DELICIOUS: Tasty fruit and vegetables
DELICIOUS: Tasty fruit and vegetables David Nielsen

Fruit firming up as mercury drops

THE cooler months are the best time for choice quality vegetables and salad offerings.

There are ample supplies and these are keeping prices reasonable, however some fruits have firmed up in price.

Winter is a great time to cook up warming meals with Asian vegetables, beans, beetroot, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, carrot, celery, silverbeet, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin at affordable prices.

Quality snow peas and sweet corn have reduced to reasonable prices.

There are two prices for eggplant with the glossy, glamour ones selling at much firmer prices.

The vegetable was once known as "poor man's meat" but it is fast becoming a kitchen champion for its nutrition and the way it absorbs the flavours that it's cooked with.

Expect to pay very firm prices for Peruvian asparagus and Australian fennel, leeks, parsnips and mushrooms.

Squash might be harder to find with reduced volumes from the growing regions.

Egg tomatoes are tipped to be among the best eating this week with all tomato categories greatly reduced in price on previous weeks.

Team them with value-for-money lettuce, mixed leaf salad, cucumber, eshallots and most herbs, with basil now in shorter supply.

The warmer Queensland winter has resulted in a big harvest of pineapples, reducing their prices.

This winter has resulted in a mixed bag of quality, with the smaller ones definitely the best eating right now.

Other fruit bargains include strawberries, hickson mandarins, mixed quality red grapes, kiwifruit, passionfruit and pawpaw.

Expect to pay firm prices for quality apples, raspberries, blueberries, lemons, limes, all melons and very good quality pears.

There are a variety of oranges to choose from.

You can try out the oranges that include the juicy, easy-to-peel seedless navels or perhaps plump for the red coloured, sweet cara cara navel and the crimson, almost blood-coloured flesh of the blood orange that has a raspberry-like taste mixed with its moreish citrus flavour.

Bananas and figs are expensive as are Mexican mangoes and US-grown white grapes, cherries and all stonefruit.

For something more exotic, why not give rambutans a go or the carambola (star fruit), custard apples, black sapote (chocolate pudding fruit), kumquats, dragon fruit, chestnuts and New Zealand persimmons while they are in season.

Arrive early at the market for the best quality.

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