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Sensational Sides Using Tropical Fruit

As a member of a ship’s crew, tropical plant guru Emma Lupin once sailed the Pacific on traditional wooden boats, serving up tropical spreads to fellow sailors and picking up produce from remote islands.

When Lupin docked permanently in Darwin, she was expecting the same tropical ingredients to greet her, but found locals were less familiar with them than they ought.

10 years on, Lupin has helped change that somewhat, with her Taste of the Top End blog and workshops, school kitchen gardens, market tours and work with GULP (Growing and Understanding Local Produce).

This month Lupin is partnering with Healthy Darwin to teach Top Enders how to make locally-grown, seasonal sides from tropical fruit that will leave you wondering what you ever saw in supermarket produce from down south.

“We’re going to be focusing on fruit but not as you think of it,” Lupin tells Off The Leash.

“I use a lot of fruits in savoury things. A lovely red paw paw into a salsa with cucumber, then mixed with spring onion, sprouts and mint.”

Or green fruits that when roasted, boiled or shredded turn into scrumptious crisp salads or hearty, textured sides.

“Like green paw paw, which is one of our most amazing staple plants and you can use it in so many ways. You can cut it into wedges and roast it in the oven or put it into a salad and add dressing.”

Lupin says we’re at the peak of the Dry season harvest, when crisp local cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, butter-yellow squash and shiny zucchini are still in season, but the Build Up fruits are starting to make an appearance.

“We’ve also got a couple of ‘peak plants’ that are coming into harvest – mangoes and watermelons. They’re ready now until into the Build Up. That’s pretty exciting and you’ve also got all those wonderful things that you can use all year.”

The year-round produce includes green jackfruit and paw paw, as well as perennial greens like sweet leaf, young sweet potato and cassava leaves, Brazilian spinach and even rosella leaves.

Taking place at the Alawa Primary School kitchen garden, the hands-on Sensational Sides workshop will show you how to make the most of these local beauties before the Wet descends and another seasonal cooking workshop is sorely needed. 

Sun 1 Oct | 2-5.30pm | Alawa Primary School | $25

See the event listing.

Image: Emma Lupin

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