Seasonal produce guide: October’s best fruit and veg
A new month on the horizon means new seasonal produce. Locally grown and in abundant supply, these tasty morsels are perfect to incorporate into your October meal menus. This guide shows you how.
Nothing says autumn like a fruit bowl piled high with shiny apples, and while you’ll find them readily available throughout the year, British apples come into their sweet, crunchy best during the cooler months. If you find yourself overloaded, remember that apples can take a lead role in many a warming dessert. Peel them and drop them into a pot with gently simmering water to stew them, then use them as a delicious filling for crumble or pie. Alternatively, pile the stewed apples onto a steaming bowl of porridge for breakfast, or whip up a zingy apple sauce.
While many of us may have turned up our noses at brussel sprouts come Christmas time, these green morsels are super nutritious (think lots of fibre and antioxidants), and when cooked well, they can easily become your favourite part of Sunday dinner. Try roasting them to impart a crunchy, caramelised texture, sprinkling grated parmesan over the tray for extra flavour.
This knobbly, tough-skinned star is a severely underrated member of the autumn veggie lineup. With a flavour that’s both celery- and nut-like, celeriac is delicious either as a mash, roasted whole, grated into a celeriac rosti, or chopped finely into a salad. While the thick skin is too tough to eat, it makes a flavoursome addition to your veggie stock.
These plump, red berries are a regular sidekick to Christmas turkey, but they can come into use far ahead of the festive season. Their slightly sour flavour makes them a delicious addition to both sweet and savoury dishes. Simmer them into a delicious sauce, bake them into a pudding, or stir them into muffin batter or muesli bar mix.
Pumpkin has become something of a symbol for autumn - and for good reason. The sweet, orange flesh of this hefty vegetable makes it perfect fodder for warming roasts and soups. Chop the pumpkin into chunks and coat in olive oil, salt and pepper to roast, or simply place them in a steam basket. If you peel the skin off, try roasting it at a high heat with salt, pepper and olive oil to create pumpkin skin chips - yum!
A relative of the apple and pear, quince has a hard, bitter flesh that means it’s used almost exclusively for cooking. Try making your own quince jam, chutney or paste to be served as part of an autumnal cheese board, or bake it into a tart for an original take on a fruity dessert.
Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and sweet flavour, and there are almost endless ways to use them. Try them baked whole, then piled high with chilli beans, sour cream and cheese. Alternatively, eat them roasted or steamed as a side, mash them, cook them into a curry, or use them to sweeten healthier brownies.
Are you brave enough to try a salsify? Also called an oyster plant, it’s a root vegetable that tastes similar to an oyster when it’s cooked. Like a parsnip, it has pale white flesh and can be boiled, mashed, blended into soups, or stirred into stews. While you’ll want to peel away the hard brown skin, resist throwing it away - it makes a tasty addition to vegetable stock.
Another delicious extra for your tray of roast vegetables, swede has a sweet, earthy flavour. Like most other root vegetables, it’s tasty when cut into chunks and boiled, roasted or steamed, but it’s also a great ingredient for bulking up a curry or stew.
Before the potato, the humble turnip was the main source of nutrition for British peasants. While the purple-tinged taproot is delicious when roasted or steamed, the greens are a tasty source of nutrition as well. Like any other greens, they can be steamed, boiled, sauteed, or diced and mixed into salads.
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