Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness…

Seasonal October fruit and vegetables wordcloudMid-October and the autumnal burden of fruit and vegetables in the northern hemisphere is wonderful. Autumn produce is beautiful and plenty on markets, in shops and in gardens right now.

A roam around any market will remind you of the season; the mounds of apples, pears, courgette, turnip, cavolo nero will take your mind to cosy autumn and winter dishes. Although it is not that cold yet – we are only a few weeks from gloves, winter coats and sub-zero (Celsius!) temperatures.

Some of the most bountiful and productive (in the kitchen) produce at the moment are in the word cloud above. Fresh fruits and vegetables are key elements of a gluten free, vegan and free from diet. Make the most of them before winter arrives. To capture the ripe fruit and vegetables at their best keep recipes and dishes simple. Roasting vegetables (and fruits) allows the sugars produced during ripening to cook and the deep flavours will develop- roasted vegetable soup at this time of year is great. There are a myriad of simple dishes you can make with the wonderful seasonal produce we have on our doorsteps in October.

Keats’ poem alluded to in the post title captures the mood of autumn perfectly. We had to learn this poem by heart when I was at school and I still remember the first verse.

Ode to Autumn; John Keats 1795-1821
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too –
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

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