There’s a huge wealth of British seasonal food available in August. The warmer weather brings us a whole new crop of heat loving fruits and vegetables, and game season officially begins. Here’s what’s good at the market and on the allotment this month.
Fruit in season in August
Apples (first), apricots, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries, damsons, figs, greengages, gooseberries, loganberries, peaches, peaches, plums, raspberries, redcurrants, strawberries, tayberries, whitecurrants
Nuts in season in August: Kentish cobnuts
Best imported seasonal fruit
Apricots, Caribbean pineapple, figs, melon (Charentais, cantaloupe, galia), peaches, nectarines
Vegetables in season in August
Aubergines, beetroot, broccoli (sprouting and calabrese), broad beans, celery, chard, chicory, courgettes, cucumbers, endive, fennel (Florence), green beans (French and runner), kohlrabi, leeks (baby), lettuce and other salad leaves, maincrop potatoes (first), mangetout, marrows, new potatoes, okra, pak choi, parsnips, peas, peppers, radishes, shallots, spinach, spring onions, summer squash, sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnips, watercress
Available most months in good condition: button mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, maincrop potatoes, onions, rocket.
Herbs in season in August
Basil, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, summer savory, tarragon, thyme, winter savory
Always available: chives, coriander, parsley grown under cover; older leaves of hardy perennials like bay, rosemary, sage, thyme.
Wild / foraged food in season in August
Bilberries / blaeberries, crabapples, samphire (marsh and rock), wild damsons, wild mushrooms (ceps / penny bun, chanterelles, field, puffball, truffles)
Take great care when foraging as it’s easy to confuse edible and poisonous ingredients.
Fish in season in August
Seasonal fish varies greatly around the UK, but here is a rough guide to what’s on sale now.
Black bream, brill, coley, Cornish sardine / pilchard, crab, crayfish (signal), dab, Dover sole, flounder, grey mullet, hake, langoustine, lemon sole, lobster, plaice (at its best), pollack, pouting, queen scallops, red mullet, sea bass, sea trout (and brown trout), tuna, whiting
To the best of my knowledge, the list above excludes critically endangered fish. Visit The Good Fish Guide from the Marine Conservation Society for latest lists.
Fish in season in August, less sustainable
Cod, haddock, mackerel, squid, wild halibut, wild salmon
In good condition almost all year: herring, farmed sea bream and turbot, megrim sole, sustainably-fished monkfish, rope-grown mussels, prawns.
Meat, poultry and game in season in August
Grouse (from the 12th), hare, lamb, snipe, venison (wild red deer)
Always available in good condition: beef, chicken, pork, rabbit, farmed venison, wood pigeon.
Cheese in season in August
Farmhouse Cheddar, goat’s cheese. Imported: Camembert, Reblochon.
Many quality mature cheeses are available year-round.
What are you going to cook? Any favourite ingredients in this list?