September 15, 2015

Spring is here, which means it’s time to fill your table with dishes full of fresh, colourful locally grown veggies.

Our star cook and Pitt Town’s prime preserver Julie Sullivan has got tips for making the most of seasonal produce, getting the kids involved, and the inside scoop on the best jams and chutneys to pick up this season.

Fresh spring veggies
Spring is the time to get back into the salads, stir fries and other healthy choices. Early varieties of eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and spring onion are perfect for homemade ratatouille. Try serving it with rice and lentils or as a side to grilled chicken skewers.

Make your garden grow
Most plants prefer to wait for the soil to warm up; tomatoes especially will be stunted if you try planting them too early. Once the cold starts to let up, take advantage of the first days of warmer weather to weed and fertilise the garden. This season is the best time to plant.

Let the kids get creative
I love to get together with friends for picnics at this time of year. There is nothing the kids like better than creating their own wraps. I fill plastic ware with lots of fresh, colourful vegetables, and include a tub of homemade grilled eggplant and capsicum. For the adults,

I take along some feta marinated in garlic and fresh herbs from the garden – a fresh, simple and delicious option to make up on plastic plates in the park.

A little something extra
Spring is a busy time at the markets. My Beetroot Relish, Rhubarb and Cranberry Chutney and Sweet Mustard Pickles are great additions for wraps, cheese boards and salads, and new season Strawberry Jam is a crowd favourite.

Reap the fruits of winter
I am very lucky to have access to some of Vermont’s oldest and best citrus trees. Cumquats, limes, mandarins and oranges all feature in my spring collection. I made many of them over winter after the fruit was ‘kissed’ with the frost. New flavours include Ginger and Lime, Spiced Mandarin Jam and Cumquat with Brandy Jelly.

Find Julie selling her jams and pickles at the Windsor Mall Markets on the second, fourth and fifth Sunday of each month. Find her on Facebook at Julie’s Kitchen Made With Love.

Expect more at Vermont

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