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In season early autumn: Quince, lemongrass, frisée

Quince

Quince trees grow well in New Zealand, and the large, yellow fruit is plentiful in March and April. The fruit cannot be eaten raw. Instead it is commonly poached or made into a paste, chutney or jelly.

Quinces are even higher in fibre than their apple and pear cousins – just 1/2 cup stewed quince contains nearly 7g fibre. As with most fruit and vegetables, it’s a good idea to eat the peel: laboratory research has shown compounds in quince, especially in the peel, are antimicrobial.

Did you know?

When slow cooked, the fruit turns a pink blush.

Growing tip

The fruit is so heavy that if you have a young tree, it’s best to remove the fruit for the first couple of years so the branches have time to become strong.

Frisée

Frisée, also known as curly endive, is a type of leafy vegetable that adds texture and a slightly bitter flavour to summer salads.

Very low in energy, one cup of leaves adds just 36kJ but is an excellent source of vitamin A, providing more than 20 per cent of the daily suggested dietary target (which is higher than the RDI). This means it’s great for eye health and immunity. One cup of frisée also gives us 18 per cent of the RDI for folate, another nutrient vital for a healthy immune system.

Frisée is easy to grow in Kiwi gardens. Either pick the fine leaves as you need them, or wait for the whole head to mature, then harvest as you would an iceberg lettuce.

Recipe ideas

Summer salad with goat’s cheese croutons

Lemongrass

Native to Asia, lemongrass is a fragrant herb often used in curries, soups or teas. Like the name suggests, lemongrass adds a lemony flavour.

Lemongrass is easy to grow. Plant in full sun with plenty of drainage and moisture. A warm, humid location, such as the top of the North Island, is best. To avoid damage from winter frosts, it’s best to plant in containers and move indoors during a cold winter. Harvest in summer and autumn.

Did you know?

  • The lower firm parts of the lemongrass plant freeze well for later use
  • Lemongrass makes a delicious base for an Asian curry paste.

Recipe ideas

Rainbow Thai noodles with pad Thai sauce
Lemongrass beef
Spicy pork and quinoa lettuce cups

Fresh this month

(Harvested in New Zealand gardens in March)

Vegetables: Avocados, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage (green), capsicums, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chilli, courgettes, cucumbers, eggplants, fennel, kumara, leek, lettuce, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, runner beans, shallots, spinach, spring onions, squash, swedes, sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnip

Herbs: Basil, chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme

Fruit: Apples, grapes, kiwifruit, lemons, limes, oranges, passion fruit, pear

First published: Mar 2018



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