A celebration of summer

A real celebration of the best of British produce as we are spoilt for choice now more than ever before as more growers are looking outside the box.

Last year we were blown away by Yorkshire Kohlrabi both red and green. One of the most underrated vegetables that we sell because I don’t think chefs know enough about it. However as its local it really is going to tick the box of being fresh and this is the key to it! You need to be getting it with the leaf on straight away this is a signal as to its freshness and in a good fresh state the leaf can be eaten. The next key is that when you slice into it there are no fibres that look like flecks it should be looking silky smooth. It has many uses and can be used as an alternative to turnip and maybe as a fondant or instead of a radish as it has little spicy flavour once peeled and thinly sliced raw it is beautiful and some chefs use it as part of a great coleslaw. As good an all round vegetable as there is when its fresh so July is the perfect month to start, the local season will continue to October.

On a similar vein fennel is now being grown locally and again as freshness equals flavour it is outstanding. The aniseed flavour comes from anethole which is a type of aromatic compound that occurs widely in nature which is the same aromatic compound found in anise and star anise.

Carrying on this theme of local against normally imported produce we will have fresh wet galic; red and white chicory; corn on the cob; globe, baby and violet artichokes. Another massive area of improvement are the chards with Swiss and Rainbow not only offering fabulous colours but amazing nutritional value and it is considered to be one of the most healthy vegetables.

From Lincolnshire we have another gem in fresh Green Garlic. This is a fresh garlic harvested young and eaten whole. Cloves are just beginning to separate inside the bulb and those hard or papery skims that wrap a dry clove are soft and tender and therefore you can eat everything. The taste is a mild sweet and nutty flavour which will flood into and enhance any dish either cooked or raw. A great tip is to wrap several bulbs into tin foil with a little salt and a good oil and stick on the BBQ, just unwrap it after cooking and squeeze out a sumptuous purée.

We can pretty much get cultivated Samphire all year round now but the real mccoy is available in July and there is really no comparison! To add to the foraged sea vegetable offering there will also be Sea Aster and Sea Purslane.

I highlighted in June the UK Berry offer with the strawberry, blackberry, blueberry being fantastic well we can complete the act with Raspberries joining the party and if ever there is a time to celebrate this berry it is now. Again for me the Scottish raspberry is the one to have, they just seem to be bigger and juicy and the for the reasons we stated last month in that they take longer to grow the flavour is just outstanding!

You cannot got wrong with fruit you have so many amazing options I really think that giving apples and pears a rest is the way to go, save these for Autumn as all you will be getting in July is Southern hemisphere which equals expensive and lacking flavour.

Melons will be amazing with the Provence Charentais the one for me closely followed by Piel de Sapo which is similar to a Honeydew but as it is often referred as the frogskin melon as it appears a stripy green skin. This is the sweetest melon available when ripe it has 14% sugar , look for the heaviest you can get this indicates more sweet juice and the more yellow that is showing on the skin the riper it is, it is worthwhile getting them in but waiting until the yellow tint appears before using, this is the guarantee for the perfect eating melon.

August 2014