Summer bounty in Britain is endless and varied. If you have your own garden or allotment, you are probably enjoying your hard work the most right now, and if you visit any farmers markets, you’ll find them overflowing with wonderful, colourful produce!
Summer root vegetables are abundant and at their sweetest; carrots, beetroot, radishes and fennel bulbs are great raw or gently cooked (roasting is my favourite for all of the above), sliced, spiralised or grated. I love making different slaws in the summer, adding natural yogurt and a little mustard in place of mayonnaise for a healthier option, and sprinkling over sesame or other seeds to add some extra interest.
One of my favourite vegetables, aubergines, are now in season; their glossy purple flesh the perfect basis for exotic flavours and spices; roasted or grilled and drizzled in tahini sauce, served with soft cheese and honey, or pulped into smoky baba ganoush.
Greens are plentiful, from a wide selection of salad leaves, a staple for me all through the summer, to celery, cucumber, broccoli, peas and beans, and another favourite, courgettes. Try to catch a few of the flowers before the courgettes themselves. They are just delicious stuffed with ricotta and fried, and look so pretty as a dinner party starter.
The stone fruit and berry season continues, an instant, healthy and delicious breakfast, snack or dessert. I freeze plenty for later in the year too. Raspberries, blackberries and currents freeze particularly well.
Finally, the joy of my garden, tomatoes, are in season. I personally love cherry and baby plum tomatoes, their sweetness (especially picked straight off the plant) is irresistible! I only have one or two plants a year, but find that gives me a bounteous crop. If you have extra, try making rich tomato sauce and freezing it in batches. It lasts well and you can even use up those tomatoes which refuse to ripen completely at the end of the season. Pick any that are still rather green and wrap in a paper bag or newspaper and leave for a week or so. You’ll find many turn red (throw out any that don’t colour at this point). They won’t be as sweet but are great for cooking with.
Fruit in season: Blueberries, Cherries, Currants, Elderflowers, Gooseberries, Greengages, Loganberries, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tayberries
Vegetables in season: Aubergine, Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cavolo nero, Celery, Courgettes/ courgette flowers, Cucumber, Fennel, Fresh Peas, Green Beans, Lettuce and Salad Leaves, Peas/ snap peas, Peppers, New potatoes, Radishes, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Spring Onions, Sorrel, Spinach, Sweetcorn, Tomatoes, Watercress