Fruit Guide


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Quince

 

Botanical Name:

 

Cydonia oblonga (Rosaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Botanically a pome, closely related to the apple and pear
  • Generally pear shaped and hard
  • Yellow skin, tinged with green, covered with a fine down
  • Golden yellow flesh is also hard and acid

The quince is a deciduous tree that grows to a height of approximately 4m. The leaves are round to oval with a woolly undersurface. The pink and white flowers are followed by yellow fruit.

 

Choose well shaped, plump, hard and evenly coloured yellow fruit with a slight green tinge. Green fruit should be ripened at room temperature. Although they seem to have a hard skin, quince bruises easily, and therefore should be handled carefully.

 

Though too acid and astringent to be eaten raw, the fruit has an aromatic flavour which gives a delicious taste to apples or pears cooked with it. Almost any apple and many pear recipes can be used for quinces, but because of its tartness it is usually used in combination with one of these lines. When cooked, the colour of the quince changes to a dull pink or dusky rose. Quince jam is an all time favourite.

 

The quince prefers a temperate climate and needs a soil which retains moisture well in order to produce fruit of good quality. Quinces are often planted in deep, rich acidic soils. The tree needs some winter chilling for good fruit production, but late frosts in spring can damage the flowers and so reduce the crop.

 

Large, solitary flowers are borne at the end of short shoots formed in spring. The flowers are practically self-fertile so only one variety need be grown. Fruit production is better if the trees are cross-pollinated, but a single tree will usually crop satisfactorily. Quinces can be propagated from hardwood cuttings taken in winter, but the plants usually have a strong suckering habit. Alternatively, selected varieties can be budded or grafted onto seedling quince root-stocks that do not sucker.

 

Quince trees are best planted in winter. Fruit is usually produced by the fifth year.

 

Quinces with their rather delicate skin are subject to wind damage because the fine large fruit hangs on the outside of the tree on weak branches.

 

The quince is believed to have originated in Asia. It was a symbol of love, happiness and fertility to the Greeks who used the large golden fruit in marriage ceremonies. It is botanically a pome and is closely related to the apple and pear.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Granite Belt

NSW - Bathurst

VIC - Goulburn Valley, Melbourne Metropolitan Area

SA - Adelaide Hill

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Quinces are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, and potassium and are low in kilojoules.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Ripen at room temperature and store in the refrigerator until required.

 

 


Raspberry

 

Botanical Name:

 

Rubus idaeus (Rosaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • A deep red coloured berry
  • A cluster of 75-125 duplets held together by a network of fine, interlacing hairs
  • Raspberries are a hollow fruit (no core) when harvested

Raspberry plants are perennial, with roots living for many years. The cane or stem, however, lives for only 2 years. The cane grows during the first season. Flowers and fruit are produced during the second season then the cane dies.

 

New canes are produced each year from underground roots or basal cane buds. Canes are upright and may reach a height of 2.5m or more. Stems may have sharp, strong thorns or spines, have scattered, weak prickles, or be essentially thornless.

 

Select plump, firm, bright red fruit. When in punnets check the underside of the punnet for squashed or aged fruit.

 

Are lovely used in a fruit compote, fresh with cheese or cream, pureed as a sauce, summer pudding or in filo pastry as a fruit pie or strudel.

 

Berry fruits prefer cool summers, a rain free harvest season and a cool winter for uniform bud break. Rain at harvest can cause soft fruit and fruit rot.

 

Berry fruits need to be grown on a trellis system, so they are easier to manage and harvest. The plants are spaced sometimes as close as 0.3m apart to develop a continuous hedge.

 

Short shoots develop on the one year old canes called primocanes. Fruit develops on these shoots. The canes die after fruiting, so they are pruned.

Most commercial raspberry varieties are of European origin. Some varieties have been developed from hybridisation with native North American varieties.

 

Russia produces 27% of world raspberry production. Other countries producing raspberries are Hungary, Yugoslavia, Germany, United Kingdom, Poland, and North America. Countries in the southern hemisphere contribute less then 2% of world production.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Applethorpe, Toowoomba

NSW - Camden, Maitland, Orange, Tumut, Windsor, Young

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area, North East

TAS - Channel, Deloraine, Huon

SA - Adelaide Hills

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Raspberries are an excellent source of dietary fibre and vitamin C. Raspberries also contain useful sources of vitamin A, B, B2, calcium, phosphorus magnesium and iron.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

The loganberry was developed in 1881 by James H. Logan (1841-1928), an American lawyer and horticulturist, in Santa Cruz, California. It is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry.

 

 


Strawberry

 

Botanical Name:

 

Fragaria x ananassa (Rosaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • A berry fruit which is a member of the rose family
  • Red/pink, very thin skin
  • White/pink/red flesh which is soft and succulent
  • Small seeds cover the outer surface of the skin
  • A green leafy cap (calyx) at the stem end
  • Sweet, delicate flavour

A herbaceous perennial (a plant which continues growth from year to year). The main stem is short and called the crown. The crown produces runners up to about 1.5m in length.

 

Fresh strawberries should be clean, bright, and have a solid red colour. The green caps of the berries should be attached and the fruit should not look white, blemished, crushed, moist or overripe.

 

Strawberries are beautiful when eaten as a fresh fruit served with cream or ice-cream. They can be incorporated into a wide range of fresh fruit and savoury salads, pancakes, cheese cakes, pavlovas, tarts and with shortbread. Wonderful as a garnish on cheese and fruit platters. Ideal for preserving in jams, conserves and sauces.

 

Winter chill is required to break dormancy. A reliable supply of water for irrigation is essential, particularly for crops grown on light textured soils which dry out quickly in the spring. Strawberry runners of high quality and free from disease are planted commercially in south-east Queensland during the first week of March and this process continues for a further 3 - 4 weeks. A large proportion of the crops are planted by mechanical means. Strawberries grow best on a sunny site.

 

A member of the Rose family. Wild strawberries have been eaten for many centuries, but it was not until the Middle Ages that they were cultivated in gardens to produce larger fruit.

 

The ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed strawberries and named them fraga, a tribute to their sweet flavour. This tradition was carried through by both the French who refer to them as fraises and the Spanish who call them fresa. It was in 1714 that a French Naval Officer found a large fruiting species in Chile while on duty there and resumed with them to France. These were cross pollinated with another species and this started the development of the modem large fruiting strawberry. The first recorded use of the name strawberry was in the writings of the English botanist, Turner in 1538. It is believed the word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word streawberige, which describes the plant as “strewn or strewn” over the ground, depicting the runners.

 

No doubt because of their popularity, strawberries both benefited and suffered from the myths about their powers. In a positive sense, they were thought to cure certain ailments such as jaundice and other liver problems, whilst some people held superstitions that the eating of strawberries could cause weak people to become seriously ill.

 

Growing Areas:

 

In Australia, strawberries are produced on a commercial scale in every state with the combined crop of Queensland and Victoria amounting for two-thirds of total national production.

 

QLD - South East

NSW - Central Tablelands, Hunter Valley

VIC - Goulburn Valley, Melbourne Metropolitan Area

TAS - Channel, Huon, North West, Tamar

SA - Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains

WA - Albany, Gin Gin, Perth, South Coast

 

Under different climatic conditions strawberries may be grown at different times of the year, thus harvest continues throughout the year with plentiful supplies from June/July through to November.

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C with 100g providing approximately twice the daily recommended allowance. They are also a good source of folic acid and dietary fibre. 85kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90 -100% relative humidity.

 

Brief storage is the rule for maintaining quality product. The susceptibility to mechanical injury allows rapid disease infection. Causes of injury include careless harvesting, over-packaging, rough transport and poor handling. Hence, due to their delicate nature, strawberries can be stored only for a very short period (up to seven days) at low temperatures. Deterioration is associated with the loss of fresh, bright colour, shrivelling, decay and loss of flavour.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Keep strawberries wrapped in plastic and refrigerated. Consume as soon as possible.

 

Interesting Facts and Myths?

 

Strawberries contain more vitamin C than oranges.

 

Strawberries are the only fruit that have seeds on the outside! There are 200 seeds on the outside of the average strawberry.

 

There is a centuries old custom that if you break a double strawberry in half and share it with someone else, they will fall in love.

 

Pregnant women once avoided strawberries because it was believed that their children would be born with strawberry birthmarks.

 

 


Tamarillo

 

Botanical Name:

 

Cyphomandra betarea (Solanaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Egg shaped but pointed at both ends
  • 5-10cm in length
  • Smooth skin may be deep purple, blood red, orange or yellow and may have dark longitudinal stripes
  • Flesh can be orange/red, orange/yellow or cream/yellow
  • Skin is tough and unpleasant in flavour, the outer layer of flesh is slightly firm, succulent and bland
  • The pulp surrounding the seeds is soft, juicy, subacid/sweet
  • The seeds are thin, circular, large and bitter The flavour of the pulp is like a combination of tomato and passionfruit.

The tamarillo is a small tree which grows to about 3-4m in height. It is half-woody, attractive, fast-growing and is shallow rooted. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, more or less heart-shaped at the base, ovate, pointed at the apex. Borne in small, loose clusters near the branch tips, the fragrant flowers have five pale pink or lavender, pointed lobes, five prominent yellow stamens and a green-purple calyx.

 

Select well shaped fruit with good colour, be it red, yellow or purple depending upon variety. The fruit should have fresh green stems and yield to gentle pressure to indicate it is ripe and ready for eating. Avoid fruit with any soft spots or bruises.

 

Enjoy fresh simply by cutting in half, sprinkling with sugar and scooping out the pulp. Slices or halves can be seasoned and grilled for 10-15 minutes and served as a vegetable. Do not cut on a wooden or other permeable surface, as the juice will make an indelible stain. To remove the skin, pour boiling water over the fruit and allow it to stand for 34 minutes, then peel by beginning at the stem end. Use as an ingredient in a stuffing for roast lamb. Combine with apple in a variety of desserts. Use to make jams, chutneys and sauces.

 

The tamarillo is a subtropical shrub. The plant prefers a light, well-drained soil. It is highly intolerant to excess soil moisture and rapidly succumbs when the soil is water logged. On the other hand, its large, soft leaves and shallow rooting system causes it to react unfavourably to drought conditions. It needs ample moisture during summer.

 

The large leaves and extremely brittle wood of the tamarillo make it very prone to damage by wind. When they are heavily laden with fruit the branches will break off easily, even in quite light winds. Good shelter is therefore essential, and permanent windbreaks should be established at least 2-3 years before tamarillo plants are set out.

 

The tamarillo is easily propagated from seed or cuttings. Plants from seed generally develop with a straight main stem of up to 1.5-1.8m before they branch. The cuttings produce lower, bushy plants, with branches down to the ground level.

 

Tamarillo flowers are normally self-pollinating but the flowers are attractive to bees and insect pollination undoubtedly occurs as well.

 

The tamarillo is the best known of about 30 species of this family. It has been known by a multitude of regional names including tree tomato and tomate, but was given the name tamarillo in 1970 in New Zealand and this has been adopted as the standard commercial designation. The name change was made to provide a more appealing and exotic name, especially for export promotion.

 

The plant is a native of the Andean region of Peru. Although the tamarillo is esteemed in its original South American home and has grown in other parts of the world, such as Sri Lanka, India, the South East Asian Archipelago, and elsewhere, it seems that only in New Zealand is the fruit being produced on a systematic commercial scale. It was D. Hay and Sons, nurserymen, who introduced the tree tomato into New Zealand in 1891 with commercial growing on a small scale being in about 1920. Shortages of tropical fruits during World War II justified an increased level of production.

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast

NSW - North Coast

VIC - Melbourne Metropolitan Area

SA - Adelaide hills

NZ - Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Kerikeri

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Tamarillos are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fibre. They also contain some vitamin A and potassium. 112kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

7-10°C and 90 - 98% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Ripen at room temperature and store in the refrigerator for a short time.

 

 


Walnut

 

Botanical Name:

 

Juglans regia (Juglandiaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • There are 21 walnut species, but J. regia, the Persian or Common Walnut is the one cultivated for its delicious nuts
  • One of the oldest cultivated nut crops
  • Trees can take over 10 years to reach full production
  • Large irregular shaped lobed nut in a rounded light brown shell
  • Sold in the shell or loose
  • Nuts are rich in oils and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Most supplies are imported
  • Local production is small and centred around the north-east of Victoria
  • Available: all year

Growing Areas:

 

VIC - North East Victoria

 

 


Watermelon

 

Description:

  • Is not a true melon, as it is not classified in the same genus as honeydews or rockmelons
  • has been cultivated for over 5000 years

Native to the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa, the Watermelon is oblong with a white-striped green skin. The flesh is grainy, pink-red, sweet, and very juicy. Usually eaten in slices, Watermelon also makes a good addition to fruit-salads. Puréed, it makes a refreshing drink. Choose fruit that are heavy for their size, glossy and, when tapped, sound hollow. Under-ripe melons can be ripened at room temperature. Wrap ripe melons in a plastic bag and refrigerate up to 5 days.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Bowen, Burdekin, Chinchilla, Forest Hill, Gatton, Gayndah, Goondiwindi, Ingham, Laidley, Mundubbera, Roma, St George, Texas

VIC - Mid Murray, Sunraysia

SA - Riverland

NT - Darwin, Katherine

 

 

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