British seasonal food in January – what to eat now

Happy New Year to everyone, and it’s time to mark the beginning of 2024 with a comprehensive guide to the best British seasonal food in January. We have some tasty fruits, vegetables, herbs, fish, meats and cheeses to enjoy at their peak right now.

Home-grown ingredients can be less varied this month, but they’re good for filling and hearty dishes such as casseroles, stews, soups and pies. It’s helpful to supplement your diet with imports or stored ingredients to make more varied and healthy meals, especially if you’re looking for lighter bites or vegan recipes at the moment.

Fruit in season in January

British seasonal food in January fruit UK and imported
Clockwise from top left: apples, blood oranges, pears, pomegranates

British-grown seasonal fruit

  • apples (from store)
  • pears (from store)
  • rhubarb (very early forced)

Best imported seasonal fruit

  • blood oranges
  • clementines
  • dates
  • passion fruit
  • pineapples (Caribbean)
  • pomegranate
  • Seville oranges
  • tangerines

Nuts in season

  • hazelnuts (from store)
  • walnuts (from store)

Vegetables in season in January

British Seasonal Food in January vegetables veg UK
Clockwise from top left: Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, swedes, Brussels sprouts tops

  • Brussels sprouts and their tops
  • cabbages (Savoy and other winter types)
  • celeriac
  • chicory
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • kale
  • leeks
  • parsnips
  • salsify
  • scorzonera
  • swedes

You can also find leafy crops grown under cover (endive, lamb’s lettuce, mustards and other winter salad leaves), stored pumpkins and winter squash, crops that can store in the ground or boxed in sand (beetroot, turnip and winter radish) and very early varieties of purple sprouting broccoli.

[Available most months in good condition: broccoli, button mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, maincrop potatoes, onions, rocket.]

Herbs in season in January

  • chervil (grown under cover)
  • winter savory

[Always available: chives, coriander and parsley grown under cover; older leaves of hardy perennials like bay, rosemary, sage, thyme.]

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Recommended seasonal veg books & box delivery

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Foraged / wild foods in January

British Seasonal Food in January wild foraged food uk and imported
Left to right: White truffle (Italian), black truffle

A very quiet month for wild and foraged food.

  • truffles (mostly imported)

[Take great care when foraging as it’s very easy to confuse edible and poisonous ingredients.]

Recommended foraged & wild food books

Fish in season in January 2023

British Seasonal Food in January fish shellfish seafood UK
Clockwise from top left: cockles, pollock, whiting, scallops

January is a great month for many different types of fish and shellfish. Fish stocks change from year to year and vary around different parts of the UK’s coastline, but here’s a rough guide to the latest information.

Sustainable British fish

  • brill
  • clams
  • cockles
  • dab
  • flounder
  • gurnard (grey, red)
  • haddock
  • hake
  • halibut (farmed)
  • mackerel
  • monkfish
  • mussels
  • oysters
  • pike
  • pollock
  • pouting / bib
  • prawns
  • sole (Dover / common, lemon, witch / Torbay)
  • spider crab
  • sprat / whitebait
  • trout (rainbow)
  • turbot (wild)

[To the best of my knowledge, the list above excludes critically endangered fish, but this can change at short notice. Visit The Good Fish Guide from the Marine Conservation Society for latest lists.]

Less sustainable fish

You should also be able to source some of these from a responsible fishmonger in January:

  • cod (line caught)
  • halibut (wild)
  • langoustines / scampi
  • razor clams
  • scallops (king, queen)
  • seabream / black bream
  • squid
  • whelks

[In good condition almost all year: arctic char, herring, farmed sea bream and turbot, megrim sole, sustainably-fished monkfish, rope-grown mussels, prawns, rainbow trout.]

Recommended seasonal fish & shellfish books

Meat, poultry and game in season in January

British Seasonal Food in January meat game and poultry UK
Clockwise from top left: guinea fowl, venison, pheasant, partridge

There’s quite a wide range of game available in January too, plus guinea fowl and a few others:

  • capercaillie
  • duck (wild)
  • goose (wild)
  • guinea fowl
  • mallard
  • partridge
  • pheasant
  • snipe (common)
  • teal
  • venison (fallow, red hinds, roe doe, sika)
  • widgeon
  • woodcock

[Always available in good condition: beef, chicken, pork, rabbit, farmed venison, wood pigeon.]

Recommended meat, game & poultry books

Cheese in season in January

British Seasonal Food in January cheese cheeses UK French
Clockwise from top left: Mrs Appleby’s Cheshire, mature Stilton, Morbier, Munster

Yes, Stilton is not just for that Christmas cheeseboard, it’s great in January too. Here are the best seasonal offerings from home and abroad:

British-made January cheese

  • Appleby’s Cheshire
  • mature blue cheeses (Stilton, blue Wensleydale)

Imported seasonal cheese

  • Morbier
  • Munster

You should also be able to find some really good Alpine cheeses for making a fondue with. ‘Tis the season.

[Many quality mature cheeses are available year-round, especially hard cheeses.]

Recommended cheese & wine books + delivery

Enjoying this guide? Try these:

Favourite British seasonal food in January

Here at Golightly Gardens we’ve declared casserole and soup season fully open, and any interesting combinations of bangers, mash and gravy are hot hot hot right now. For example, we’re big fans of mashed celeriac, swede (AKA ‘neeps’ which are definitely not turnips), or carrot, with or without the humble spud smooshed in there too.

I’m also planning an easy pasta bake with seasonal leeks and blue cheese, plus a few leaves of fresh thyme from our outdoor plant that’s somehow survived the recent storms and lashing rain.

On the fruit front (try saying that quickly after a glass of wine or two), I fancy a weekend pear and hazelnut crumble on the British seasonal side of things. However, it’s the tropical and Med imports that really turn my head most in January, so we’ll be having blood oranges and pomegranate to brighten up our salads, and grilled pineapple with a drop of kirsch and vanilla for an easy dessert.

What’s on your menu or shopping list this January?

Do you have any favourite British seasonal ingredients this month?

Recommended general seasonal books for inspiration

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6 Comments

  1. Thanks for the info. I especially like the Nuts In Season section as my favourite nuts are hazelnuts and walnuts 🙂

  2. As for Jerusalem Artichokes. I love them (though I don’t enjoy peeling them) but it’s rare that I see them in shops. I am from Denmark and used to see them in supermarkets all the time, but in London, I only think I’ve seen them a few times and only in specialised food markets/shops. Do you have any recommendations on where to get them in London?

  3. Dear Penny, love to hear from you. I’ll be happy to join the self care week mid-january. I am doing an empty storecupboard right now in order to prepare this coming spring. I have so much harvests to eat from last year that my challenge is going, up until end of april, 3 meals per day 7/7 a week oups….Someone forgot to do the stocktake….

  4. Ida,

    Have you checked Waitrose? I bought Jerusalem artichokes last week.and they were delicious.

  5. Pear and hazelnut crumble?!? Phwoar – that sounds delicious. Do you have a recipe???

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