Welcome to the March Seasonal Produce Roundup! We celebrate St David’s Day on the first of this month: the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales. Tradition holds that St David died on on 01 March in 601. Pop a daffodil or leek in your lapel and celebrate Welsh culture (including lava bread!).
Spring is about to be sprung in the UK (once all the snow has thawed!!!) but we have to wait a little longer for spring to work its magic on UK fruit and vegetables. Cavolo nero (see main pic) is here with its very beautiful deep green colour and versatility. It cooks quickly and is stunning is stir fries.
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 – March 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 – March Seasonal Produce Roundup
March is still quiet for fruit and just forced rhubarb available – try it lightly pickled as a side to a roast vegetables.
Herbs – March Seasonal Produce Roundup
Seasonal herbs are static from February with bay and winter savoury available. Bay is a pretty brilliant addition to any casserole. Though wild nettles (not a herb but wild so included here) are starting to emerge. Try a wonderful nettle soup.
Vegetables – March Seasonal Produce Roundup
Vegetables in March are changing. The winter availability is dropping off and spring is not quite here so March is one of the quietest months for seasonal vegetables. There are however still lots of vegetables available to get creative with. Top picks include the picutred cavolo nero and the last of the pumpkins and squash. Available March seasonal vegetables (and they will vary according to region) include
- 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
- 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
- Pumpkin – wonderful roasted with spices and then the options are endless! Pumpkin Salad with Crispy Sage anyone?
- Purple sprouting broccoli – hello new season purple sprouting, wonderful steamed and really wonderful in Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Walnut Tart
- 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. Fabulous in soups: Jerusalem Artichoke and Sweet Potato Soup
- 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.