According to the media we have a vegetable crisis in the UK so it seems a good time to get seasonal with your baking, cooking and eating.
So we’ve got shortages of courgettes, broccoli and iceberg lettuces in British supermarkets because of bad weather in the mediterranean?
My first reaction was “so what, it’s winter eat cabbage!” ( or carrots or leeks or cauliflower)
Then I thought: this is a good time to be talking to people about eating with the seasons.
If you are eating local vegetables when they are in season then this lack of summer veg like lettuce and courgettes is no worry for you. I have been talking about seasonal baking since we started The Travelling Tea Ladies. I like to bake with fruit, herbs and vegetables that are growing locally and naturally at the time that they should be growing. This is when they taste their best. It’s also best for the environment to to not eat fruit and veg flown in to your supermarket from miles away
I suggest menus to my customers based on what’s in season . I talk about seasonal baking on our website and give some examples of what we bake in spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Ok winter is a bit tricky for fruit but it’s the time to be using preserved fruits or stored fruits. We are still baking with apples picked in autumn and stored in our cellar. Now I’m getting excited about the rhubarb showing it’s pink shoots on our allotment.
Sourcing Fresh, Local , Seasonal Produce
So back to that veg crisis… there isn’t one if you are eating what is growing around you. A great resource to find out what’s in season now is the fabulous What to Eat Now calendar on the Eat Seasonably website. There are so many ways to find good, local, seasonal produce : shop at your local market and ask where their veg comes from; shop at your local farm shop or farmer’s market; find a community garden or even grow your own.
I am really interested in having the freshest, most local ingredients I can find. So I took inspiration from my business partner Lynne’s fantastic kitchen garden and I started growing my own herbs and vegetables in my garden. I also pick a lot of fruit and herbs from the wild. My knowledge of foraging for wild food has been hugely improved by teaming up with Mina from Mistu Forage and Feast
I’ve only got a small garden so after attending an inspiring talk in our local pub by Dr Lindsay Smales from Incredible Edible Todmorden I was inspired to start Incredible Edible Aireborough. As well as giving me more growing space I want to inspire my local community to eat veg when it’s in season and to increase people’s access to local produce.
We are a small group of volunteers who grow fresh fruit and vegetables for our local community for FREE using bits of land going spare. The Station Pub in Guiseley were kind enough to build us some veg beds in their grounds. We also grow herbs in a couple of beds around the town and fruit bushes in a local park. I have teamed up with a neighbour to grow on her allotment too.
You may have a community garden near you where you can go pick fresh veg, herbs and fruit for free or get involved in growing. You don’t need to be an expert either as you learn from others like I’m doing.
I will aim to post a monthly blog post with inspiration and recipes for using what’s in season.
My first recipe to share is for a more seasonal salad to have instead of iceberg lettuce. I made myself a lovely winter coleslaw this week with:
- a 1/4 of a head of red cabbage shredded
- 2 medium carrots grated
- 2 shallots from my allotment, sliced finely
- 2 big tablespoons of mayonnaise mixed with a teaspoon of horseradish,a 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds, 1/2 a table spoon of lemon juice mixed together with a fork
Mix it all together in a glass bowl. I added a few sprigs of parsley grown on my window sill for a bit of greenery
Delicious in pitta bread with grilled halloumi cheese
Who needs tasteless iceberg lettuce anyway!
Please do comment with your favourite seasonal recipes and follow my blog and facebook page for more seasonal recipes.
I’ve just started doing some teaching and food inspiring at the Incredible Aquagarden in Todmorden so I’ll soon be posting some seasonal recipes on their website too. There’s a whole lat more that can be grown organically in this country using aquaponics but that’s another topic!