YOUR SEASONAL FOOD DIARY
Growing your own in-season food is something that the National Trust has been mad about for quite some time. After all, what could be more satisfying than watching your dinner grow in your own garden?
To help you on your way to such seasonal goodness, the National Trust has kindly put together a month-by-month guide in order to help you transform your plot of land into a great way to save money and food miles, and of course provide scrumptious grub for the table.
Three reasons why it’s better to eat seasonal food:
1. Better taste – Top chefs agree that fresh seasonal produce is best
2. Better value – A basket of fruit and veg bought in the summer can be as much as a third cheaper than the same basket bought out of season
3. Better for the planet – Growing in season requires lower levels of artificial inputs, than at other times of the year
So what are you waiting for? Use the calendar below to fast forward to the information you need.
Leeks are on the menu in January. Meanwhile, in the garden, it’s time to prune back your fruit trees to ensure you get fabulous fruit later in the year.
In season: If you’re not keen on leeks, don’t worry, as there are plenty of other tasty treats to be enjoyed this month, including Brussels sprouts, spring green cabbage, Savoy cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and kale.
It’s all about the orange goodness of carrots in February, whilst also making sure that your vegetable patches are turned over ready for spring.
In season: Carrots are not the only things to be growing in February. Brussels sprouts, spring green cabbage, Savoy cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and leeks are also around this month.
Vegetable plots start to stir in to life in March, showing signs of the delicious produce to come later.
In season: Spring green cabbage, Savoy cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and leeks all remain in season.
Rhubarb is coming into season in April and that means one thing: crumble time. It’s also time to check the vegetable beds and sow a range of seeds.
In season: Obviously it is difficult to live on rhubarb alone, but in addition to the end of the winter crops, newer crops are starting to make an appearance. Spring green cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, and kale are also abundant this month.
Britain has the best asparagus in the world, and May is the month when it really comes into season. It’s also time to start moving young plants outside to harden up.
In season: It’s time to get some fresh flavours in, including cauliflower, cucumber, curly lettuce, rhubarb and spinach.
Summer fruits are ripe, and elderflower makes a great ingredient in both desserts and wine. Strawberries, cucumber, spinach and courgettes are among the other fruits and veg coming into season.
In season: It’s the perfect month for asparagus, broad beans, carrots, curly lettuce, peas, and rhubarb too.
Strawberries straight from the plant are best in July, and in the garden, it’s time to do plenty of watering as summer reaches its height.
In season: Bramley apples, broad beans, runner beans, blueberries, Savoy cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, courgette, cucumber, cos lettuce, curly lettuce, iceberg lettuce, peas, raspberries, rhubarb and spinach.
By now, the fruits of your labour should be showing up on the dinner table. And what with so many vegetables in season, you could almost eat a different meal every day.
In season: This month, there is an abundance of different leafy vegetables ready for eating in our seasonal calendar. Also on offer are Bramley apples, broad beans, runner beans, blueberries, spring green cabbage, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, courgette, cucumber, cos lettuce, curly lettuce, iceberg lettuce, marrow, plums, raspberries, spinach, strawberries and sweetcorn.
Enjoy some yummy damson jam as summer turns to autumn; keep picking your beans, and when the foliage dies, it is time to unearth the onions.
In season: There’s so much fresh food available this month, that this list really is just the tip of the iceberg. Included are Bramley apples, runner beans, blackberries, blueberries, Brussels sprouts, spring green cabbage, white cabbage, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, courgette, cucumber, kale, leeks, iceberg lettuce, marrow, peas, plums, spinach, squash and sweetcorn.
Warming soups and pies are going to be on the menu, as the weather turns a little cold. Plus, pumpkins are of course plentiful.
In season: Looking beyond pumpkins, other goodies from the garden this month include Cox apples, runner beans, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, spring green cabbage, white cabbage, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kale, leeks, marrow, potatoes, spinach, squash and sweetcorn.
The humble spud is our flavour of the month as the nights draw in and winter approaches. Herbs must be brought in from the garden, but there’s still some planting to be done, so wrap up warm.
In season: There really is more to life than spuds, and you can continue to munch seasonal food this month with this selection of local fare: Brussels sprouts, spring green cabbage, white cabbage, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale and leeks.
The festive pear tree comes in to season in December, providing plentiful ingredients for a variety of desserts and chutneys.
In season: Most of the ingredients included in a traditional Christmas dinner can be sourced locally, with plenty of favourites like Brussels sprouts still available for harvesting this month. Other highlights include spring green cabbage, white cabbage, Savoy cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks and potatoes.
For more information on food and farming through the seasons, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
About the National Trust
The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 742 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Whether you fancy exploring a National Trust house, strolling in a peaceful garden or taking a trip to the stunning coastline, there is plenty to discover in Kent. Ightham Mote, Knole, Scotney Castle, Chartwell, South Foreland Lighthouse, Sissinghurst Castle and Emmetts Garden, are to name but a few of the Kentish properties the trust looks after. (Image of Ightham Mote)
For more information and ideas for great value family days out, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.