Apple season from south of the equator
By Joan Namkoong
Advertiser Food Editor
Hard to believe, but as we've just entered spring, it's fall in New Zealand. That means the apple and pear crop is ready to harvest and on its way to us. While we still have lots of Washington and California apples in our markets from the U.S. fall season, the fresh New Zealand crop will see us through our summer months.
Royal Gala Apples are among the first to arrive; they're available from April through July. This crimson-orange apple has bright, rose-pink striping on cream-colored skin. It's thin-skinned and sweet, good for snacks and pairing with mild cheeses. Another variety you may see is Southern Snap, which has a rich, rose-colored skin and firm white flesh; also a snacking apple and stores well. You'll see a few Pacific Beauties and by mid-May the season will be in full swing. Some less-known varieties with romantic names include Pacific Rose, Southern Rose and Cripps Pink; exports of these are increasing.
New Zealand apples are never waxed or placed in cold storage. Look for the Enza stickers on apples; Enza is the sole marketer of apples and pears grown on the South Pacific islands of New Zealand. They're at www.enzafruit.com.
Soybean sprouts: Nga choi in Chinese, kong namul in Korean, soybean sprouts are up to 5 inches long, with a yellow bean head that has a distinctive nutty flavor. The tails of these sprouts should be removed and the soft covering of the head, too. Best eaten cooked; Koreans like to stir-fry them in a little oil, seasoned with soy sauce, sesame seeds and chopped green onions.
Food editor Joan Namkoong prepared this report before beginning her leave. Send shopping queries and new product information to: Market Basket, The Ho-nolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Hono-lulu, HI 96802. Fax: 525-8055. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call: 525-8034.