School holidays is a great time to get the kids cooking with a variety of affordable winter fruits and vegetables available, particularly now that the quality is outstanding and their abundance means most prices are reduced.
Vegetables should be the star of the dish in the cooler months with Asian vegetables, imported asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, carrot, celery, fennel, silverbeet, squash, zucchini, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin eating well and value-for-money.
Eggplant can be found at reasonable prices but the glamour fruit will cost you more.
Beans have fallen in price but are still considered costly.
Leeks are firmly priced and struggling with quality. Look for ones that are straight, with dark green leaves and white necks, avoiding those that are soft or with yellowed or wilted leaves and cracked or bruised bulbs. Leave them unwashed and untrimmed in your refrigerator to keep them fresh for one or two weeks.
You will pay more than usual for parsnips, snow peas, sweet corn and mushrooms.
In the salad aisle, tomatoes have reduced in price but are still considered expensive. However, prices on all varieties are expected to fall over the coming week as the harvest begins in Bowen, Australia's largest winter cropping region. To gain the best taste from your tomatoes, keep them on the bench or fruit bowl rather than in your refrigerator.
For bargain hunters, fill your salads with lettuce or mixed salad leaves, eshallots, cucumbers, with the exception of the lebanese variety that are firmly priced, and a range of herbs. Coriander and basil will be harder to find and may cost you more than usual.
Winter is also the time to get the kids tasting something new with a range of exotic and tropical fruits at Your Local Fruit Shop including dragon fruit, guava, chestnuts, rambutan, soursop, custard apples, pomegranate and nashi and corella pears.
For those who enjoy making jams, rosellas and cumquats are still on the shelves.
Strawberries are being harvested on the Sunshine Coast with some big punnets of fruit, great for snacking or cooking, at reasonable prices.
All melons have firmed in price but you will find reasonably priced lemons, mandarins, red grapes, kiwifruit, pineapples, passionfruit and pawpaw available.
Expect to pay more for raspberries, blueberries, limes, navel oranges, figs, pears and top quality apples, which store better in the fridge than your fruit bowl.
USA grown cherries, peaches, nectarines and plums are all available but they are expensive.