Asparagus signals spring. The early sprue asparagus has supple skin, so you only need to snap off the bottom. As they grow to thicker stems, peel from the top of the spear to the bottom, removing he stringy skin and snap off the bottom which is a little woody in texture before cooking.
You will find plenty of baby broad beans in early spring and are delicious eaten raw in their skins. As the seasons moves on, they get bigger, so blanch them in hot salty water and discard their bitter skin to expose the sweet, bright green jewel inside. This is known as double shelling. Their best friend flavour wise is basil.
Globe Artichokes are part of the thistle family. Artichokes are at their best when the flower is tight, and the stem is thick. Simply peel the stem and boiling them gently in acidulated (added lemon juice/ wine or vinegar) water until tender and serve them warm or cold with vinaigrette. To eat, peel the cooked leaves off one by one, dipping the meaty bottoms in vinaigrette, before scraping the delicious soft flesh off with your teeth. As you reach the centre, remove the hairy looking choke, and devour the heart with alacrity.
Lemons & Blood Oranges
The last of the local lemons are still around so embrace them while they last. Also look out for the wonderfully vivid and intensely flavoured blood oranges. They have a very short run from Mid-August until October so use them as much as you can. My favourite morning tonic is the juice of 1 blood orange, a sprig of fresh oregano and a slither of chilli to get your blood moving. Also delicious in crunchy salads or served with oily fish such as mackerel and sardines.
Garlic & Avocados
Spring is when new season garlic arrives. It has an intensity of flavour that’s best friend and serving partner is Lamb. It can be treated like a leek either tossed in a pan or braised slowly in the oven. Avocados are also in their prime so look out for both Hass and Sharwill varieties.
Embrace the start of spring by planting herbs, vegetables and edible flowers that can continue to provide homegrown flavour and colour to your cooking throughout the season, while keeping the bees happy too.
For an added treat while you’re at the market, come and visit our very own beehives!!! We have several beehives at Carriageworks which are kept by Doug Purdie of The Urban Beehive. Ask the information desk to point you in the right direction and pay them a visit. We also sell jars of Carriageworks honey from these exact hives. In Spring the bees wake up after their long winter slumber when the weather warms, so keep an eye out for them foraging for the first time since autumn.
Long live Spring