Guavas, Leaf Lemons, Sanguina Oranges & Fennel
The Brazilian Guavas I recently encountered were a little on the green side, but should soon ripen to become golden and aromatic and ideal for adding a sweet, lemony fragrance to fruit salads and other desserts. Whilst its flesh possesses a flavour that’s been likened to a combination of pear and strawberry, the high levels of pectin in its skin means that Guava can also be boiled and used to make marmalades jams, candies, preserves, and jellies, Guava juice is popular in Mexico, Colombia, Egypt and South Africa. In Asia, both the fruit and leaves are used to make a type of tea. Red Guava is sometimes used as a substitute for tomatoes in savoury dishes and sauces. Guava is rich in dietary fibre and low in calories, and contains 228mg of vitamin C per 100g serving - which is more than three times the minimum recommended daily intake.
The availability of Sicilian Blood Oranges has become rather tight recently, which is doubtless a strong indicator that their time is limited. Furthermore, what there are available are, quite frankly, not that good. But worry not, dear reader, because Sanguina Oranges appear to be doing just fine – better than fine, in fact, because this year’s crop has been very, very impressive. What this means is that if you order Blood Oranges they’ll henceforth be substituted with Sanguinas, with the likelihood being that neither you nor your diners will ever know the difference – at least not in any way that could be considered detrimental to the Sanguinas.
Much has been spoken of late regarding the rather scarred and scruffy appearance of Spanish Lemons. The fruit itself is fine, but outwardly they leave a lot to be desired. This may not be much of an issue in the vast majority of cases in which you are required to use them, but the odd occasion might arise whereby what they look like on the outside may be of crucial significance. Under these circumstances it might be worth considering Spanish Leaf Lemons, which are, quite simply, magnificent in all departments.
Fennel has always been a steady seller, but I must say that during the past couple of weeks it’s been flying out of our warehouse like nobody’s business. It occurred to me that white-coated scientists in a remote mountainside laboratory in the Swiss Alps might have recently discovered that fennel possessed some extraordinarily beneficial qualities which had hitherto remained obscure - the news of which had become known to our customers, but had somehow eluded me. If this was the case, all the chefs I probed on the subject weren’t giving anything away; furthermore, the inter-web failed to yield anything that might have shed any light on its sudden surge in popularity. What I did uncover, is that a single fennel bulb, the average weight of which might be roughly 230g, contains a mere 73 calories, just 0.47 grams of fat, a healthy 2.9g of protein, a substantial 17g of carbohydrates, a hefty 7.3g of dietary fibre and absolutely no cholesterol whatsoever.
English Sea Kale has just arrived in season, however, as with all sea vegetables, we strongly advise that you pre-order them at least an extra day in advance of when you’re actually need them. We don’t keep any in stock and so we can’t guarantee they’ll be available at short notice. Anyway, back to the subject I began with, namely Sea Kale, which is a flowering, salt-water brassica whose succulent stems possess a flavour that’s very much like a cross between asparagus and celery, and whose edible flowering florets are not dissimilar in taste to that of sprouting broccoli. The leaves, too, are edible and if tender enough can be used as a salad green or steamed or wilted very much like spinach, or, if slightly hardier, can be cooked like spring greens.
Fruit of the Week
Ongoing Alert: The effects of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in China has led to a 50% reduction in volume of Garlic and Ginger supplies into Europe.
The recent increases in reported Coronavirus cases in northern Italy may mean a reduction in available transport as a result of whole communities being put under lockdown. We have, though, been assured by our suppliers that the Italian crops we buy are sourced only from southern Italy.
With regard Spanish Produce, we are still experiencing shortages of Capsicums, Cucumbers, Iceberg, Gem and Cos Lettuces.
Ongoing Alert: The situation regarding English Potato crops unfortunately appear to have seen no improvement. Consequently, they are continuing to suffer the affects brought about by water-logged fields and reduced harvesting resulting from the record-breaking levels of rainfall over the last couple of months.
It’s around this time of year that Heritage Tomatoes of all denominations, shapes, sizes and colours start to get scarce and suffer a decline in quality, as well as becoming very expensive as a consequence.
Ongoing Alert: The price of Bramley Apples remains high.
Ongoing Alert: Curly Kale remains very scarce with growers continuing to limit the capacities of what they’re prepared to supply. Moreover, it remains the case that when April arrives there may be nothing coming through at all.
Ongoing Alert: Spanish Lemons remain scruffy looking and a bit scarred, but the fruit inside should still be good.
Ongoing Alert: The quality and availability of both Peaches and Nectarines remains unpredictable.
Ongoing Alert: The availability of White Grapes remains tight and their quality and sweetness variable.
Ongoing Alert: Colder weather in the UK has meant that Bananas are taking longer to ripen once they arrive here.
Ongoing Alert: Plum Tomatoes and Plum Vine Tomatoes are still experiencing market shortages.
Ongoing Alert: Onions are still in short supply, of variable quality and expensive.
Ongoing Alert: Celery is still tight at present.
Ongoing Alert: Orange Cauliflower is still scarce.