We’ve just passed the half way mark in this year’s British Food Fortnight so to celebrate, I thought I’d bring you a bit of a reminder of what’s in season right now. In fact, there’s a ridiculous amount of choice, which is probably why British Food Fortnight takes place now and not in, say, two months’ time.
Also the fact that you may or may not be going to your children’s Harvest Festival this week could be another clue that we’re in the middle of a bumper crop. But what food should you be keeping an eye out for and where should you be looking? I’ve picked out a few of my favourites, but there are plenty more you can add to this list…
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin
As with most types of fruit and vegetables sold in UK supermarkets, these are available all year round (it’s up to you whether you think this is a good thing or not), so keep an eye on those labels at this time of year – if you find the ones in your local supermarket are from the UK then they deserve a good pat on the back. If not, try your local greengrocer, fruit and veg stall or farm shop and support your local growers. This is one of my favourite vegetables and has so many uses, from roasting with its skin on (this gives a lovely texture and concentrates the sweetness), to using in risotto with sage, its classic partner.
The British enjoy a rather fun love affair with the chilli, so why not celebrate this by seeking out some UK-grown varieties? I don’t think I need to remind you what you can use chilli in but let me just say this is the perfect opportunity to eschew the chilli powder and slice up some powerful fresh ones to put in your stir fries and curries.
Rocket and Watercress
We’re still just about in salad season (only another week left I reckon), so why not get in some British rocket and watercress while you can? And when the weather is just too damn cold to justify that salad, you can top a parma ham pizza with the former and make a warming soup out of the latter.
Talking of soups, let me introduce you to the quintessential soup ingredient. All you need to do is fry them up, add some chicken stock (homemade of course) and some diced potatoes and you have yourself a delicious concoction. I also think the humble leek is very underrated as a side, just seasoned and fried in some butter.
Apples, Blackberries, Pears and Plums
When I see the names of all these fruits together, one word springs to mind, and that word is CRUMBLE. You can’t get much cheaper than free, so get in the blackberries while you can before the picking season comes to an end and combine with some locally sourced apples and the like.
There is another thing I can suggest – instead of relying on your supermarket or other local suppliers, why not consider growing your own for next year? Ok, so you can’t conjure up an apple tree in twelve months, but vegetables such as butternut squash and chilli are very much in the realms of possibility with a little care, time and attention. But in the meantime, enjoy all your British bounty!