In-season carrots

It is June, summer time and the month of the longest day (21 June). Wimbledon and the Tour de France fill our screens.

As summer warms up and the weather becomes a bit more stable (really it does!) seasonal fruit and vegetables start to become more abundant.

Seasonal fruit is wonderful this month. We have

  • Apricots – perfect just the way they are or make jam if you have lots
  • Elderflowers – pick these and make a really simple elderflower cordial
  • Nectarines – fabulous and juicy, slice in half and grill for a warm salad with spinach and rocket
  • Pears: williams – (AKA barlett pear) just wonderful to eat and it holds its shape well when cooked to great in Pear Frangipane Tart
  • Raspberries – always good with chocolate – raw chocolate raspberry tart anyone?
  • Rhubarb: outdoor – I used to eat this straight from the ground dipped in sugar but if you don’t want to do that wonderful in an apricot and rhubarb crumble
  • Strawberries – need no introduction, perfect the way they are

Herbs seasonality also brings more choice. Basil is a wonderful salad flavour to enjoy this month. Available herbs this month include

  • Basil – aromatic and fabulous with tomatoes added to a Rich Tomato Sauce at the end of cooking or in a tomato salad
  • Bay – fabulous with any long cooked dish such as casseroles or roasts.
  • Borage – with a taste similar to cucumber it is great in salads, soups and with gluten free pasta. The flower is sweet and can be used to decorate desserts
  • Chives – delicate herbs with a strong flavour great garnish that actually adds flavour and depth to spinach and potato soup
  • Lovage – the leaves and stem add an intense celery-like flavour to soups and stews Fabulous with potatoes. Widely used in Netherlands, Germany and Romania
  • Marjoram – wonderful fresh in super simple tomato salad with olive oil and salt
  • Mint – fantastic in rice paper rolls, amazing in drinks
  • Oregano – (AKA wild marjoram) wonderful in salads and tomorato sauces
  • Parsley: curly, flat – a robust herb that works so well with walnuts
  • Rosemary – the smell of fresh rosemary is instantly relaxing. Wonderful with roast potatoes
  • Sage – whole sage leaves fried until crisp top and complete any gnocchi dish
  • Savory: summer – great with beans, the flavour reduces the longer it is cooked
  • Tarragon – delicate aniseed flavour which works wonderfully with delicately handled mushrooms
  • Thyme: common, lemon – pungent wonderful flavour. Amazing with roast potatoes, baked with nectarines and added to a warm salad

Vegetables are abundant in June. Look out for the garden peas. Too good to cook, eat them straight from the pod. Available June seasonal vegetables (and they will vary according to region) include

  • Artichoke: Jerusalem – can make you windy but great in soup
  • Asparagus: green/ red – keep it simple and grill or fry with olive oil and sea salt until just cooked and sprinkle with lemon juice
  • Aubergine – bake whole to make baba ghanoush, fry slices and bake in a gluten free, vegan lasagne or just wonderful in ratatouille
  • Beans: borlotti – fabulous in a fresh borlotti bean and rosemary soup
  • Beetroot – earthy and sweet. Gorgeous as a light pickle but amazing raw in salads
  • Broccoli: calabrese, purple sprouting – a stirling vegetable that is wonderful steamed and served with slivered almonds
  • Carrots – too good to cook. Grate and slice in to strips in salads with toasted caraway seeds
  • 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
  • Chard – fresh young chard is great in salads, older chard is great sautéd or steamed
  • Chicory/ endive/ radicchio – slightly bitter tasting but if you grill and use in a simple salad with olive oil and walnuts it is wonderful stuff
  • Chilli – I love chillies, use in everything (dependent upon the heat and flavour) from guacamole to Ma Po Tofu to Chilli Sin Carne and all the other amazing uses in between
  • Courgettes – underused as a salad vegetable or slice thinly, grill and add to salads with lemon and flaked almonds
  • Cress: mustard/ mixed – always available, what more do you need to top off a salad
  • Cucumber – hello cucumber, nothing better than in season cucumber with the seeds removed and sliced with sesame, soy sauce an toasted sesame seeds
  • Edible flowers – lots available from borage to nasturtium a striking addition to any salad, the tastes are amazing
  • Lettuce: curly, lambs, little gem, round – one of the fundamental salad ingredients, keep it simple with a light dressing, enjoy the in season flavours
  • Mushrooms: button / cup /flat (cultivated), enoki (Cultivated), morel (wild), 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
  • Peas – if you must cook them use them in risotto at the last minute to keep their delicate texture and flavour
  • Peppers: capsicum – versatile and available in several colours each with a subtly different flavour. Fabulous in a robust salad, as a key ingredient in ratouille, in tofu with green peppers and black bean sauce
  • Potatoes – early: Jersey royals, maris bard, pentland javelin – new potatoes are perfect with their waxy integrity for potato salads with a light dressing, mint and salt
  • Potatoes – main crop: anya, King Edward, marfona, maris piper, pink fir apple, rooster – perfect for Crispy Roast Potatoes, mashing or chips!
  • Radish: daikon/ mooli – fabulous as Japanese style pickle accompaniment or as the main ingredient in Chinese turnip cakes. The green tops are eaten in Pakistan
  • Radishes – the mustardy heat of home grown radishes is wonderful, a simple salad is a perfect showcase
  • Rocket – growing like Billy-O at the moment, mustard hot, avocado and rocket salad is wonderful
  • Shallots – little bulbs of flavour, sautéd shallots form the foundations for lots of dishes, try roasting whole for soup
  • Spinach – deep greens with a light metallic tinge, perfect in salads, great in bakes
  • Spring Onions – great in salads and as a garnish to stir fries.