We’re in the thick of winter but that doesn’t mean your pantry has to go into hibernation. Here are all the best in-season offerings at the Farmer’s Market to keep you in good spirits through the winter chills.
Oranges, lemons and limes are local and easy to find – however, if you dig a little deeper, you will come across many more varieties to enjoy. For example, mandarins, tangerines and tangelos offer a sweeter, easier to peel alternative to an orange and are great juiced or used in winter salads.
Grapefruits are a fantastic way to start the day – cut a pink grapefruit in half, drizzle with local, raw honey and give it a little sprinkle of chilli salt to get the blood moving.
Look out for Meyer lemons too. They have a rounder shape and are less acidic than the everyday lemon. They’re perfect for homemade lemonade – you won’t need to use as much sugar to balance the sharpness.
Get your hands on some Seville oranges and whip up your own batch of marmalade. They are the traditional orange for marmalade as they have a very bitter skin that gives the quintessential bittersweet flavour to go with your buttery toast.
More unusual citruses are great to experiment with – if you can find them. Bergamot is essentially a dwarf Seville orange and is the key aroma of Earl Grey tea.
Cumquats are also in their prime and are wonderful preserved in brandy or poached in sugar syrup to eat alongside duck or for dessert with dark chocolate.
If you’re lucky you may stumble across a fresh Yuzu, there is nothing better than to squeeze it over raw seafood with a touch of soy. You can buy the juice in a bottle, but to taste it fresh is next level.
To the untrained eye, these tubers look a lot like ginger but don’t be fooled. You can eat Jerusalem artichokes raw or pickled, making them an ideal salad ingredient for those after a sweet earthy crunch. Make sure to give them a good soak and scrub and, if serving raw, only slice them right before use or slice into water with a little lemon in it. Their nutty flavour is also perfect for a hearty winter soup.
Nothing says decadence like black truffles. They key is to use this complex flavour in simple ways by combining with butter, cheese or fat. A delicious mac and cheese with grated truffle never goes amiss.
You also want to be savvy about storing your truffle correctly: kitchen towel in an airtight container in the fridge. Change the paper every few days to keep them firm, dry and full of perfume. Alternatively, store it in a glass jar with rice to give the rice a wonderful truffle aroma that’ll make for a killer risotto.
Hartley Truffles are at the market for winter with their signature ‘black perigord’ available until August.
A winter staple, make sure to grab your Brussels sprouts on the stalk as they will keep fresh for a bit longer. When they’re tight and compact, shave them thinly into salads with a sharp dressing, steam them, or roast them with chestnuts. As they get larger, leave them whole and fry them until crispy and golden.
Look out for other brassicas like cabbages and broccoli, as well as winter greens like silverbeet and leafy Asian greens.
Fanelli Organics are a longtime stallholder whose winter produce is hard to beat.
In the supermarket era, it can be easy to forget that garlic actually has a season but when you try in-season local garlic, you won’t look back. A gorgeous garlicy recipe is Toum. Blend peeled garlic, lemon juice, salt and oil in a food processor and lavish this sauce across roasted meats, grilled vegetables, stir into a warm winter soup or simply spread across your favourite bread.
Radicchio is a delicious Italian vegetable half way between a lettuce and a cabbage. It’s got a delicious bitter taste that works raw or – if you want a sweeter taste – cooked. It works added to any salad or grilled on the BBQ. Radicchio is also super delicious pickled. Treat radicchio just as you would lettuce. Give it a nice wash and add generous amount of oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Their bitterness goes very well when you add a little sweetness, so grab your favourite aged balsamic and drizzle it over a wedge of radicchio with a little grated parmesan. The sweet, bitter and salty combination is amazing!
Goldstreet Dairy is the most recent addition to the market and their signature Jersey Cheese is a perfect snack for fighting off winter chills. This semi-hard cooked curd cheese can be enjoyed fresh, shredded into salad or pasta, or grilled for a crunchy, decadent delight. You can even bread it like a schnitzel. Pat dry, add flour and egg, crumb it then shallow or deep fry and voila.
The French call the potato ‘pomme de terre’ (apple of the earth) for good reason. Just like apples, there are endless varieties of this humble vegetable, each perfected for a particular occasion or palette.
Next time you’re at the market, grab one potato of each variety you can find and run a little taste test. Wash the potatoes very well, place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add some salt, pepper, olive oil and a few garlic cloves. Bring this to the boil. Once the potatoes are almost tender turn off the heat and leave them in the salty water to cool a bit. Drain them from the water and cut into rough chunks, add a big knob of butter and a handful of chopped parsley and a bit more salt and pepper. Try them all and find your favourite.
Visit the Carriageworks Farmers Market every Saturday from 8am – 1pm.