1. Papaya

    This sunny tropical fruit, which hails from the Americas, is delicious in both sweet and savoury recipes. Look for fruits with smooth, firm skin and an even yellow tone. Streaks of green indicate that the fruit isn’t ripe. Try using in place of mango – they have a similar sweetness and texture. They also work well together, such as in this sweet and spicy papaya and mango chutney. For a tropical salad, try fresh papaya in this Indonesian-inspired caramelised chicken noodle salad.

  2. Spring onions

    Less bitter than other alliums, spring onions have a fresh, peppery flavour and add a punch to all kinds of dishes. Don't discard the green tops: they have a milder taste than the white bulb. In this salmon salad, spring onions are shredded into fine ribbons and tossed in a sticky sesame and honey dressing. Or make spring onions the star of the show with a Korean spring onion pancake, topped with prawns and fresh chilli.

  3. Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are a fungus which come in a wide range of varieties that belong to two distinct types: cultivated and wild. There’s plenty of varieties to experiment with in the kitchen – from giant Portobello mushrooms (perfect for veggie burgers) to delicate chanterelles and porcini. Bake a mixture of mushrooms into these cheesy mushroom and spinach pinwheels or pile onto mushroom eggy bread with caramelised onions, spinach and tomatoes.

  4. Onions and shallots

    A household staple, versatile onions are the first ingredient in a whole host of dishes. Choose onions that feel firm, with papery skins and store in a cool, dry place. To avoid watery eyes when chopping onions, freeze for 10 mins beforehand and avoid cutting through the root. As well as providing the base for sauces and stews, onions can shine on their own. A generous cheese and onion pie is the ultimate hearty comfort food, or try caramelising onions until golden and sticky and serving with peppered lamb chops. Love onion rings? Go up a notch with these whole beer-battered blooming onions!

  5. Rosemary

    This fragrant herb is great for perking up dishes as it retains its flavour and aroma even after slow-cooking. Traditionally associated with roast lamb and savoury dishes, try something different with this hardy herb, such as using it to infuse soft drinks for a fresh rosemary and citrus spritz. Rosemary’s fragrant flavour is also delicious in sweet bakes – try these pretty rosemary shortbreads with lemon icing or an unusual almond, rosemary and courgette cake.

  6. Garlic

    Composed of small cloves that surround an inedible stem, garlic is a staple of cuisines across the world, and has a mellow sweetness when it’s cooked. Garlic is frequently used in a huge variety of savoury meals to add flavour to sauces, pasta dishes, casseroles and more. This sticky garlic squid is an easy sharing dish, ready in just 15 minutes. For a Sunday roast that packs a punch, try this chorizo-stuffed beef with a rich roasted garlic sauce.

  7. Coconut

    The fruit of the palm tree, the coconut is a tough nut to crack but once inside you'll find crunchy, creamy white flesh and a little water, which is lovely and refreshing when chilled. Tesco coconuts are certified by the Rainforest Alliance, guaranteeing they are harvested from forests and farms that follow sustainable practices. Coconut adds its fresh tropical flavour to sweet and savoury dishes: try blitzing the flesh into a crispy coating for this Thai-style cod, or whip coconut milk into a thick cream to dollop onto vegan scones.