The first of this year’s harvest of apples and pears is now available in-store, signalling the launch of the new season of Western Australia’s favourite fruit. In WA the apple and pear harvest occurs from February to June, starting with the first picked varieties – Galaxy apples and Red Sensation and Bartlett pears – so let’s get crunching.
Apples and pears are extremely nutritious and should be an important food in our eating regime. Apples are rich in antioxidants and the soluble fibre pectin, which are both known for their heart protective capabilities. Dietary fibre aids in reducing the risk of some cancers and helps to control blood sugar levels, which is important for diabetics. Interestingly, pears are one of only two foods that are non-allergenic, making them ideal for introducing solids to babies and for people on elimination diets.
To increase your consumption of fresh fruit, simply add to your daily breakfast cereal, use as a garnish on your salad or eat an apple or pear as an in-between meal snack – you can spice things up by trying a different variety each day.
Whilst the weather is warm, it’s recommended to store apples and pears in the fridge to ensure they keep that freshly picked crunch.
Fresh is best with WA apples and pears, yet they are just as delicious cooked in savoury and sweet dishes. Generally, the sweeter the fruit, the better it will perform in a cooked recipe. Grab an apple and pear today and enjoy the recipes below: Brought to you by Fresh Finesse
Fresh Food Promotions – www.freshf.com.au
Coconut baked galaxy apple wedges
- 4 Galaxy apples peeled, quartered and cored
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 3 tablespoon macadamia nuts finely chopped
- ¾ cup shredded coconut
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Toss the apple quarters in the lemon juice. Combine the lemon zest, chopped macadamia nuts and coconut in a bowl.
- Combine the egg and sugar in another bowl and dip the apple quarters into the mixture.
- Allow the excess egg to drip off, then roll the apple quarters in the coconut mixture.
- Place on baking tray and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the apples are cooked and golden.
Apple ricotta pikelets
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Royal Gala apples
- ½ cup white flour
- ¼ cup wholemeal flour
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped pecans
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Sprinkle of nutmeg
- 4 eggs separated
- Natural yoghurt and fresh fruit to serve
- Combine all ingredients together except egg whites. Mix until well combined.
- Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. To make pikelets, brush the base of a pan with oil.
- Spoon about two tablespoons of batter into pan to make individual-sized servings.
- Allow to cook until golden on both sides. Continue until all the batter has been used. Serve warm with natural yogurt and fresh fruit.
Pear, avocado and rocket open sandwiches
- 2 slices sour dough bread
- ½ ripe avocados
- 1 ripe Bartlett pears quartered, cored and sliced
- ½ cup baby rocket leaves washed
- 25 g shaved parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Lightly toast the sour dough bread if desired. Roughly mash avocado onto each slice and season with a pinch of salt.
- Top with slices of pear, rocket leaves and shaved parmesan. Grind over black pepper and serve with lemon wedges.
What’s fresh in the markets this month
Prepared by Fresh Finesse Food Promotions
Sweetcorn: Nothing beats piping hot sweetcorn eaten straight from the cob, and thankfully luscious juicy cobs are now plentiful. Use as soon as possible after purchase and cook for a short time only. Steaming for about seven minutes allows corn to maintain all its lovely succulence and flavour. Sweet corn works well on the barbecue, either whole wrapped in foil or back in its original husk, or in chunky slices threaded on skewers and brushed with good olive oil. Sweet corn is wonderful with crab or prawns and works particularly well with butter, garlic and cumin.
Royal Gala apples: For the lovers of freshly harvested fruit, the new season Royal Gala is a welcome arrival on the fruit scene. They are as sweet, crisp and juicy as you would expect from a freshly picked apple, with a beautiful peach coloured skin with red stripes over a pale cream background. Choose carefully, keep your purchases in the fridge until you are ready to eat them and you’ll be rewarded with a perfect eating experience. Gala apples make wonderfully moist cakes and muffins and are fantastic in a hearty crumble.
Bartlett pears: Another lovely new-seasoner, Bartlett pears are a light green to yellow pear, or red-green in the case of ‘Red Sensation’ Bartlett’s. They’re medium sized and are sweet and aromatic with the Red Sensation being slightly tarter. These pears are a good all-rounder being suitable for both cooking and eating fresh. To test for ripeness, the flesh near the stem should give when gently pressed. It’s often best to buy them quite firm and let them ripen at room temperature for a couple of days, however remember that pears ripen from the inside out, so don’t leave them too long. Pears and a strong cheese such as a blue or a goat’s cheese are a gorgeous combination.
Cucumbers: Indeed, a very ‘cool’ addition to salads and dips. Picking up a cucumber to feel its weight gives a good indication of freshness; they should feel heavy and have firm, bright-looking skin. Lebanese and burpless (continental) cucumbers are very similar in texture and flavour but they differ in size, the Lebanese being the smaller of the two. One of the most commonly asked questions about cucumbers is whether to peel and de-seed? The best way to decide this is to slice a small round off the cucumber. If the skin is tough and the seeds are large and bitter, it’s best to peel and deseed it. A fantastic way to eat cucumbers is in a home-made Tzatsiki, a Greek yoghurt-based dip. Simply peel and seed one cucumber and combine with natural yoghurt and minced garlic to taste.