head and It boasts deep, earthy flavours that can range from rich and meaty to herbaceous and slightly bitter.
Choose dark coloured bunches with small to medium leaves. Avoid brown or yellow leaves.
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.
Funghi vegetables are commonly known as mushrooms and have been eaten for thousands of years and have over 250 different varieties. They can be divided into 4 main groups – white mushrooms, specialty mushrooms, dried mushrooms and truffles
Mushrooms are full of micronutrients and are considered a Super Food.
Look for mushrooms that are firm to the touch, have uniform colour and have a slightly shiny surface.
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 shriveled 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, shriveled, yellowing, or separating from their stalks.
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…
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.
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.