WHATS IN SEASON IN AUGUST

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It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in my mum’s kitchen writing up my blog post about what’s in season in July, I can’t believe how fast this summer is whizzing past, this is my excuse for taking so long to post it anyway. This is going to be a short post as much of the fruit and veg in season in August is just a continuation of June and July seasonal food.

GOING OUT OF SEASON

WATERMELON – Thankfully this refreshing fruit is in season till the end of August so we still have plenty of time to enjoy it.  

IN SEASON 

SWEETCORN – These golden gems are in season on the cob from Mid-August till Mid-September. The kernels when ripe are sweet and juicy. Due to the natural sugars in the kernels it can turn to starch quickly this makes the kernels tougher and less sweet. TIP: If you keep the sweetcorn in the husk it stays fresh for longer. SUGGESTION: I find the best way to eat sweetcorn is to cook it and then add some butter or you can never go wrong with tuna and sweetcorn. If you want to be a bit more adventurous some sweetcorn fritters are an ideal quick supper. 

PLUM – This juicy stoned fruit comes in a variety of different colours such as yellow, red and dark purple. As well as the variety in colour plums also have a variety in taste, some are sweet and some are tart. Plums are normally in season all year round however the British variety comes in to Season mid-August till October. TIP: When choosing plums avoid the ones that feel soft where the dimple is as they’re overripe. SUGGESTION: An obvious thing to make with plums is Plum Jam, which can be a nice alternative to your bog standard strawberry or raspberry jam. you could also make an upside down plum cake as a nice afternoon tea treat. 

FIG – This unusual fruit originally comes from Asia, but are now widely available across the Mediterranean. Figs aren’t really juicy but they are very decedent and they come in a variety of luscious colours such as white, green and red. Figs are in season between August and October. TIPS: Figs are best eaten at room temperature. Also when cleaning them make sure to gently wipe them with a damp cloth. SUGGESTION: Figs are lovely in a salad with some Goat cheese, or roasted with some honey for an extra treat. 

 

 

 

 

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SEASONAL FOOD IN JULY

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It’s almost July and that means new fruit and veg are coming in to season and sadly some are going out of season soon so we only have a short time to enjoy them. Below you will find a list of fruit and veg going out of season as well as those coming into season. Click here if you want to read my SEASONAL FOOD IN JUNE post to see what fruit and veg are still in season at the moment.

 

GOING OUT OF SEASON

  • ASPARAGUS –  These lovely green shoots come in to season from May to July. They come in a variety of colours; purple, white and green. Green Asparagus tends to be British and American, Purple is French and white is Spanish and Dutch. They are also full of nutritional goodness with high levels of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium. When trying to pick the perfect Asparagus look for the straight and firm shoots. When preparing this just wash them. TIP: The best way to store them is to wrap them in damp kitchen roll, place in a plastic bag and store in the salad drawer. SUGGESTION: Asparagus and cheese tart is a great option for a picnic (obviously if the British Summer weather permits).
  • CHERRY- These are only in Season for a very short amount of time; June till July, however they are at their peak Mid-July. Cherries come in hundreds of varieties and the ruby red flesh can be sweet or sour. Pale cherries are more sweet while the darker ones tend to be more acidic, the best cherries to buy are the ones with the stalks still attached and shiny. TIP: Keep unwashed cherries in the fridge for 3-4 days and wash just before serving, they also freeze really well. Sweet cherries are suitable for eating, while the more sour ones are best in pies, crumbles and sauces.  SUGGESTION: A Cherry cheesecake is the perfect balance between nice and creamy and tartness, this would be the perfect dessert for a summer dinner party. 
  • BLACKCURRANT – They are in season from June to August, however at their peak mid June to July. These little black jewels are the most vibrant coloured and flavoured of the currant family, blackcurrants are highly aromatic and have a delicious tart flavour. When buying blackcurrants look for the firm, shiny ones with no broken skins. TIP: If you are cooking blackcurrants to make in to a sauce try to not overcook them as this will make them lose their flavor. SUGGESTION: Blackcurrants are the perfect addition to a summer pudding or summer berry jam.
  • NEW POTATOES – See my SEASONAL FOOD IN JUNE post for info on this delicious versatile potato. 

IN SEASON

  • BLACKBERRY – These wonderful berries come in to season in July till Mid-October time, so there is a huge amount of time for us to enjoy their delicious goodness. Blackberries are very juicy and are best eaten raw, and even better they are full of vitamin C. They are a very delicate fruit therefore avoid washing them if possible, if you have to do it wash them just before using them and drain well. TIP: When storing Blackberries, place them on a layer of kitchen paper on a plate, this is so they don’t crush each other and store them in the fridge, take them out an hour before using them. SUGGESTION: Blackberry coulis or blackberry sauce would be perfect to make as an addition to pour over ice cream, an ideal way to spice up boring old vanilla ice cream. 
  • BASIL – This aromatic herb is mostly used in Mediterranean cuisine and is best eaten in July and August. Freshly cut basil should be kept in a damp kitchen towel, placed in a freezer bag, it will keep for up to 2 days. TIP: If you want to be more economical buy a basil plant and keep it on a sunny windowsill and then you will have near enough a constant supply (however if your like me and can’t look after plants just buy the prepacked basil leaves). SUGGESTION: I love to eat Basil in a salad with sliced mozzarella and tomato, drizzled with balsamic syrup, this is an ideal light summer salad for lunch or it’s used as the main ingredient in green pesto. 
  • BEETROOT – This root vegetable is at it’s prime from July to January. Beetroot has a wonderful rich, earthy and sweet flavour in addition to the vibrant purple colour (which also decides to stain everything it touches including your fingertips). The favourite way to eat beetroot in the UK is pickled. TIP: When deciding which is the best fresh beetroot to buy pick the ones with stalk and make sure they are not wilting, also the roots should be intact. SUGGESTION: Beetroot can be the surprise ingredient in a Chocolate and beetroot cake. Trust me I know it sounds weird but you can’t even taste it, it just adds moisture to the cake, a bit like carrots do in a carrot cake, however please whatever you do DON’T add the pickled stuff cause that won’t taste good. 
  • BROCCOLI – Available the end of July till the end of October, Broccoli is part of the cabbage and cauliflower family. Look for firm bright green and undamaged heads however if the head is already yellow this means it’s past its peak, also the stalks should be firm. TIP: Broccoli can deteriorate rapidly when exposed to air, supermarkets often wrap it in cellophane therefore always choose the unwrapped type if you can and if it still looks good this means that it has been recently picked. SUGGESTION: Broccoli would be a wonderful addition to a beef stir fry with an oyster sauce. 
  • PEACH – At it’s peak near the end of July till September, Peaches when ripe will have a fragrant aroma and will start to go yellow around the stem, when you squeeze them they should feel firm however still have some give. TIP: If you have to cut a peach and don’t plan on finishing it brush the sides with lemon juice to prevent it going brown. SUGGESTION; Peach cupcakes with peach cream cheese frosting is the perfect summer bake to use this delicious seasonal fruit. 

Come back the end of July for My Seasonal Food in August post.

SOURCE: BBC Good Food.

MY FAVE FOOD ITEM OF THE MOMENT

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Summer is the season where everyone seems to go diet crazy in their efforts to get the perfect beach body. At the moment I have been trying healthy smoothies as a nice sweet treat instead of heading straight for the chocolate, sweets,  ice cream and all other things naughty but nice. In my search for smoothie recipes I kept coming across ones that included little black seeds called Chia Seeds. The popularity of this SUPERFOOD got me intrigued on what the fuss was about, so I done my research and I was shocked to discover how much goodness they contain, there is so many good nutrients in these little black seeds and they can have important health benefits for your brain and body.

If you are as intrigued as I was about this Superfood of goodness then look no further all the reasons why you should be including these black jewels in to your diet right now are below. If you want a summary for all the information on Chia Seeds and don’t want to read the nitty gritty info I have included a quick summary at the end.

 

 

FULL OF NUTRITIONAL GOODIES

  • Chia seeds are made up of dietary fibre, protein, healthy fats as well as healthy minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium.
  • They are really high in fibre, which means they are really good at keeping your digestive system in order, chia seeds are a soluble fibre which means it encourages a healthy digestive system by feeding the good microbes in your gut.
  • Chia seeds are able to absorb a lot of water, this means that they plump up and help you feel fuller for longer. Here comes the BUT, due to the amount of water they are able to absorb it can cause a certain area to become blocked if you catch my drift, so it’s really important to drink plenty of water after eating anything with Chia Seeds, however that can’t be a bad thing it has certainly made me drink loads more water and I can already see and feel my body thanking me for it.
  • If your not a big fan of fish like me and worried that your not getting enough omega-3s in your diet then look fear not, yes you have guessed it chia seeds are jam packed with them as well. However the only downside to the omega-3s in chia seeds is they are a bit more difficult for our bodies to digest than fish omega-3s, I would suggest grounding the chia seeds to make it easier on your body to digest and also to get the goodies it needs.

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THE LOOK AND TEXTURE

  • Chia seeds come in black and white however there is not much difference in taste or texture. The appearance is basically just described in the name, they are black SEEDS.
  • They have a very weird texture when immersed in water, they go from little black seeds to a texture and a look that I can only describe as looking like frog spawn. If you mix it with yogurt the look isn’t so bad. Once you get over the look these will soon become your new foodie best friend.

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SUMMARY 

  • 3 x more iron than spinach.
  • 3-5 x more calcium than milk.
  • 8 x more omega-3 than salmon.
  • 15 x more antioxidants than blueberries.
  • Help control appetite and balance blood sugar
  • Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Can be used for baking as a butter substitute
  • Control sugar cravings and aids in weight loss
  • Provide fiber, protein, antixoidants and minerals
  • They are affordable and chemical-free
  • Improve memory, mood and overall energy
  • Improve health of skin, nails and hair

I hope you try these little magic seeds out, if you do let me know what you think of them.

SEASONAL FOOD IN JUNE

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At the end of every month I will be posting a list of food coming in to season for the coming month. I think June is an ideal month to start this off with as many of my favorite fruit and veg are in season. I will be posting information on my fave fruit and veg however there is a lot more in season than those mentioned in my post, check out this link http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/all if you want to find out more. I’ll also be including recipes where you can use the ingredients. I’m hoping this challenge will encourage me to use more in season food and will also give you some ideas on how to use them and encourage you to take advantage of what is in season. If you have any requests/suggestions of what recipes you would like to see, please feel free to comment below.

  • STRAWBERRIES  Strawberries are reaching there peak in June and are in season until early September. The perfect place I love to get Strawberries is a fruit picking farm. Some of my favorite childhood memories are walking round the fruit farm picking strawberries with my grandparents and eating more strawberries than what I put in the basket. SUGGESTION: Strawberry jam is ideal to make with the strawberries. TIP: Never wash your strawberries before putting them in the fridge as this will cause them to go soggy, and nobody likes a soggy strawberry. 
  • RASPBERRIES These are in season for the same amount of time as Strawberries and are also available at fruit picking farms. SUGGESTION: Make a summer fruit crumble using strawberries, and other delicious berries. TIP: Raspberries are very delicate therefore try to avoid washing them as the stream of water from the tap can cause them to disintegrate, if they need cleaned pat them with a damp tissue.
  • WATERMELON – It comes in to season mid-June until late August . The flesh of the melon is deliciously crisp, sweet and refreshing, making it the ideal fruit to indulge on in the summer months. SUGGESTION:  I love to eat frozen watermelon in the summer as a healthier version to an ice lolly. It also tastes great added to a feta cheese salad as it helps to cut through the saltiness and richness of the feta. TIP: When buying cut watermelon look out for the ones with the brightly coloured flesh and black seeds as opposed to the little white ones, as these will have the best flavour. 
  • RHUBARB – This will actually be out of going out of season this month, so there is only a small amount of time left to take advantage of this tart fruit. I have very fond memories of my grandfather growing this in his garden, stewing it in a pan with loads of sugar and me sitting down to eat it with loads of custard, yum heaven!!! SUGGESTION : You can eat this stewed with custard or if you want to try something different make a rhubarb upside-down cake. TIP: Keep the leaves on the rhubarb until your ready to eat it as this will help it to stay fresh, you need to ideally eat rhubarb within 2 days as it can wilt quickly.
  • APRICOTS – These are in season until September. I love Apricots fresh and dried. Dried apricots are a perfect healthy on the go snack. SUGGESTIONAn apricot butter cake is ideal for an afternoon treat if you have friends coming over. TIPAn apricots colour isn’t always a good guide to flavour however stay away from very pale ones. 
  • MINT – This lovely herb is in season from May till September. I love mint as its so versatile and easy to use. I love to add it to black tea when i’m in the mood for something different instead of the traditional milky tea. SUGGESTION: You can make a nice summary drink like a mojito with mint or make minted peas as a nice side dish when having a BBQ. TIP: Store in a plastic sealed bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. The little leaves at the top of the sprig are the sweetest.  
  • NEW POTATOES  These delicious little potatoes are in season from April till July. The great thing about new potatoes is you can eat them hot or cold, and even better they are hassle free because you don’t have to peel them, just rinse any dirt away and cook whole. SUGGESTION: I love to make potato salad with my new potatoes, it’s always been a staple dish at BBQ’s in my family. For something different you could make crispy new potatoes instead of chips as a side dish. TIP: Unwashed potatoes last longer as the dirt protects them from being bruised. 
  • AUBERGINE  Aubergines are actually a fruit and are from the berry family. They are in season between late May till October. When buying aubergines make sure to pick the firm glossy ones. They are perfect for vegetarians as they have quite a meaty taste. I however am not a fan of Aubergines however they are a staple in my house as my husband loves them.  SUGGESTION: The most common dish made with Aubergines is a moussaka however I normally stuff them with mince, tomatoes and parsley and cook in the oven. If you would like to see a recipe let me know in the comments below. TIP: To prevent any discoloration cut your aubergines just before cooking.