Savouring the seasons
Economical recipes for seasonal eating
With ever-growing concerns over the cost of living, the idea behind this collection of recipes is to help us all to eat healthily, economically and seasonally with an awareness of how our eating habits impact the environment.
Home-made soups are easy to make and capitalise on what is seasonally available, so every month we have a soup of the month.
We include meat and fish and vegetarian suggestions but we are selecting cuts of meat and types of fish that are inexpensive and perhaps underused but definitely delicious!
All recipes are for 4 people (adults) unless otherwise stated.
This is traditionally the month in which we would celebrate and thank God for the harvest.
A month in which lots of fresh vegetables and fruit are available:
plenty of new potatoes, lots of British tomatoes, courgettes and squash, garlic, shallots, onions, greenhouse-grown aubergine and peppers, runner beans and other beans, young carrots and turnips, spinach and chard, cauliflower, sweetcorn, plums, blackberries, apples and early pears, autumn raspberries and cobnuts (hazelnuts).
By October, it’s beginning to feel more autumnal. This is the month for foraging for mushrooms. If you can tell an edible mushroom from a toadstool, then great – free food! However, the consequences of getting it wrong can be serious, so make sure you know what’s what! As a rule, it’s safer to buy them. As well as mushrooms, our seasonal veg now includes big potatoes, pumpkins, cauliflower and sprouts, leeks, beetroot, carrots and parsnips, turnips and swede, cabbage and kale. October is also a great month for British apples and pears, and quince.
The days are shortening; it’s getting wetter and windier. We need some good British comfort food: root veg (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, swede and beetroot, celeriac); leeks, celery and the brassicas (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower); pumpkins. It’s a good time for cooking and eating apples, pears and cranberries and chestnuts too.
Christmas is coming – looking for alternatives to turkey? And what’s in season?
Plenty of root veg and brassicas (cabbage-related). So, carrots, parsnips, swede, celeriac, turnips, beetroot, green cabbage and red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions and garlic, pumpkins. Apples, pears and cooking apples, rhubarb, cranberries, chestnuts, walnuts are available for delicious desserts.
With Christmas over, there is still a great range of winter veg available but locally grown fruit is harder to find, so bring out your store cupboard bottled or frozen fruit. Carrots, parsnips, swede, celeriac, turnips, beetroot, green cabbage and red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions and garlic, pumpkins. Apples and cooking apples, rhubarb and cranberries should be available. Shops may sell off nuts in their shells – chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts. Buy your Seville oranges for marmalade making (!) and other European citrus fruits
The first signs of Spring may be visible in the garden. Seasonal veg now includes purple sprouting broccoli as well as winter cabbage, red cabbage, kale, sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, turnips, swede, parsnips, celery and celeriac, perpetual spinach, onions, garlic, leeks and potatoes. British apples and cooking apples can still be bought.
March can be quite cold or full of sunshine and daffodils but we still have plentiful supplies of root vegetables and brassicas. Carrots and potatoes; also swede, celeriac, parsnips, onions and garlic; probably the last of the leeks (before they get a woody centre); Brussel sprouts and sprout tops, spring greens, kale, purple sprouting broccoli; various cabbages, including savoy and red cabbage; spinach, salad leaves. Most fresh fruit is likely to be imported, but somehow English apples and pears may have been stored and available, as is English rhubarb. Citrus fruits are available and still good from Spain; otherwise use your store cupboard and freezer for fruit.
The clocks have sprung forward and it usually feels like Spring now! The best month in my garden for purple sprouting broccoli, so it should be in the shops too along with spring cabbages, spring greens, over-wintered cauliflowers, spring onions, radishes, maybe the first asparagus, and the usual carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes that we manage to grow or store all year round. There is forced rhubarb, and apples and pears that have been stored in controlled environments. The prime Spanish citrus season is coming to an end by the end of April.
May is one of my favourite months in the garden not least because my early sown broad beans are likely to have their first young beans ready for picking before the end of the month. Speedy veg salad leaves sown in April also ready for regular snipping. There should be more locally seasonal veg in the shops.
Look for asparagus, baby spring veg such as baby beetroots, young carrots, radishes, onions and garlic still available, the first baby new potatoes, fresh young lettuce, watercress, fresh herbs, mange tout, the last of the sprouting broccoli but still plenty of spring cabbage and spring greens and young spinach. If you are lucky there could be early English gooseberries; apricots from Europe start to arrive, along with peaches and nectarines; and English strawberries now appear in May.
This year a cold March delayed things a bit in April and May. Still, now, in June, you can find British new potatoes, new-season onions, shallots and garlic, beetroot, baby carrots & turnips, asparagus, spinach, spring cabbage and spring greens, broad beans, the first peas & mangetout, radish, lettuce and other salad leaves, lots of fresh herbs. Lots of soft fruit – English strawberries, the best month for gooseberries, early raspberries, European apricots, peaches and nectarines.
Whether from the shops or the garden, there is now an abundance of salad veg, excellent summer fruit, greens, beans, and new season roots. New potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, asparagus, young carrots, beetroot, radishes, spinach, chard, broad beans, French beans, peas, mangetout, various lettuces and salad leaves, watercress, courgettes, greenhouse tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers, summer cabbage, calabrese, cauliflower. Strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries, gooseberries, loganberries, cherries, apricots, peaches and nectarines.
Keep picking everything you are growing, and it will keep growing/producing more! Share your surplus. Buy what's cheap and abundant on the veg stalls. New potatoes continue, onions, shallots and garlic; various greens – summer cabbage, spinach, chard, calabrese, cauliflower – runner beans, French beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, courgettes, beetroot, carrots, turnips, sweet corn, celery, various lettuce and salad leaves, watercress, and radish, cucumber. Fruit still includes strawberries and raspberries, redcurrants and black currants, blackberries and blueberries, British plums and greengages have a short season, and European peaches, apricots and nectarines. Such abundance!