BARGAINS: Head to your local market for quality buys.
BARGAINS: Head to your local market for quality buys.

Celery among the best vegetable buys

AN ABUNDANCE of supply has meant most fresh produce prices are reasonable, just in time for Queensland students to return to school when families traditionally look for healthier lunchbox snacks and meals.

The best vegetable buys include Asian vegetables, imported asparagus, beetroot, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, carrot, celery, leeks, silverbeet, squash, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, with onions considered cheap.

Snow peas have fallen in price but like fennel, which is in short supply, is considered firmly priced.

You will also pay firm prices for eggplant, parsnips and mushrooms. Be mindful when preparing mushrooms that they are like a sponge and can become water logged, so brush them clean rather than try to wash them.

For the first time in weeks, tomatoes are abundant, eating well, reasonably priced and you may even find some specials in Your Local Fruit Shop on the ones that are smaller than their expected size.

Avocados are also well priced with mainly the pebbly skinned hass variety on the shelves, with the best quality glamour ones demanding a slightly higher price tag.

All other salad items are reasonably priced, including mixed leaf salad, cucumbers, eshallots and most herbs, with basil the exception as it struggles growing in the cooler weather.

In the fruit aisle, New Zealand kiwifruit are abundant, cheap and eating well. To remove the skin, cut the ends off and scoop out the flesh using a spoon, making sure that the back of the spoon is against the inside skin of the fruit.

Other well priced buys include strawberries, lemons, navel oranges, green to yellowish packham pears and pawpaw. Remember to store your pawpaw in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process but if you want to ripen them up, place them in a paper bag away on the bench or in a cupboard.

Red grapes and pineapples are also reasonably priced but are of mixed quality. Small pineapples are eating better over the larger sized offerings.

Raspberries and blueberries have fallen in price but are still costing more than usual, as are all lemons, mixed quality bananas, and limes.

The best apples are firmly priced while Mexican mangoes and USA cherries and stonefruit are all expensive.