Summer is the most amazing time for fruit and veg. It is abundant and delicious. Summer provides a rich seam of ingredients for an incredibly varied and delicious gluten-free, vegan diet. As summer warms up and the weather becomes a bit warmer (really it does!) seasonal fruit and veg starts to become more abundant. Fully ripened fruit, bursting with natural sweetness, is a thing to behold.
In the northern hemisphere June, July and August tend to give us the best weather of the year and are officially our summer months.
June gives us the longest day (21 June), Wimbledon and the Tour de France and really great tele watching!
By July, summer time is in full swing. Holiday season is here and it is a time to relax a little.
The school holidays are well underway in August and the weather tends to be rather wet (my birthday is in August, I remember these things)… If we’re lucky, August is lazy, warm and wonderful. The hustle and bustle quietens down and superb August Seasonal Produce makes for easy dishes, where ripe, sweet flavours shine through.
Summer seasonal fruit and vegetables are abundant and we should make the most of preserving methods: pickling, jam, chutney, fermentation. All are wonderful ways to enjoy the abundance through the winter and into next year.
If you want to find out exactly what is in season in summer check out my FREE Seasonal Produce Posters. There are two posters you can save and/ or print to use as quick reference guides to find out exactly what’s in-season and when. 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. I try to only buy fresh fruit and veg that is in season for several reasons…
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.
Summer Produce Roundup – What’s In Season
Summer Seasonal Produce is quite amazing. There is so much fabulous soft fruit that peaks in the summer. Strawberries start to appear in June, Cherries arrive in July (hurray!) and August brings us soft, warm raspberries. I love summer! And that’s before we’ve even looked at veg.
Summer Produce Roundup – Fruit
Summer fruit is wonderful. Really, really amazing. We have…
- Apples: Bramley – the best bakers for crumble, tarts and preserves
- Apricots – perfect just the way they are or make jam if you have lots
- Black/ white/ redcurrants – perfect little tart flavour bursts, best used in jams and preserves. They make a fabulous wine
- Blueberries – in season these are a magical flavour when they burst in your mouth. Simply lovely in Gluten-Free, Vegan Lemon and Blueberry Cheesecake and for a substantial breakfast try Blueberry Polenta Muffins
- Cherries – warm from the sun cherries are an delightful flavour. Life is too short to stone a cherry. Just eat them (unless you have too many and then get making some preserves)
- Elderflowers – pick these and make a really simple Elderflower Cordial
- Figs – just amazing straight from the tree if you can stop yourself from eating them figs are great in warm salads and in tarts
- Greengages – small green plums is the best description. Great eaten fresh, baked in a tart and a brilliant preserve ingredient
- Loganberries – a cross between blackberries and raspberries. Fabulous as they are, in tarts, jams, pickles or you could try loganberry wine
- Nectarines – fabulous and juicy, slice in half and grill for Grilled Nectarine Salad with Rocket and Walnuts
- Peaches – grilled peach salad or peach chutney are two winners
- Pears: williams – (AKA barlett pear) just wonderful to eat and it holds its shape well when cooked to great in Pear Frangipane Tart. I adore pears in summer salads such as Endive Salad with Pears and Almonds
- Plums – fabulous in preserves but also great stewed with cinnamon and nutmeg and served with gluten-free, vegan icecream
- Raspberries – always good with chocolate – Chocolate, Hazelnut and Raspberry Torte 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 with roasted apricot and Roasted Rhubarb with Crumble Topping
- Strawberries – need no introduction, perfect the way they are. However, also wonderful in Strawberry and Raspberry Eaton Mess and the fabulously indulgent Uber Rich Chocolate and Strawberry Brownies
Summer Produce Roundup – Herbs
Herbs are in full-flight in summer. Basil is a wonderful salad flavour as well as perfect with tomatoes sauces. Superb summer herbs 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
- Coriander – some people have a strong dislike of coriander (like me with grapefruit!) but the slightly soapy pungency works so well with Vietnamese style salads and tofu dishes as well as curry. Try out Chick Peas and Kale in Tamarind Tomato Sauce
- Lavender – not just an amazing border but wonderful in Lavender Ice Cream, sorbet and with strawberries
- 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 added to Vietnamese Summer Rolls, amazing in cocktails like Cranberry Mojito
- Oregano – (AKA wild marjoram) wonderful in salads and tomorato sauces
- Parsley: curly, flat – a robust herb that works so well with walnuts and really fabulous in Carrot, Parsley and Butter Bean Soup
- Rosemary – the smell of fresh rosemary is instantly relaxing. Wonderful with roast potatoes. Really fabulous in Gluten Free, Vegan Rosemary and Sea Salt Crackers
- Sage – whole sage leaves fried until crisp top and complete any gnocchi dish also very, very good with mushrooms in Baked Mushrooms With Crispy Sage
- 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
Summer Produce Roundup – Vegetables
Vegetables are abundant in summer. Look out for the garden peas. Too good to cook, eat them straight from the pod. Summer seasonal vegetables (and they will vary according to region) include
- Artichoke: Jerusalem – can make you windy but great in Jerusalem Artichoke and Sweet Potato Soup
- Asparagus: green/ red – keep it simple with Pan Fried Asparagus with Olive Oil and Lemon
- Aubergine – bake whole to make Baba Ganoush, fry slices and bake in Porcini and Cavolo Nero 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. How about Beetroot and Millet Mega-Salad
- Broccoli: calabrese, purple sprouting – a stirling vegetable that is wonderful steamed and served with slivered almonds. Light and summery in Broccoli, Kale and Pea Salad
- Cabbage: red, white – wonderful shredded in Cabbage and Carrot Salad, red is particularly great as a side cooked with star anise
- Carrots – almost too good to cook. Grate and slice in to strips in salads with toasted caraway seeds.
If you want a light, delightful summer soup try Carrot and Lemon Soup
- Cavolo nero – a wonderful dark green its almost black and so easy to grow, amazing steamed with olive oil, salt and pepper. I adore cavolo nero in the super rich Porcini and Cavolo Nero Lasagne
- Celeriac – fabulous roasted and made in to a silky soup or raw in Celeriac Caper and Rocket Salad
- Celery – one of the foundations of classic cookery with a very distinctive taste. Great in salads with apples and walnuts or in stews and soups
- Chard – amazing and especially wonderful in Chard, Courgette and Pea Tart
- 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. For more oomph I recommend Endive Salad with Pears and Almonds
- 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. I adore Radish and Cress Salad
- Cucumber – hello cucumber! There is nothing better than in-season cucumber. Try it in Cucumber, Seaweed and Carrot Salad
- Edible flowers – lots available from borage to nasturtium a striking addition to any salad, the tastes are amazing
- Fennel – a lovely aniseed taste crunchy addition to salads – Fennel, Radish and Orange Salad. Great roasted with lemon
- Kohlrabi – turnip like but with distinct layers. The tops can be used as greens, the flesh is great in salads
- Lettuce: curly, lambs, round – one of the fundamental salad ingredients, keep it simple with a light dressing, enjoy the in season flavours. Or try one of my favourite soups Lettuce and Pea Soup
- Marrow – roast with lots of spices and use in soups
- 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
- Onions – a fundamental ingredient in many kitchens (except mine) and forms the foundation to many classic dishes
- Pak Choi – wonderful in a stir fry with chilli and soy sauce
- Parsnip – nutty, sweet and the best flavour comes from roasting and then you can use in a roast, make Parsnip and Walnut Soup with Walnut Pesto or how about the splendiferous Parsnip Loaf Cake With Orange Frosting
- Peas – if you must cook them use them in risotto at the last minute to keep their delicate texture and flavour or try a light,delicate and delicious Lettuce and Pea Soup
- Peppers: capsicum – versatile and available in several colours each with a subtly different flavour. Fabulous in a robust salad, as a key ingredient in Ratatouille, in Tofu and Green Peppers in 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. Try the incredibly simple and delightful Jersey Royal Potatoes with Mint
- 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
- 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 like Fennel, Radish and Orange Salad is a perfect showcase
- Rocket – growing like Billy-O at the moment, mustard hot, avocado and rocket salad is wonderful as is Celeriac Caper and Rocket Salad
- Romanesco – the most beautiful vegetable in the world. Crunchy and mild great in salads and steamed
- Samphire – there are lots of types of samphire. Mild and crunchy it is wonderful pickled, used in salads or lightly steamed
- Savoy cabbage – amazing really finely sliced in a stir fry or use to wrap Walnut and Mushroom Parcels
- 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 greens- delicate steam to get the best from their delicate flavour
- Spring Onions – great in salads and as a garnish to stir fries.
- Sweetcorn – fresh sweetcorn in a wonder try grilled whole on a barbecue or in a corn chowder
- Tomatoes – lots and lots of types of tomatoes in varying sizes, shapes and flavours. Serve at room temperature with a good olive oil and sea salt. More battered tomatoes can be made in to chutneys, pickles and tomato sauces
- Turnips – a much under rated salad vegetable, sweet and peppery, slice thinly with carrots and parsley or try Winter Vegetable Salad With Walnut Dressing
- Watercress – iron rich and peppery a wonderful salad foundation and you can make an awesome Watercress Soup.
In-season summer produce is incredible. I’m crazy about fresh, ripe strawberries. What’s your favourite??? Drop your thoughts in the comments below or on social media.