The recent turn in the weather has had everyone reaching for their cookery books and looking up slow cooker classic recipes, heading to the butchers for lots of cuts suitable for braising and thinking about making thick, hearty soups. Don’t get too despondent there are still lots of salad crops and plenty of peas, beans and courgettes to brighten your plates.
For me, however, the real joy of this time of year is the arrival of the first game and foraged wild mushrooms, whose rich earthy flavours are perfect partners and the return of mussels, oysters and scallops to add a lot more variety to your table. Fruit is probably at its most varied with abundant apples, plums and pears and time to enjoy the last of the fresh raspberries, blueberries, peaches and apricots. Finally, it is time to head to the hedgerows and go wild blackberry ( bramble ) pickling.
Vegetables and Salad
The last of the summer crops of salad ingredients such as radishes, beetroot, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, baby spinach and salad leaves are still readily available. Broccoli, carrots, onions, fennel, globe artichokes, aubergines and sweetcorn are all now in season.
The first autumn and winter vegetables are starting to be harvested, so look out for Brussels sprouts, celeriac, Butternut squash, turnips, leeks, Swiss chard, kale and cabbage, pumpkins and main crop potatoes.
Basil, chives, coriander, oregano, mint, curly and flat parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, tarragon, thyme are all in season to add bags of flavour to your cooking.
Rabbit, pheasant, grouse, partridge, guinea fowl, wood pigeon and wild duck are all in plentiful supply. Goose and venison are coming in season and older season lamb is now available.
Mussels, oysters and scallops are now much better quality after the summer spawning. Available fish includes cod, haddock, coley, grey mullet, ling, pollock, mackerel and sea bass. Also in plentiful supply are crabs, salmon and sardines.
Elderberries should you live near any should be abundant.Figs, plums, chestnuts, cobnuts, pears and apples including Bramley cooking apples, are all coming into season, as are damsons, sloes, and greengages.