You can see from our February Seasonal Produce Roundup that the winter months can be a little bit sparse in the fruit and vegetable department in the UK. Thank goodness for sprouts – and broccoli. If you are looking for seasonal fruit it is very quiet in the UK with really just forced rhubarb available. I love rhubarb; it is really great roasted in desserts.
Valentine’s Day falls in February so if you want to cook someone special a fabulous meal take a look below for some interesting seasonal produce to use – and some great recipe ideas!
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.
What Is In Season – February Seasonal Produce Roundup
Fruit, herbs and vegetables can be grown throughout most of the year in the northern hemisphere. Here I round up what is available at the moment.
Fruit – February Seasonal Produce Roundup
February is a tough month with just forced rhubarb available.
Herbs – February Seasonal Produce Roundup
Seasonal herbs are only slightly more noisy with bay and winter savoury available. Bay is a pretty brilliant addition to any casserole.
Vegetables – February Seasonal Produce Roundup
However!!! There are more in season vegetables than you think. Look out in markets and shops for local and seasonal produce and make the most of the winter veg. My favourite this month are delightful, earthy, nutty Brussels sprout. Available February seasonal vegetables (and they will vary according to region) include
- Jerusalem artichoke – can make you windy but great in soup. Try Jerusalem Artichoke and Sweet Potato Soup
- Brussel sprouts – just fantastic as long as you don’t cook the life out of them
- Carrots – just love them raw or try Cabbage and Carrot Salad
- Cauliflower – so versatile, raw, steamed, riced, roasted or in Cauliflower, Almond and Nutmeg Soup
- Cavolo nero – a wonderful dark green its almost black and so easy to grow, amazing steamed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Also really great in Porcini and Cavolo Nero Lasagne
- Celeriac – fabulous roasted and made in to a silky soup and really, really wonderful in Celeriac Caper and Rocket Salad
- Cress – always available, what more do you need to top off a salad
- Kale – sooo fashionable… great steamed and served with toasted sesame seeds and a dash of tamari and really great in Broccoli, Kale and Pea Salad
- Leeks – 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 Mushroom Risotto with Grilled Mushrooms and Tarragon or a simple stir fry
- Parsnips – great as part of Roasted Winter Vegetables with Almonds and Olives and really, really good in Parsnip and Walnut Soup with Walnut Pesto, sweet and aromatic
- Potatoes – main crop: anya, King Edward, marfona, maris piper, pink fir apple, rooster – the most versatile of vegetables: tasty whether you roast, bake, fry, mash or Gluten free, Vegan Fondant Potatoes
- Pumpkin – wonderful roasted with spices and then the options are endless! Pumpkin Salad with Crispy Sage anyone?
- 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 try Walnut and Mushroom Parcels where the cabbage is the wrapping
- Shallots – great as the base for almost anything, sweet and tasty
- Spring greens – 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 – or swedes (depending on where you are from), spicy and earthy, wonderful in Gluten Free Vegan Haggis, soups, get them with the tops on and use the tops as greens.