Happy Lunar New Year! Celebrations will get underway this week, with many marking the beginning of the new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. We have lots of Asian fresh fruit and vegetables to help you ring in the new year with good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity.
Our pick of the week is the Pomegranate. These red, round jewels from Mareeba, symbolise prosperity, fertility and longevity, and will be in your local fruit and veg shop this week. Pomegranates have multiple health benefits and are great used in salads and desserts. They are known to lower the risk of heart disease, high in fibre, beneficial for managing inflammation, high in antioxidants to lower blood pressure in addition to having a unique, delicious taste all of their own! Why not pick a few up this week!
Known as the “Chinese Strawberry” in the Middle Kingdom, Lychees are a symbol of love and romance and will be in your fruit and veg shop this week, from the Dimbula and Mareeba regions. Lychees are a rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins C, B1, B3, B9 and minerals Copper and Potassium. Peel the fruit’s rough outer skin to the enjoy the edible translucent, white flesh, which has one brown seed inside. Enjoy the New Year with a Lychee and Cucumber Sour!
Cherries remain at their peak ripeness with fat, juicy fruit from Tasmania hitting our fruit and veg shops. Cherries are a status symbol in China and signify success. Their dark red colour also represents happiness and love, so they are perfect to share with friends and loved ones and wish them great blessings whilst they are at their eating best.
Another auspicious fruit to celebrate Chinese New Year is the Longan which is in good supply from Mareeba, symbolising reunions and vitality. Sweet and mild in flavour, longans should be firm and ideally in a bunch or try them dried and shelled or served in a tea.
One more exotic fruit, Figs from Childers and Bundaberg have a delicate flavour and incredible texture. If you want to spoil someone you care about, why not make this decadent Dark Chocolate Fig Tart .
All varieties of tasty Tomatoes are still in good supply and good eating from Bundaberg, Stanthorpe and South Australia this week. Satisfy your tomato craving with a Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad.
Pak Choy from the Lockyer Valley and Wombok (Chinese Cabbage) from Stanthorpe will be a great addition to any Chinese New Year celebrations. Both in good supply, use them in a stir-fry like this Salmon with Cabbage, Pecans and Bacon recipe. Substitute the white cabbage with Wombok for an Asian flare!
Zucchinis are still in abundance in your local fruit and veg shop from Bundaberg and Stanthorpe. Take advantage of their plentiful supply and make some meat free meals everyone will love. Why not try some Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad or Zucchini Noodles for a tasty, healthy midweek meal.
Also in good supply are all types of Eggplant so why not stretch yourself and make something new, like this Oven Roasted Eggplant, Pomegranate and Pecan Dip, Grilled Eggplant Burgers or Miso Roasted Eggplant for a flavour boost this week.
Hydro Lettuce varieties are in steady supply from Caboolture. Whip up a crispy salad and dress with a good olive oil and vinegar, to enjoy as a side dish or light lunch. When choosing a lettuce, look for crisp, firm leaves without any sign of wilting.
Red Radishes from South Australia will spice up your salads and stir frys. They have a slightly peppery taste and a crispy, crunchy texture. Enjoy this pop of colour on your plate with a Radish Salad with Orange Dressing.
For flavour, spice and colour, don’t forget to pick up some herbs and Chilli, which are freshly picked and in steady supply from your local, independent fruit and veg shop. Choose from Rosemary, Mint, Coriander, Parsley and Lemongrass to name a few from the local Brisbane and Lockyer Valley regions, to elevate any recipe this week!