By Teage Ezard
In Australia, we are blessed with the ability to grow amazing quality tropical fruits, synonymous with south-east Asia, Africa and South America. With summer ever so quickly approaching and sunshine in abundance, these delights will soon be at our disposal.
With farms spanning from the Northern Territory, across the east, to far north Queensland and down to northern New South Wales tropical fruits including mangoes, lychees, longan, papaya and pineapples become readily available and are of premium quality due to the dry tropical to temperate climates within these areas.
When the rich aroma of ripe mangoes fills my kitchen I am always reminded that summer is here; all of the good things that come with it, sun, holidays, good times shared with friends and the great Australian barbecue.
When attempting to choose the prefect mango, look for colour, turning from green to a bright orange or rosy red. Its skin should have a little give – firm not soft, as this is a sign of an overripe product. Its scent should be sweet and fragrant.
When purchasing mangoes, remember they are best eaten at the peak of their ripeness. Select the fruit by hand and always purchase in small quantities for optimum freshness, aroma and flavour.
If you plan on keeping it for a few days then best to pick a slightly firmer mango and store out of the refrigerator between 18-20 degrees.
Lychees are another favourite of mine, with their tangy, juicy, sweet jelly-like flesh. Native to southern China, they were introduced to Australia during the gold rush periods and the Chinese consider them to be a symbol of romance or as a sign of good luck for the coming New Year.
Always look for locally grown lychees rather than imported products.
The Queen Victoria Market at this time of the year is full of many market stalls offering tropical fruit now in season, you may like to ring Chris from Fresh Generation on 0438 223 007 stall location I63-66 or Duy Dinh on 0413 529 541 located at I67-70. Lastly, Ben Vitalone at stall H1 -2 can be contacted on 0425 708 905.