Ever wondered why us kiwis love our fruit?
Well, we have ideal growing conditions! New Zealand is lucky enough to be a country with a relatively mild climate. And some regions are positively subtropical. This has the handy side effect of producing a delicious array of fruit throughout the year.
From plump strawberries and crisp watermelon in summer to juicy citrus and tart feijoas in winter, we are spoiled for choice no matter what the season.
Eating seasonally is good for the environment, your health, and your bank balance - not to mention a treat for your tastebuds!
However, with supermarkets packed full of imported fruit year-round, it can be tricky to know which of your favourite fruits are actually in season in this corner of the world.
So, let’s take a look at when your favourite fruits are in season and when they naturally ripen. That way, you can take advantage of New Zealand’s natural bounty by eating seasonally.
Ripening In A Nutshell
We all know that ripe fruit is generally soft, sweet and juicy. Most are not so pleasant to eat before they are ready. But have you ever given thought to the ripening process itself?
Fruit exists to be eaten! This is how the plant ensures future generations are spread far and wide via seeds passing through those that consume it. In order to be attractive to birds, and animals (including us!), fruit needs to look, smell and taste delicious.
Using nutrients and water from the plant, fruits grow their flesh and seeds. When the seeds are ready for dispersal, starch breaks down, and simple sugars increase. The flesh becomes softer, and there is less bitter acid inside. Chlorophyll (the green pigment) breaks down, and the fruit often changes hue.
Some plants ripen only on the tree (known as non-climacteric fruits), and others can ripen once removed from the plant (climacteric).
Why Should We Eat Seasonally?
Fruits that have been allowed to ripen naturally in their ideal climate taste far better than those that have been picked early, stored, transported, and artificially ripened.
On top of this, the nutritional content peaks at harvest time. Choosing to eat freshly harvested fruits will give you optimal nutrition while pleasing your taste buds.
Apart from the health benefits, buying in season fruit means you are supporting local farmers. As a nation, there is nothing we like better than kiwis supporting kiwis!
Then there is the cost factor. Have you ever tried to buy a punnet of strawberries or an avocado outside of peak season and nearly had to mortgage your house? Buying local, in season fruit is much more affordable than paying for imported produce.
So, how do you know when is the right time to buy each kind of fruit?
Knowing When Your Favourite Fruits Are In Season:
Summer - December to February
Summer is full of juicy sweetness. It is prime avocado time, and a great season to find plump, red tomatoes. All berry varieties are plentiful, along with stone fruit like apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines. You will be able to find ripe melons of all kinds, and some good old grapefruit, lemons and oranges to boot.
Autumn - March to May
Avocados are still around, yay! It is also feijoa season. Plus, you will still be able to find plenty of delicious stone fruit and melon, then add in limes, mandarins and pears.
Winter - June to August
Some avocado varieties are still in action. Citrus is in abundance - lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges - and you can enjoy some beautiful passionfruit, persimmons and tamarillos.
Spring - September to November
Navel oranges are great during these months. Hass avocados are ready for harvest. Tomatoes are looking good, as are both gold and green kiwifruit. You will even start seeing fresh strawberries popping up in some places.
Regardless of the season, we always have some amazing produce here at Twisted Citrus. Check out the store now to see what is ripe and ready to be delivered to your door!