Springing Into Spring’s Fruit And Vegetables

Welcome to spring and all the delicious possibilities of the new season’s fruit and vegetable harvests!

In the truest sense, spring in Australia starts on or around September 21 which is the spring equinox, the day when the southern hemisphere receives more sun than the northern hemisphere. This is the astronomical start to spring. However, we tend to use the first day of the September simply for  ease of record keeping more than anything else. This is known as meteorological spring.

It’s interesting that some cultures, especially those in South Asia, divide the year into six seasons and, just to be different, Ireland has a tradition of beginning spring on February 1 when they celebrate St Brigid’s Day.

The three transition months of September, October and November reflect the lag in heating and cooling as the sun appears to move southward and northward across the equator.

Our grain growers are getting ready for a record $14 billion harvest this spring, as rain across most of southern Australia has raised crop yields as well as the confidence of farmers, according to The Australian. They say many farmers have also expanded into growing canola, beans, peas, lupins and lentils.

For vegetables, spring is a veritable boom time with lots of varieties in season. These include artichokes, Asian greens, beans, choko, shallots, silverbeet and witlof. Come into Yuen’s and check out the range. Our helpful staff are always ready to answer your questions.

For a flavour boost with few calories, try the radish. These root vegetables are mild to sharp in flavour across the varieties and one cup of sliced red radishes gives 30% of the daily vitamin C requirement in less than 25 calories. The radish is great in soups and cooked dishes, and the green tops are also edible, with a peppery taste in salads.

In fruit, there’s the zing of grapefruit, lemons and navel oranges to especially enjoy.

Classic lemon tart as shown in this recipe can be an epic to make – worth it for the enthusiast but a bit of a long haul if you happen to be busy. However, if you want the zing of lemon in a dessert you can ‘cheat’ your way to a lemon meringue pie that is not complicated to make.

There are, of course, certain traditions surrounding spring, spring cleaning being one of them. Some researchers believe spring cleaning is related to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the springtime memorial feast of Passover.

In the UK, they actually have a National Spring Cleaning Week. It encourages people to clean and rid their homes of allergy irritating dust and microscopic moulds after the damp northern winter. However,  the organisers openly admit they’re actually a group of advertising and PR agencies promoting their clients services and products!

Nonetheless, they make a good point that a spring cleaned home is not only healthier physically but also a calmer, more psychologically refreshing place to be.

There are many ways to use a lemon in the kitchen and cooking is only one of them. You can use a lemon to clean the microwave and wooden cutting boards, remove stains from countertops, polish copper, freshen up an ‘insinkerator’, deodorise Tupperware and clean your blender.

You can deodorise your dishwasher with lemon juice instead of expensive specialist dishwasher cleaning products. Just sit one cup of lemon juice in a coffee cup or other dishwasher safe container on the bottom rack of the dishwasher and run the rinse cycle.

In the laundry, you can use a cup of lemon juice instead of chlorine bleach and it does an even better job of whitening as well as leaving a refreshing natural scent on your clothing. In the bathroom you can clean shower doors and shine chrome taps with lemon juice.

The obvious advantages here are using a cheap, easy to get natural cleaning product that doesn’t have the dangers of chemical cleaners.

Sounds like it’s time to arm yourself with a lemon and spring in action!