Seasonal foods for June

Ask any chef worth his or her salt about getting ingredients at their best and their cheapest, and chances are one of the first things they’ll mention is seasonal foods. When certain foods are in season they’re at their tastiest and most nutrient-packed, and if there’s a glut of them then the price tends to go down too. How’s that for a stroke of luck?

A quick look at the menus of Michelin-starred chefs always turns up a selection of seasonal goodies, but you anyone who lives near a half-decent market can get a taste of the good life too. If you’re hoping to enjoy seasonal foods and seriously slash the costs at the same time then stick to the UK-grown fruit and vegetables, but if you have a little more to spend and fancy a treat you then can also add exotic imports or meat, fish and quality cheeses to your basket.

What’s good in June?

Fruit: blackberries (early), cherries, elderflowers, gooseberries, raspberries, redcurrants, rhubarb (outdoor unforced), strawberries, tayberries. Imported figs and mangoes.

Vegetables: asparagus (last UK), baby carrots, broad beans, broccoli, chervil, chives, courgettes and flowers, cucumbers, fennel, globe artichokes, green beans, horseradish, lettuce, mangetout, new potatoes, peas, peppers, radishes, rocket and other salad leaves, samphire, spinach, sorrel, spring onions, tomatoes, watercress. Imported aubergines.

Fish and shellfish: black bream, brown and rainbow trout, brown shrimp, cuttlefish, first fresh kippers (run until Oct), grey mullet, haddock, hake, john dory, lobster, pollack, prawns, sardines, sea bass, sea trout, signal crayfish, spider crab, whitebait, wild salmon. Don’t pay extra for oysters, mackerel, mussels, scallops and flatfish right now – they’re all spawning and won’t taste as good. 

Meat, poultry and game: hogget (1 year old lamb/mutton), Welsh lamb.

Cheeses: ewe’s milk cheeses, Stinking Bishop, British goats’ cheese, Farmhouse Cheddar. Bouille, Crottin de Chavignol, Saint Marcellin, Sancerre.

I think this is probably my favourite month for simple deliciousness: new potatoes, UK asparagus, strawberries and cherries all hit the spot. Might be time for a steamed artichoke if I can find one for a good price too. Must dig out some recipes.

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