Seasonal eating, I like to think, is a similar process.
I think it is completely possible that the nature knows best and that asparagus*, broccoli*, purple sprouting broccoli*, radishes*, rhubarb*, rocket*, sorrel*, spinach*, spring onions*, watercress are just what we need in Spring, after a long winter. All little packages of iron, vitamin C and fibre. In the summer fruit and veg is plenty and we can eat little and often. Come Autumn, who doesn't crave butternut squash, courgettes, marrow and fruit crumbles, stewed apples. Stocking up on our resources for the winter ahead, Then through the cold, shorter days artichoke*, beetroot*, butternut squash*, celeriac | celery*, chicory*, jerusalem artichoke*, kale*, kohlrabi*, leeks*, parsnips*, potatoes (maincrop)*, pumpkin*, swede*, turnips*, watercress*, wild mushrooms* are at their best, filling carbohydrate rich foods to keep our energy up and our bodies warm.
It is not fashion or fad to take a seasonal approach to food, it is common sense. Food tastes much better, (it actually 'tastes'....out of season tomatoes, anyone?....urrrgggggh!) it is aplenty, it should cost less (say no to supermarkets racking up the prices of something that is in season....it's NOT 'finest' it is simply being eaten when it should be, from where it should be, with less murky, science-y jiggery-pokery!) and when, even better it is prepared by you, it is wholesome!
artichoke*, aubergine*, beetroot*, broad beans*, broccoli*, carrots*, courgettes*, cucumber*, fennel*, french beans*, garlic*, kohlrabi*, leeks*, mangetout*, marrow*, onions*, peas*, peppers*, potatoes (maincrop)*, radishes*, rocket*, runner beans*, sorrel*, sweetcorn*, watercress*
Here in the city, I usually have to rely on our greengrocers, supermarkets and the occasional Farmer's Markets. I have however been doing some cyber 'surfing' and as with all things crafty there is an amazing foodie vibe out there too! I have found more markets and farmer's shops in my area, something I didn't think possible without living somewhere posh and having a car, thanks to the following sites. And have become wholly inspired and convinced by the idea and practicality of seasonal eating!www.localfoodadvisor.com, www.eattheseasons.co.uk, www.farmersmarkets.net
Have a browse! If you find something gorgeous, don't keep it to your ownsome....let us play too!
Quick Blackberry Jam
1lb blackberries (surprisingly few, I managed to collect 2lbs, just pootling along with the mini B's)
175ml of water
juice of 1 lemon (I used a lime as that is all I had to hand...as far as I can tell the jam is no the worse for it!)
Stew your fruit, gently, in the water, which takes about 20-25 minutes, mashing the fruit to extract as much juice as possible. This is a gorgeous process, I was happily surprised at the sweet smell of blackberries...just like a fruit pastille! The colour was glorious. I would love a cord dress that colour!
After this add your lemon juice (or in my case lime, I think it is probably something sciency about acids rather than for the flavour anyway!) and sugar, keeping the temperature down mix for 10-15 minutes to ensure all the sugar granules are dissolved.
Then rack up the heat! Boil rapidly and unafraid, for 8 minutes! Then the mess can begin.
Take your sterilised jars (and this is where I stray from Delia's sensible, measured tone...), place a jam funnel on top, and using a sieve pour your jam through, pushing with a spoon, to get the juice through quickly. Now Delia would have you sieve this into a hot bowl then pour into the jar....but I didn't really 'get' the two fold process and since I was only making enough for me and a neighbour, I couldn't see the sense. So straight into warm jars it went, using my tiny sieve! No need for great speed, there was ample time and the jam set fine! I even tried the pulp left over because it looked so good and I thought maybe like raspberry jam, the seeds would be fine. Don't make that mistake! On that account Delia is quite right, they are gross, hard and may crack a tooth....and I don't want to be held accountable!
And there we have it!
There are not words enough, for the joy that is this jam! It is August in a jar! Brilliant on my current poppy seed scone obsession, with the cream cheese. The boy B's had it on toast this morning! And I tell you what, I bet it would make amazing homemade jammie dodgers!