Australian lychees are A-Listers in our backyard too
The “lychee lady”. That’s what the Produce Manager at Woolmart supermarket called me. I had been buying lychees every week and never knew Australian lychees are A-Listers abroad.
I could eat them all day long. Yum! Hailing from Malaysia I thought only we Asians could lay claim to this delicious fruit, especially China.
How surprising to find Australia lychees are A-Listers abroad and have the longest production season! Harvest time is from October to April and due to quality agriculture here, Australian lychees are premium A-listers in Asia.
I saw this first-hand at a mall in Kuala Lumpur where a lady was walking around with a tray of very tiny pieces of lychee with toothpicks stuck in them for customers to have a taste.
She was promoting the quality Aussie lychees. When I asked her where I could find some, she showed me. I saw the hefty price list and walked away, glad I didn’t have to pay that much for mine.
So this time at Woolies I was sullen at not being able to find lychees. “Surely the season is not over yet,” I asked the Produce manager, anxiously.
“No way we will run out of stock before Chinese New Year,” he chirped, reminding me of my recent trip to Malaysia where all the stores were festive in ushering in the Year of the Goat.
I went home with my heavy bag of lychees. They were a little brown and probably why so cheap. Still, they were delicious. I thought of the lychee plants at home sitting contently in their pots waiting to be transported to the ground.
I bought them from farmers Ted and Liz, who have a lychee orchard in Queensland. They gave me six plants and told me it could take up to a year to see any leaves. I see leaves on two of my Kwai Mai Pinks already. The rest, especially the Wai Chee still remains bare for now.
I should have put them in the ground in summer and it’s just turned autumn. Only just. But if I hurry I could still make it.
Liz said, “We had a really good year this time Shoba, with Chinese New Year mass buying. I took some lychee from my farm to a friend at a local supermarket and she told me she did a little taste test and the ones I gave her were so much more delicious.”
“Yep,” I agreed. Longhaul transportation is not good for fresh produce, especially when they go first to a central distribution centre before making the journey to the large supermarkets. Takes too long.
When I reached home my sourdough for the pumpkin bread was ready. I thought of some of the Chinese New Year cookies I had brought back from Malaysia. Our daughter seems to like it but we wanted something more healthy.
So as I was going to add cranberries to my pumpkin bread I decided to add two or three lychees to be festive. Not much. Just for fun. Like the delight of finding a note in a fortune cookie.
Before placing my bread dough in the oven I dusted it with maize meal instead of flour to enrich the yellow of the bread. It also gives the outer crust a nice crunch.
My husband loves to taste sourdough bread fresh out of the oven in its plain form first.
Here are some healthy lifestyle organic food ideas to complement dishes to put together a meal. For a light lunch pumpkin bread with chickpea salad.
For a more savoury meal, spread a fig compote over the bread. This compote was made by my Persian friend with figs from a tree in her backyard.