Given the widespread and year round availability of most produce, it is easy to forget that once upon a time, people had to cook with what was available for the time of year. Dishes naturally changed with the seasons, bringing in new ingredients with the different harvests. Fruits and veggies that are grown out of season or imported bring more choice, but there is a lot to be said for focusing on what we call ‘seasonality’ in our cooking.
Seasonal produce offers the best for the country for the time of year. But what is it exactly? Seasonality describes the time of year a given type of vegetable, fruit – even fish – is at its peak in terms of harvest or flavour. Also, eating produce when it is naturally at its peak for harvest, means it is far more nutritious – and delicious! One of the simplest ways to eat a healthier diet would be to eat and cook with seasonal produce.
An easy way to find seasonal produce would be your local farmer’s market. This not only supports your local farmers but also shows you what produce is at its peak at the moment – they may also have some delicious suggestions on the best ways to cook that specific type of produce too.
Eating seasonally always inspires me to create new recipes. A simple starting point is to research what is in season at the moment, then you have a wonderful foundation and list of delicious produce to build from in creating a new recipe. It all starts with great, fresh, whole foods that can inspire a transformation into something new and delicious.
So, what is in season at the moment in the UK? There is some amazing produce in season including artichoke, aubergine, beetroot, broad beans, courgettes, garlic, kohlrabi, radishes, runner beans, spring onions, sweetcorn, turnips, watercress, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries.
There are endless possibilities for this delicious array of vegetables – raw, roasted, puréed, or pickled. August has such a variety of seasonal stars that would make delicious summer salads or even delicious home comfort recipes for those rainy and cold August evenings. Take radishes for example, these delicious little veggies are amazing raw in salads but equally delicious pickled. There is nothing quite like a flavoursome bursting salad topped with a sprinkling of pickled radishes – or even better a medley of pickled radish, onion, and carrot – a tried and tested combination in my house!
Pickling is a quick and easy way to increase your vegetable intake, all you need to do is cut or slice the vegetable in question, add it to a glass jar and cover it with equal parts of boiling water and apple cider vinegar along with a generous pinch of flaked sea salt. Let it sit for approximately 20 – 30 minutes and then enjoy! If you make a large batch, the leftovers can be stored in the fridge and added to pretty much anything.
And we can’t forget about the beautiful August fruit – particularly the berries. Nutritional powerhouses, both raspberries and strawberries are seasonal stars in August and can be the perfect topping to any breakfast porridge or granola, perhaps the Maple & Co granola 😉, and could even be used to create an easy and wonderful dessert by topping them with some creamy coconut yogurt and fresh mint leaves.
Looking ahead, the seasonal produce coming up in September includes the start of some amazing autumnal favourites including butternut squash, carrots, celeriac, kale, leeks, marrow, pumpkin, shallots, turnips, apples, blackberries, figs, pears, and chestnuts – just to name a few. Bring on butternut squash soup, pumpkin pie and apple and blackberry crumble!
You can check out the course I am studying at The College of Naturopathic Medicine here and find me on Instagram @Julzb89 for some delicious natural recipes.