December brings winter, Christmas and new year feasts. Enjoy the seasonal produce and the rewards of the stored and preserved produce. December Seasonal Produce is starting to decline as we enter winter.
Seasonal fruit and vegetables are less abundant now and we should carry on, where possible, making the most of preserving methods: pickling, jam, chutney, fermentation. All are wonderful ways to enjoy the abundance through the next year.
If you want to find out exactly what is in season in the UK at the moment check out my FREE Seasonal Produce Posters. There are two posters you can save and/ or print to use as quick reference guides for UK Seasonal Produce. Click the button below to sign-up and download.
Why Eat Seasonally?
There are so many reasons to eat seasonal food. That is, food that is seasonal to your country or region.
1. Seasonal food requires less human interference. For example food grown out of season is highly likely to require poly-tunnels (and other similar temporary structures and materials), heat, excessive water, fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides and so on. Seasonal food is cheaper and better for the environment.
2. Seasonal food has less distance to travel to get you your plate. Therefore it is fresh and better for the environment
3. Seasonal food tastes better and is better quality. This is because it is growing in conditions it is meant to grow in. Temperature, humidity, sunshine, water etc. Less waste and better taste.
Isn’t Eating Seasonally Difficult?
No!!! But, I get that you might think that it’s hard.
The UK is very lucky to have good seasonal crops most of the year and when some crops are not in season they store really well (e.g. root vegetables, apples etc.) so they are available for a large part of the year. However, most of the roundup here applies to much of the northern hemisphere. There are, of course local crops that it would just be too difficult (and lengthy) to add all produce and all timings to the list but you can still use these lists as a guide throughout the northern hemisphere.
However, not all parts of the UK are able to grow crops this could be due to ground conditions or climate. The UK is fairly small so transport around parts of the UK is pretty straightforward.
Eating seasonal food does not need to be prescriptive, awareness of what is in season (and good value) where you live can be enlightening and make meal planning easy.
When crops are in season they are cheap, plentiful and taste amazing. That is the time to buy them and freeze them. Especially fruit. Frozen food is AMAZING and is a really great way to get high quality fruit and veg throughout the year.
December Seasonal Produce Roundup – What Is In Season
Here’s all the fruits, herbs and vegetables in season this month around the UK.
December Seasonal Produce – Seasonal Fruits
Seasonal fruits are reduced this month. We have
- Medlars – hard and acidic until frost or after storage, medlars can then be eaten or made in to preserves
- Pears: comice, concord, conference – just great in tarts and in Warm Pear Salad
- Rhubarb: forced – try it in Roasted Rhubarb with Crumble Topping or lightly pickled as a side to a roast vegetables
December Seasonal Produce – Seasonal Herbs
Herbs seasonality is much reduced to the cold weather constants of bay and winter savoury. Bay is a pretty brilliant addition to any casserole.
December Seasonal Produce – Seasonal Vegetables
Vegetable availability is reducing. Available December seasonal vegetables (and they will vary according to region) include
- Artichoke: globe – fabulous grilled with olive oil and sea salt
- Broccoli: purple sprouting – a stirling vegetable that is wonderful steamed and served with slivered almonds
- Brussel sprouts – just fantastic as long as you don’t cook the life out of them
- Cabbage: white – wonderful shredded in Cabbage and Carrot Salad, red is particularly great as a side cooked with star anise
- Carrots – just fantastic raw. Grate and slice in to strips in salads with toasted caraway seeds. For a hot meal you cannot go wrong with Carrot and Lemon Soup
- Cauliflower – so versatile, raw, steamed, riced or roasted in Roasted Winter Vegetables with Almonds and Olives
- Cavolo nero – a wonderful dark green its almost black and so easy to grow, amazing steamed with olive oil, salt and pepper
- Celeriac – fabulous roasted and made in to a silky soup or in Celeriac Caper and Rocket Salad
- Cress: mustard/ mixed – always available, what more do you need to top off a salad
- Garlic – a foundation to classic cookery, what isn’t garlic in. Roast whole to get a wonderful flavour
- Kale – sooo fashionable… great steamed and served with toasted sesame seeds and a dash of tamari
- Leek – roast these little beauties
- Mushrooms: button / cup /flat (cultivated), enoki (Cultivated), oyster (cultivated), pied bleu (cultivated), shitake (cultivated) – lots of different types with different flavours, bring out the earthy, nutty flavours in a risotto, Lentil and Mushroom Soup, or a simple stir fry
- Parsnip – nutty, sweet and the best flavour comes from roasting and then you can use in a roast, make soup or whatever you fancy
- Potatoes – main crop: anya, King Edward, marfona, maris piper, pink fir apple, rooster – perfect for Crispy Roast Potatoes, mashing or chips!
- Pumpkin – wonderful Roasted Squash with spices and then the options are endless. If you want dessert Gluten Free, Vegan Sweet Squash/ Pumpkin Tart
- Romanesco – the most beautiful vegetable in the world. Crunchy and mild great in salads and steamed
- Salsify – – I have heard it can taste of oyster!? Peel and dice and place in water and lemon juice to stop browning before making a soup or roasting
- Savoy cabbage – amazing really finely sliced in a stir fry or use to wrap Walnut and Mushroom Parcels
- Shallots – great as the base for almost anything, sweet and tasty
- Spring greens- delicate steam to get the best from their delicate flavour
- Sweet potato – now grown in some parts of the UK, roast and then go crazy
- Turnips – a much under rated salad vegetable, sweet and peppery, slice thinly with carrots and parsley. Spicy and earthy, wonderful in Gluten Free Vegan Haggis, soups, get them with the tops on and use the tops as greens