Early autumn is traditional harvest time in Britain. Benefiting from the end of summer produce and the start of the winter crops as the weather turns cooler; autumn is one of the best times for tasty British fruit and vegetables.
Plenty of summer vegetables will still be available well into September or even October so enjoy them while they last. Rocket, watercress and various other hardier lettuce leaves will still be growing as the weather turns cooler while cucumber, tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes will slowly disappear as the days grow shorter.
Root vegetables are among the star produce at this time of year; beets, carrots and fennel are joined by parsnips, celeriac and turnips later in the year. Root vegetables tend to be high in vitamin C, useful for boosting the immune system and warding off the first of the winter colds and bugs. Dark green leaves are also a great source of vitamin C, so stock up on kale and cavolo nero. Steam lightly or massage the leaves with some lemon juice to make a salad.
The squash family are also coming into season in early autumn. Pumpkin and squash are from the Cucurbita family (along with cucumbers and courgettes). Not only fun to carve for Halloween, squashes are a great source of vitamins and minerals and are delightfully sweet so are good in sweet and savoury dishes. Try a pumpkin spiced latte or butternut squash cake.
Berry season fades with summer, but stone fruits take their place; plums and damsons make wonderful compotes, pies and jams, or are delicious just slow poached with a big dollop of ice cream. Sloes and quinces go well with savoury dishes, also made into jams and jellies, and of course, you have to save some sloes to make sloe gin! Simply wash and prick the little berries and add about 300g of them with 150g of caster sugar to 2/3rds of a litre bottle of gin. Shake thoroughly when you combine, then gently every day for about a week so the sugar dissolves, then leave for the juice to soak into the gin for at least a month (you can leave it for a couple of years if you want a very mature taste). Enjoy into the cold winter months with a dash of soda or tonic.
Aubergine, Beetroot, Cabbages (Savoy, red and white), Carrot, Cauliflower, Cavolo nero, Celery, Celeriac, Courgettes, Cucumber, Fennel, Field Mushrooms, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Marrow, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Rocket, Runner beans, Sorrel, Squashes, Sweetcorn, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Watercress
Apples, Blackberries, Damsons, Elderberries, Figs, Pears, Plums, Quinces, Sloes