You can tell it’s winter in South Africa when you see basket-loads of gorgeous clementines and grapefruits filling the aisles.
Although our supermarkets do a good job of ensuring an all-year-round supply of fresh foods, the produce isn’t always at its finest for consumption.
Seasonality has a major influence on taste, which is why we should make the most of what’s in season.
Luckily for us, South Africa has a variety of climatic conditions and three divergent rainfall regions. This means we always have a wide variety of fresh, seasonal produce.
Here, we give you a breakdown of the star products to eat and incorporate into your cooking in winter. We’ve even included some recipes to inspire you and get you eating the seasons… As you should!
Grapefruits – Besides being low in calories and high in nutrients, grapefruits are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. We highly recommend eating half a grapefruit every day for glowing skin or using it in this recipe for deliciously tangy satsuma and grapefruit marmalade. Simply divine on toast!
Naartjies – You’ll know it by the lingering citrus smell it leaves on your hands once it’s been peeled. The naartjie (as it’s called in Afrikaans) is a seedless and easy-peeling fruit, also known as a mandarin, satsuma or tangerine.
Besides being a good reason to get excited about winter, it’s also an excellent flavour in cakes and bakes. Try it in this fresh and zesty naartjie and cardamom cake recipe.
Oranges – This is one of my favourite features of winter. Is there anything more divine than the flavour combination of chocolate and orange?
It’ll keep you cosy through the colder months and bring a little excitement as the days begin to shorten. Best of all, oranges work well with sweet or savoury dishes. Try our grilled chicken with hazelnuts, lentils and orange.
Apples – Apples are available all year but we felt compelled to include them here because there’s something remarkably comforting about the union of apple and cinnamon.
Whether it’s with a sugary crumble, or paired with pork for dinner, apple is a healthy fruit that simply can’t be beat. Try our roasted pork loin with baked apple and onion chutney for a feast that’s sure to impress.
Avocados – Is there anything avocado can’t do? Avo on toast, avo in salad, avo in pasta… There’s simply no end to the wonder of this healthy fat! To celebrate one of our favourite ingredients, we’ve included this delicious recipe for grilled salmon with avocado, cucumber and dill.
Kumquats – These oval-shaped oranges are the smallest members of the citrus family, about the size of a quail’s egg and with super-thin skin.
Though they are delicious when eaten whole (skin and all!), they also work well for syrups, marmalades, or when pickled with vinegar. Kumquats are tiny powerhouses of nutrients; helping to aid digestion, lower cholesterol and even strengthen bone.
Guavas – Besides being hailed as a stress buster and immunity booster, the humble guava is a popular fruit in many countries.
It is used most often in juices and as an ingredient in punch, but it is just as popular eaten raw. Due to the high level of pectin in its skin; it can be used to make jams and preserves.
Asparagus – There are so many ways to cook with asparagus! Boiled, grilled, steamed or roasted; asparagus is a healthy and delicious vegetable and should definitely be one of your five a day! Try it as a starter, wrapped in Prosciutto or paired with cheese in this super-simple tart!
Parsnips – A root vegetable similar to a carrot, the parsnip can be eaten raw or cooked. Thanks to its slightly sweet flavour, it makes a delicious side dish.
Butternut – Butternut squash is one of those wonderful vegetables that have a million applications. We South Africans are rather fond of our butternut soup in winter but we’ve also seen this veg beingused as banting-friendly pasta which is delicious and filling! Try our carb-free butternut spaghetti with mushrooms and garlic.
Cabbage – Along with kale and broccoli, cabbage is an extremely nutritious veg. It’s filled with fibre and vitamins and there are at least 7 varieties in the world.
Whether it’s steamed and served with butter or chopped up and served in coleslaw, there are hundreds of ways to eat and enjoy this leafy green.
Leeks – Leeks are a member of the onion family along with shallots, garlic, and chives. Venture away from the age-old leek and potato soup recipe and try something more adventurous, such as leeks stuffed with blue cheese or a tomato, leek and spinach quiche. These mushroom, leek and crumb-topped tartlets will make a great starter.
- By lifestyle editor, Claire Badenhorst