Winter is a fabulous time for citrus. The cooler weather sweetens ripening fruits on trees, and oranges, lemons, limes, native citrus and mandarins are all in season. In the herb garden, many annual herbs have finished for the season, but fresh garden grown mint can still be harvested.
These two ingredients are synonymous with Mojitos. Mojitos are a popular cocktail using fresh lime juice, mint leaves, white rum and soda, and are a wonderful celebratory tipple for summer, but the winter version makes the most of in season citrus. Simply swap out the white run for a dark rum and add cinnamon and star anise, and garnish with a twist of orange peel.
If you want to try growing citrus at your place you’re in luck. Australia is spoilt with a great citrus growing climate on the east coast. Many varieties are available grafted onto dwarfing rootstock too, which makes them perfect for pots and those with limited space. They love full sun.
Mint prefer a moist position, especially over summer. They can grow in the shade or sun, as long as water is regularly applied. Keep mint in a pot to stop it from hybridising with other varieties, and from taking over your garden uncontrollably!
Tahitian: Greenseedless fruit produced throughout the year which can be picked green or left until it turnsyellow. Tree grows to 3m.
Kaffir: Grown for their aromatic leaves used in Thai cuisine, fruit do not contain much juice.
Finger Lime: This is a small native bush with interesting fruit. Inside the fruit are little balls of juice that look just like caviar, which are ideal for garnishes.
Common Mint: This sweet mint is marvellous for desserts and, if you don’t have Mojito mint growing, this one is perfect for beverages.
Mojito Mint: This mint has an orange overtone that makes it ideal for cocktails.
Peppermint: This is the quintessential mint used for herbal teas. Just add a few springs to your cup and pour over boiling water. Steep till it’s the strength you enjoy.
Spearmint: This is the ‘toothpaste’ mint flavour and is terrific for adding freshness to Asian food, or the classic, peas!