How to save money on groceries: the best fresh produce in Australia in May | Food

When inflation reaches 5.1%, shopping for the most affordable and high-quality food is high on the agenda.

The colder months also mean that it is important to get maximum nutrition for your dollar, to counteract winter colds and flu.

But what is good and what is not? And what should you do while watching it, as production shortages caused by labor shortages and adverse weather events continue to affect large supermarkets?

“All green leafy vegetables are starting to come into season,” said Joe Mirabella, a raw material purchaser at Boccaccio’s independent grocery store in Balwyn, Melbourne.

“Imagine high-vitamin vegetables like silver beets … for about $ 3.99 for a decent-sized bunch.”

Choice of the month: Brussels sprouts

A bowl of brussels sprouts with fried spec.
Brussels sprouts taste best when combined with other strong flavors, such as bacon or pancetta. Photo: Manny Rodriguez / Getty Images / Tetra images RF

A treat for those who like the taste of their vegetables – the local season for Brussels sprouts has just begun, says Alan Li, from Fruits on Coventry in the South Melbourne market.

In markets, the price of a pound is about $ 4 and comes down, but in supermarkets the cost can be much higher.

Producer Scott Samwell, from Eastbrook Farms in Mount Barker, South Australia, says a wet spring and early summer followed by a dry Christmas and New Year have affected yields, but all types of Brussels sprouts, including turnips – a cross between red kale and Brussels sprouts – eat well now.

“Some, like the red Brussels sprouts, are sweeter than others with a more classic, peppery taste,” he says.

Although it is easy to add silver beets or spinach, wilted with a little olive oil or butter, to most meals, or turn them into something special like mushroom and silver beet lasagne or spanakopita, Brussels sprouts can seem a little more challenging.

Chef Justin James, owner of Adelaide’s award-winning restaurant Botanic, says that Brussels sprouts taste best in combination with other strong flavors. Mash them with bacon or pancetta, he suggests. “Or roast them and toss them in olive oil and a lot of lemon juice.”

“Sherry vinegar in combination with Brussels sprouts is also very good. You can marinate them in it and add a little at the end. ”

Vegetables to cook now: potatoes, slaw and mushrooms

With root vegetables coming into season, potatoes are a fantastic buy, says Georgina Dragwidge at Georgie’s Harvest. “My choice is Pontiacs, for about $ 5.50 per pound.”

James says: “I love a good potato salad, winter or summer, because it goes very well with many dishes.

“You can also add lots of nutritious vegetables to spice it up.”

After boiling the potatoes in salted water, place them in the fridge to cool and dry. “A waterlogged potato is the enemy of a good potato salad.”

James adds Kewpie mayonnaise, even if the creamy mayonnaise is good, olive oil, lemon juice and finely chopped celery and apples.

A creamy potato salad with finely chopped celery, apple and chives.
With potatoes, apple and celery in season, it’s the perfect time for a classic potato salad. Photo: DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images

Celery is down to about $ 4 per bunch and it’s apple season. Mirabella says: “With the cooler weather, apples straight from the tree are crunchy, sweet and sour.” Expect to pay around $ 5.99 per kilo for a popular variety like Kanzis in markets and around 70c for an apple in supermarkets.

Mushrooms are now in season with loose copper from $ 11.50 per kilo and Portobello $ 14.50 per kilo. They are delicious in tubes and casseroles, or fried with butter and garlic.

For those who love a little gourmet food, now is the chance to take wild-fed pine mushrooms and slippery jackets, about $ 40 per kilo, at farmers markets. “They are only once a season and they are absolutely delicious,” says Dragwidge.

“They have already started appearing on many chefs, chefs’ websites and will be found in most states except Queensland, which may not have the right weather.”

James suggests grilling them with very dry heat to get rid of some of the slippery moisture. “They are not for everyone,” he says.

Celery on the other hand, for about $ 5 per bunch, can be a crowd-pleaser, especially when you shred it with carrots and apple for a coleslaw and add a dressing of apple cider vinegar, mustard, oil, salt and maple syrup. “Add a handful of chopped chives and parsley to season,” says James.

Other good fillers for vegetable boxes: sweet potatoes, for about $ 4.50 per pound, zucchinis, about $ 4 to $ 5 per pound, and cauliflower from $ 4.50 for a whole head.

The fruit of the season

A sliced ​​pineapple on a wooden serving platter.
Pineapple is “as good as it gets” at the moment. Photo: Riou / Getty Images

“Grapes, especially Black Sapphire, are really fresh, firm and juicy right now,” says Dragwidge. Expect to pay from $ 5 to $ 13 for finer varieties.

New season tangerines from Queensland are sweet and a good size, for about $ 3.99 per kilo, says Li.

Navel oranges are down to about $ 1 each, but pears are cheaper because autumn is high season. Varieties such as William Bartlett, Beurré Bosc and Josephine cost about $ 3.50 per kilogram.

Despite the floods in Queensland, the current eating quality of pineapple is fantastic, says Gavin Scurr from Pinata Farms in the Sunshine Coast. “It’s just fine with great flavor and nice, big pineapple for $ 3 to $ 4.” For a special dessert, James suggests slicing them thinly and adding mascarpone cheese flavored with a little honey and lemon juice before rolling them up like a canoli.

Buy it

Brussels sprouts
Silver beets
Spinach
Mushrooms
Potatoes
Celery
Celeriac
Cauliflower
Pear
Mandarins
Grapes
Pineapple

Skip it

Green beans: expensive for 17 dollars per kilo for hand-picked string, says Li. While machine-picked only costs $ 7 or $ 8, the quality and longevity of the refrigerator are poor.
Peas: at record prices of up to $ 25 per kilo for fresh due to damage early in the season and extreme heat in late January.
Blueberry: Low season and expensive.

All prices are estimates based on information from suppliers and can vary depending on where you live and shop.

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