• We’re celebrating this month’s seasonal produce and showing you our favourite fruits and veggies that are in season in April. We also share some interesting factoids about each fruit and vegetable.

    What’s in season in April?


    • It is best to buy asparagus that are thin in diameter with tight, compact heads and firm, unwrinkled stalks.
    • Thick asparagus are harvested too late and will therefore be bitter, stringy and perhaps even woody. You can, however, use a vegetable peeler to peel thick asparagus and remove some of the string.
    • Treat your asparagus like a bunch of flowers: chop the ends a little and place in a glass with a little water, cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate. This should keep your asparagus fresh for longer.
    • Bend the asparagus until it snaps. The top part is the best and the bottom part is there it is too tough to be enjoyable.
    • Asparagus are great grilled, sautéed, roasted, boiled and steamed.

    TRY THIS: Pea, asparagus and mature Cheddar barley risotto


    • Wash chillies in cold water as hot water stimulates the chilli fumes.
    • Soak clean, seeded chillies in cold salted water for a much milder flavour.
    • For a lovely smoky flavour, blister the chillies over an open fire for a few seconds.
    • Chillies add spice and zing to dishes that might otherwise be bland.
    • Chillies are great in Thai, Indian and Cajun food, such as pork and prawns.

    TRY THIS: Poached hake in coconut milk with lemongrass and green chillies

    What’s in season in April coconuts


    • Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm and the white layer inside the coconut is known as the pulp.
    • When purchasing a coconut, make sure it’s not cracked and that when shaken; you can still hear the water inside.
    • To open, poke out the “eyes” with a sharp object, pour out the water and reserve. Hit the coconut with a hammer just below the eyes to crack the shell. Open and remove the pulp.
    • The milky substance in the centre is coconut water and not to be mistaken for coconut milk.
    • Fresh coconut should be covered with a little water to prevent it from drying out. Coconut milk can be extracted from pulped and strained coconut flesh.
    • Both fresh coconut and coconut milk should be refrigerated.

    TRY THIS: Sweet coconut, yoghurt and ginger hummus

    READ MORE: Everything you need to know about coconuts

    Dragon fruit

    • Dragon fruit has a flavour similar to a cross between a pear and kiwi fruit.
    • Available in pink and yellow varieties.
    • Dragon fruit is best eaten chilled.
    • Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fruit for extra flavour.
    • Makes an excellent juice as well as frozen drinks.
    • Dragon fruit gives a beautiful colour to sorbet.

    What’s in season in April figs


    • Figs are very fragile and it is rare to find an unmarked fresh fig.
    • When selecting figs, look for slightly wrinkled, yet plump fruit, making sure that a milky liquid does not ooze from the stems.
    • Store at room temperature and eat within a day or two of purchase.
    • In ancient times, cooked figs were used as a sweetener, a practice still used in North Africa and the Middle East.
    • When chopping figs, use a knife dipped in warm water to prevent them from sticking.

    TRY THIS: Spiced, roasted figs with Camembert and walnuts


    • For extra flavour, steam mushrooms for a few minutes in a little stock.
    • Mushrooms make a healthy start to any meal.
    • Button mushrooms are excellent in sauced and add crunchiness to salads. Great for stir-fries.
    • Oyster mushrooms should be added to cooked foods right at the end of the cooking time.
    • Button mushrooms will darken the colour if a white sauce – just add a few drops of lemon juice to prevent this from happening.
    • Brown mushrooms are more flavourful than white, ideal for stews and casseroles.

    TRY THIS: Roasted wild mushroom and parsley risotto

    Sunflower greens

    • This is the micro plant that results when unhulled seeds are grown in soil.
    • Sunflower seeds are slightly saltier and a great substitute for lettuce.
    • They make a delicious addition to salads, such as an egg and tuna salad with grilled tofu.
    • Use as a topping on uncooked pizza or as an addition to sandwiches.

    What other fruits and vegetables are in season in April?

    Cactus pears, carambola (star fruit), Fuerte avocadoes, guavas, limes, persimmon, plums, quinches and raspberries.

    READ MORE: 5 Things everyone needs to know about avocados

    What fruits and vegetables will be in season soon?

    Clementines, naartjies, Pinkerton avocadoes and satsumas.

    What fruits and vegetables are going out of season in April?

    Glaia melons, mangoes, nectarines, Thompson’s seedless grapes and white onions.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com