40 MATT PRESTON
On Valentine’s Day think about this… Fruit and vegetables are just like men, and – just like men – there are some you cannot trust
The delights of forbidden fruit.
POTATOES and carrots, apples and grapes, oranges and lemons; these are prime examples of the sort of fruit and vegetables that you can trust. Not only can they be relied upon, they can also pleasantly surprise you with their versatility.
These are the dependable ‘keepers’ of the edible botanical world; the sort of dining companion you could happily grow old with – even if they are a little boring.
Meanwhile the pineapple and the avocado are like the perfect tradie date. They might be a little rough on the outside but they’re wonderful on the inside – either bright, sunny and sweet or butter smooth and yielding when ripe.
Then, of course, there are the fruits and vegetables you just cannot trust.
The fruit you cannot change. Too often they promise a life of juicy sweetness but when you get them home they never soften, no matter how much time you give them. Face it, too often some pears will never give you the sweetness you crave – or you deserve. Move on already.
(Find a ripe pear, however, and it’s a joy like finding that unicorn of a date – one that’s generous, full of substance and perfectly sweet, with just enough bite to keep them interesting. Sadly, ripe pears like this are the unicorns of the fruit world – as are men like this.)
The Tinder mistake of the fruit world. It looks pretty but there’s not much there when you take a bite. Far too many have fallen for a bloke like this, and regret it when he’s turned up for the date in a leather flying jacket, comedy Hawaiian shirt and regrettable pants.
The ‘mummy’s boy’ of the fruit world. It’s so soft and jellylike when ripe that it bruises badly when taken too far from home (and the tree on which it was grown). Waaay too needy.
What else is fuzzy? Tennis balls and teenage boys. The peach may have connotations of perfectly delectable body parts, but don’t be fooled.
Just a peach with a shave and a slap of moisturiser. Without the lure of its furrier cousin, the nectarine has some catching up to do to deserve a love bite.
The clue is in the name although they’re not so much arty as farty. If only blokes were as honestly named. I hear soaking them in water with lemon juice helps, although sadly that’s only for the artichoke.
It might be starchy, hard and unpalatable when young, but as it gets older it becomes far, far sweeter. Trouble is, by then it has lost its sleek skin and looks like a mottled mess. It can also be way too soft.
Might be sweet but can have a hard heart. Give it a good roasting if you do cross its path. You won’t be sorry.
Like a broken ex, some eggplants might look great but they can be incredibly bitter. At least the eggplant’s bitterness can be removed just by salting – as opposed to a year of therapy, or dating inappropriately younger women until they come to their senses.
The heartbreaker of the veg world. Sweet, earthy and quite delicious but will leave an indelible stain.
Tastes like heaven but smells like hell. It’s been banned from airports, too, so there’s no taking this fruit anywhere.
Bad boys have always had a bit of a thing about them. With the face of a badly disfigured mafia hitman, this root veg might look like the world’s ugliest potato, but it actually tastes like celery. Deceptive or what?
Unlike most bad boys (or girls) who hint that you might be the one to rehabilitate/tame them, celeriac is a genuine ‘fixer-upper’ in the veg world. Give it a makeover by grating it then cooking it in milk* to give you something quite desirable – a super-smooth but rather tasty mash or creamy soup.
*Please do not attempt this with a mafia hitman.
TIME FOR A GRILLING After salting, make this grilled eggplant with black bean vinaigrette. Find a recipe you can trust on delicious.com.au