What’s in season? Our upcoming seasonal food calendar
With British Food Fortnight 2021 around the corner, we thought it would be a nice idea to highlight the diverse and delicious seasonal produce that is right on our doorstep.
Running from the 18th September to the 3rd October, this national Autumn event takes place during the traditional time of harvest and encourages communities and businesses to celebrate what Britain has to offer through a variety of activities, such as cookery lessons in schools and exclusive themed menus in restaurants and pubs.
Why is it important to buy British seasonal produce?
More ethical and better for the planet
Not only is our food in the UK produced to the highest animal and environmental welfare standards in the world, but it also lowers our carbon emissions by nearly a tonne a year (to put this into perspective it equals a return flight from London to Boston!). One of the most salient benefits of eating seasonally is that we are supporting a sustainable British food economy. The accessibility of our supermarkets rarely encourages us to consider the environmental cost of food travel from one side of the globe to our market shelves.
It’s no secret that fresh produce tastes better. If you have ever sampled a summer salad of locally sourced tomatoes, you will notice they taste much sweeter and juicier than those mass-produced we insist on buying from the supermarkets all year round. Of course, it’s not just tomatoes – the same goes for British vegetables, meat and poultry which will be bursting with flavour in their prime!
More abundant crops and locally sourced keeps the price tag down. For example, have you noticed the lower prices and deals for berries throughout the summer months?
By sticking to your seasonal calendar, you’ll be infusing your diet with foods that are more nutrient dense and designed to support our health. Blackberries abundant in late summer and autumn are a source of vitamin C and folate to help boost our immune systems in preparation for the winter months. When fruit and veg are grown out of season, their natural ripening patterns are disturbed. Unfortunately, pesticides and preservatives are necessary to supply the demand of our modern food systems. By avoiding out-of-season produce, we can minimise our intake of these nasty chemicals. So…If we let nature do its thing, it can provide us with what our bodies need.
Supports local businesses
Buying British strengthens the domestic economy for local farmers and supports local businesses. Bristol boasts an impressive selection of independent food shops such as Five Acre Farm, Good Sixty, Ruby and White and Better Food. Feel better about your purchases. WE like food with a story.
So, what’s in season?
As the nights start drawing in and the leaves turn from green to orange, this time of year is arguably the most abundant period in the seasonal calendar. The transition from summer to autumn calls for a fabulous blend of late summer salads, laden with tomatoes, cucumbers, and beetroot, followed by popular hearty stews filled with leeks and root veg.
Some of our top seasonal picks and dishes
Whilst this period is most famous for trees laden with apples, Halloween inspired pumpkin pie and humble root vegetables. There are many other seasonal foods that might take you by surprise…
Fennel has never been your everyday ingredient (apart from maybe in seed form). Its distinct liquorice- like flavour, often equates it to marmite: you either love it or you hate it?It is in fact incredibly versatile! You can eat it raw in a salad, roast with fresh herbs and garlic or add it to soups and stews.
An important member of the garlic and onion family but have their own unique flavour. Leeks are harsh when raw, but boast a lovely, sweet flavour when cooked. They work perfectly in tarts, soups, risottos and as a side dish.
These sweet and vibrant red fruits are best in late summer. Considered by many as the finest of all the berries, they are the perfect ingredient in classic English puddings and desserts. Fun fact: raspberries should not be washed before eating as this can dilute their flavour.
Try Ximena’s mouthwatering Milhoja’s Cake (thousand layers) made with fresh raspberries. Made to order.
Commonly associated with Mediterranean climates, a perfectly ripened fig is a thing of beauty. They are technically inverted flowers, that if left alone would bloom from the inside out! In the U.K. if you are lucky enough to home a fig tree, tiny fruits will begin to swell over the summer months and are usually ripe and ready to pick in late summer to early autumn. They are delicious served in salads or turned into homemade jams and chutneys.
Have a taste of Nikos’ Sweet Potato Salad with Goat’s Cheese, Figs, Chilli and Pomegranate. Available to order.
Vegetables to buy over the coming months:
Butternut squash, cauliflower, beetroot, cabbage, celeriac, chard, mushrooms, kale, tomatoes, rocket, kohl rabi, celery, carrots, parsnips, broccoli, peppers, sweetcorn, and aubergine.
Fruit to buy over the coming months:
Apples, pears, quince, plums, and blackberries.
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