Monday, 2 January 2017

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in January

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.

What is in Season in January? 


January can often be one of the coldest months of the year but luckily winter veg lends itself perfectly to the cooking of hearty stews, bubbling soups and steaming puddings.  Just what you need after a cold walk.

Please note I have based this list on UK and Northern France.  

Vegetables


  • Turnips
  • Swede
  • Beetroot 
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Leeks
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Celeriac
  • Cavolo Nero and Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Red Cabbage
  • Lamb's Lettuce
  • Cauliflower
  • Romanesco 
  • Carrots 
  • Parsnips
  • Radicchio

Veg from stores:

  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins and squashes
  • Onions


Fruit


  • Yorkshire forced rhubarb
  • Apples (from stores)
  • Pears (from stores)

Foraging


There are only thin pickings to be had foraging in January but if you are lucky, in a mild winter in sheltered locations you will find some greens to pick including:


  • Chickweed
  • Wild garlic 
  • Nettles 
  • Dandelion leaves

What are your favourite ways to use January produce?  Do you like Borscht or perhaps you fancy a salad after all that Christmas fare such as this roasted squash and radicchio salad with buttermilk dressing. This recipe for dandelion greens and ginger tea sounds lovely and warming for a winter drink.

If you have a link to a recipe using produce available in January do let me know and I'll add it to this post.  I could certainly do with some ideas using Brussel sprouts as I have a good crop of these in the garden this winter.

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