September on the east coast really is a tremendous time of year, the sun has a touch more warmth, the mornings are not quite so crisp and the general craving to be outside is embedded within us once more!
Seasonal Produce this time of year is a celebration of colour, flavour and vibrancy.
We want to help you with a few ideas for cooking your spring produce. A little inspiration and know how can go a long way into getting the most from those seasonal goodies on the local grocers shelf!
Here is a short list of some seasonal ingredients and what we like to do with them!
Australian Grown Asparagus
Asparagus is in the height of its seasonal prominence during September – vibrant green with a delicate crunch and packed full of nutrients.
Choose crisp even spears with tightly packed tips and avoid any wrinkled bases.
Store upright on top of a damp chux cloth or tissue, un-covered to avoid sweating.
Trim the asparagus just above the woody section near the base, removing the small purple leaves is optional. Larger stalks may need the base lightly peeling, as it can be a bit stringy.
Boiling – remember to generously season the boiling water, cooking for 2-3 minutes – depending on thickness of the stalk. Drain, brush with a little olive oil and serve immediately or refresh in ice water then pat dry.
Char-Grilling – Coat the trimmed asparagus in olive oil, sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, char grill for 3-5 minutes depending on the level of heat and thickness of the stalk.
Serve Asparagus alongside grilled fish, poultry, with poached eggs for brekky, solo with lemon juice and shaved parmesan or toss through a salad.
Spring is the time of the year to get involved with fresh broad beans! Packed with protein, a good source of b vitamins, easy to cook and super versatile!
Look for even green pods, with little or no markings. Beans within the pods should feel firm to the touch and should have a crisp fresh smell.
Podding broad beans is one of a chefs favourite jobs in the kitchen, whether it’s the excitement of eating them at their best or the therapeutic quality it has is besides the point, we just love it!
Squeeze the pod with your thumb, applying pressure to the inside white seam, the pod will open allowing you to slide a finger through releasing the beans and discarding the shells.
Blanch the beans in seasoned boiling water for 3-4 minutes – shock with ice water to refresh, then drain. Once drained you should be able to pinch and squeeze, releasing the broad bean from its inner shell, revealing the vibrant green end product.
Broad beans are fantastic tossed through salads of any kind, thrown through some stir-fried veggies, in a risotto or alongside anything to do with lamb!
What to do with mountains of Mandarins! Mandarins are a seasonal treat spanning from the late winter months right through spring.
Rich with vitamin C, high in fibre and down right delicious!
Look for a deep orange skin, zesty smell and no signs of discolouration or light mould. A little looseness in the skin from the fruit itself represents a positive sign of ripeness.
You will figure this one out alone!
Mandarins are fantastic in sweet and savoury conditions. Not as acidic as a classic orange – they match well with yogurt, granola, seeds and goji berries.
Seasonal Mandarins are great in salads, particularly with grilled chicken or shredded duck.
Try a little Mandarin, almond and mint salsa with a dark chocolate number as a great way to lighten a dessert and add some vibrancy or even to spice up a cocktail or two!
These are just a couple of the great seasonal goodies September has to offer.
Be sure to keep an eye out for; the best lemons of the year, peaches, plums and the start of the strawberries. Cucumbers and celery are particularly good this time of year, as are leeks, spinach and silverbeet. The Australian cherry season isn’t too far away and Globe artichokes are pretty damn good right now!
What are your favourite spring time seasonal goodies? Any recipe ideas you would like to share?