Which ingredients are in season this month? If you love British seasonal food then December is full of festive feasts and hearty ingredients. There are some well loved seasonal imports at this time of year too, including fine cheeses and the best of the bright, tangy citrus fruits.
Here’s what to buy this December at the market, or pick from your kitchen garden or allotment.
Fruit in season in December
Apples, cranberries, medlars, pears (from store), quinces.
Nuts in season in December
Almonds (imported), hazelnuts (from store), sweet chestnuts (imported or from store), walnuts (from store).
Best imported seasonal fruit
Caribbean pineapples, clementines, dates, passion fruit, pomegranates, satsumas, tangerines.
Vegetables in season in December
Beetroot (stored), Brussels sprouts and sprout tops, celeriac, celery (white fenland), chard (grown under cover), chicory, endive, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, pak choi (grown under cover), parsnips, pumpkin and winter squash (from store), salsify, scorzonera, swedes, turnips, winter cabbage (Savoy, red, white), winter radish (stored), winter salad leaves (grown under cover).
Available most months in good condition: button mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, maincrop potatoes, onions, rocket.
Herbs in season in December
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 December
Sloes, wild mushrooms (winter chanterelles, truffle).
Take great care when foraging as it’s easy to confuse edible and poisonous ingredients.
Fish in season in December
Seasonal fish varies greatly around the UK, and from year to year, but here’s a rough guide to what’s on sale now.
Brill, clams, coley, Cornish sardine / pilchard, crab, dab, Dover sole, flounder, hake, lemon sole, mussels, oysters (native), pike, plaice, pouting, red gurnard, scallops, sea bass, sprats, whiting, winkles.
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 December, less sustainable
Cod, haddock, wild halibut, wild turbot.
In good condition almost all year: herring, farmed sea bream and turbot, megrim sole, sustainably-fished monkfish, rope-grown mussels and prawns.
Meat, poultry and game in season in December
Goose, guinea fowl, grouse, hare, partridge, pheasant, turkey (best quality breeds), woodcock, wild duck.
Always available in good condition: beef, chicken, pork, farmed venison, rabbit, wood pigeon.
Cheese in season in December
Stilton, blue Wensleydale. Imported: Munster, Vacherin Mont d’Or.
Many quality mature cheeses are available year-round.
Do you have any favourites among all these delicious foods in season in December? I can’t wait to pick up a box of clementines, they’re the perfect Christmassy snack.