In Britain, eating seasonal food is a great idea. Generally, seasonal food does not need to be processed or preserved and hence contains many of the nutrients, trace elements and minerals our bodies require, and doesn’t lose any flavour.
Seasonal food does not often travel long distances from farm to shop in Britain, so its carbon footprint will be less than that of foods that are out of season. Eating local seasonal food also means supporting UK farmers at a time when they face stiff competition from overseas suppliers.
For the seasonal diner, autumn brings a feast of delicious foods, with the added luxury of an overlap between late-summer staples such as aubergine and courgettes and exciting newcomers such as chestnuts, pumpkin and kale.
According to food procurement and margin improvement management experts PSL, the following ingredients are ideal for creating high-quality seasonal menus this autumn:
Vegetables: Autumn is the perfect time for field mushrooms, marrow, lettuce, pumpkin, potatoes, squash, rocket, watercress, sweetcorn, beets, beet greens, broccolini, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, fennel, garlic, sweet potatoes, radishes and spinach.
Fruits: From September to November, it’s time to sample apples, damsons, blackberries, pears, sloes, plums, almonds, cranberries and elderberries.
Meat: The list of meat that’s seasonal in autumn includes grouse, chicken, lamb, ham, venison and sausages – it’s also the perfect time for pork pies. Duck, rabbit and partridge are also popular in autumn, but these have a smaller fan base than the likes of chicken and lamb.
Fish and other seafood: Autumn is the ideal time for Dover sole, dabs, brill, oysters, flounders, skate, lobsters, clams and mussels.
Snack and meal ideas for Autumn
Kick off your day with spiced porridge covered with dried figs and fresh plums. It’s delicious, healthy and very filling. For a light lunch, roast some parsnips and make a parsnip, chestnut and orange soup or simply roast the parsnips in honey, olive oil and thyme.
For a great-tasting salad, roast butternut cubes in the oven, then add chickpeas, watercress, feta and hazelnuts. A delicious vegetable stew can be created with canned tomatoes, kidney beans, pumpkin, celery and kale seasoned with dried oregano and smoked paprika.
For dessert, bake plums in cinnamon and honey and serve with crème fraîche or yoghurt or prepare an oat thickie with honey and yoghurt, apple juice and cooked plums or damsons.
Top fresh fish with julienne carrots, courgettes, leeks, ginger and sliced chilli. Steam or bake in a foil parcel with a touch of white wine or lime juice.
Vegetarians can cook tofu on a griddle until the outside is crispy and serve it in a delicious whole grain bread sandwich with slices of cooked pumpkin and harissa paste. Alternatively, stir fry chopped pecans, broccoli and tofu with a soy, chilli and honey sauce and serve with brown rice.
These are just a few of the incredible meals that anyone can create in autumn using nothing more than a little bit of creativity and what is seasonally available. Enjoy!