What’s in season – October

As we move out of the warmer months and the days continue to shorten, I find myself turning to more of those warming comfort foods that have typically been slow-cooked. Along with this style of cooking come the ingredients that naturally are now in season like venison and partridge game meat, earthy root vegetables like parsnip and celeriac and wild fish like Bream and Lemon Sole.

VEGETABLES

Aubergine, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chestnuts, Chicory, Chillies, Courgette, Cucumber, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Marrow, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rocket, Runner Beans, Spinach, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Summer Squash, Swede, Sweetcorn, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Wild Mushrooms, Winter Squash.

FRUIT

Cox apples, Blackberries, Pears, Figs, Quince

MEAT

Beef, Duck, Grouse, Guinea fowl, Hare, Lamb, Mallard, Pheasant, Rabbit, Turkey, Venison, Wood pigeon

FISH

Anchovy, Sea Bream, Coley, Spider crab, Dab, Haddock, European Hake, Farmed Mussels, farmed Oysters, Pollack, farmed Atlantic Salmon, Sardines/European Pilchards, King Scallops, Dover sole, Lemon sole, Rainbow trout, Turbot (caught at sea or farmed), whiting.

WILD

Elderberries, Crab apples, Rock samphire, Damsons, Bilberries, Cobnuts, Chestnuts

It is important when picking any wild produce that you can clearly identify it and that nothing should be eaten that you are unsure of.

Why should you be eating with the seasons?

1. Better tasting produce

One of the main reasons to eat produce when it’s in season is that it typically tastes better. Generally speaking the reason for this is that the produce is grown in naturally optimum conditions then harvested and available to everyone sooner and ultimately fresher. 

2. In season produce is cheaper

Produce that is available in abundance tends to be cheaper. The cost is further reduced with locally sourced produce as it requires less transportation. When produce is in season there is less need for storage again reducing the growers overheads which would otherwise be passed on to the consumer.

3. Higher nutritional value

Produce purchased in season is more likely to have been recently harvested and therefore fresher retaining more of it’s nutritional value. On harvesting, Vitamin C begins to decline and continues during storage with some antioxidant activity declining in cold and room temperature storage like those used in warehousing produce before reaching the consumer. 

What about seasonally grown produce that has been frozen?

If you’re not able to pick up fresh in season produce then there’s no harm in grabbing it’s frozen variety. Some studies have shown that produce frozen shortly after harvesting retains the same levels of nutrition as its fresh counterpart. Most frozen fruit, vegetables and fish are frozen within minutes of harvest, locking in those all essential nutrients. One study even showed that freezing fresh produce increased fibre content by making it more soluble.

Frozen produce can also be more convenient for certain ingredients so should be utilised. Ultimately it’s all about using the best quality produce for both flavour and goodness.