New season apples and pears are now available in-store. In WA the apple and pear harvest starts from February – so much earlier than many people think.
This year, Western Australian apple growers have already headed into the orchard with their picking apparel and the first of the Gala apples and Bartlett pears are being plucked from trees.
Three years ago, the local apple industry launched an intensive apple quality testing program. So that means that when you choose to buy a WA apple it will be a great apple – even these super early pickings.
WA growers will be making sure that their apples will be hitting retail in peak eating condition. The testing program has commenced with Gala apples now in season and in-store. Other traditional favourite varieties Granny Smith and Pink Lady will follow.
WA apple eaters can look forward to great tasting fruit and, in-turn, make a significant contribution to the future of the local industry by taking the time to choose WA grown apples. Display signs and fruit stickers should assist to identify and promote fruit origin in stores and if you are not sure, ask your friendly retailer.
Pomewest’s executive manager, Nardia Stacy said that the WA apple industry has an ongoing commitment to consistently delivering great apples to customers.
“With the ability to bring the whole industry together we are dedicated to provide excellence in eating quality. We aim to promote consumer confidence and increase demand for WA apples”.
Apples are extremely nutritious and should be an important food in our eating regime for good health and strong immunity. 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 in diabetes sufferers.
Interestingly, pears are one of only two food products 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. For inspiration through the local season follow along on Facebook or Instagram @waapplesandpears
While the weather is still 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 today and enjoy the recipes below:
Brought to you by Fresh Finesse Fresh Food Promotions – www.freshf.com.au
Rice salad with apple and nuts
- 4 tablespoon currants
- ⅓ cup whole almonds
- 4 cups brown rice cooked
- 6 spring onions finely sliced
- 1 Bartlett pear cored and diced (leave skin on)
- 1 Gala apple cored and diced (leave skin on)
- 2 sticks celery sliced
- 3 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch of sugar salt and black pepper
- Heat the oven to 180°C and place the almonds on a baking tray. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until fragrant, then roughly chop.
- In a large bowl, combine the rice, spring onion, currants, apple, pear and celery.
- Stir through the chopped almonds. Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, sugar, salt and pepper and toss through the salad along with the parsley. Serve.
Pear and peanut bites
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 fresh pear thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon jam
- 2 slices wholemeal bread
- Use biscuit cutters to cut bread into fun shapes such as flowers, stars and hearts.
- Spread with a thin layer of peanut butter, follow with a layer of artfully arranged pear slices and top with a drizzle of your favourite jam.
- You may need to thin the jam by warming or adding a drop of warm water to give it a drizzling consistency.
What’s fresh in the produce markets
Swiss brown mushrooms: The velvety chestnut colour of Swiss Brown is irresistible and with plenty of flavour they are just right for popping into summer salads, rice pilafs and pasta dishes. These nutty brown mushrooms work well with Asian flavours such as chilli, ginger and coriander; try stir-frying with these plus a dollop of hoisin sauce and serving with honey glazed pork and steamed greens. If you’ve never tried them, now is the time to get inspired. A super easy addition to your next barbecue.
Amber jewel plums: A lovely large, red heart-shaped fruit that was developed here in WA. The rich gold-coloured flesh is sweet and juicy even when the fruit is firm. Buy plums with plenty of colour, a somewhat dull skin and just a little softness. Ripe plums lose their sheen, so the best guide to plum ripeness is to look for plums with an all-over dull colour. For great tasting plums, correct storage and handling are important. If your plums seem a little firm, they may be left for a few days at room temperature to soften. Store ripe plums in the refrigerator. Plums are ideal for juice, syrups, jams, chutneys and make fantastic fillings for pies, tarts and cakes.
Celery: Select celery with fresh looking leaves and tightly formed stalks. Use finely sliced celery to add crunch and flavour contrast to salads, especially an Asian-influenced brown rice version drizzled with sesame oil and a dash of rice wine vinegar. Sliced portions are the perfect New Year detox substitute for a cracker to dip into hummus and tzatziki.
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 and an exterior of 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-season gem, Bartlett pears are a light green to yellow pear, or a 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.
Nectarines: Plentiful supplies of these summer favourites are now arriving in store and the prices are very affordable. Luscious yellow fresh varieties are sweet and juicy eating – perfect for snacking, freshly sliced on your morning cereal or as fruity sorbet, you really only need to puree and freeze. Pile them high in the fruit bowl and they will disappear as if by magic.