Wednesday, 1 February 2017

What's in season in February?

February is that time of year UK farmers used to call "the hungry gap".  The season when there was little fresh produce.  Indeed at this time of year, there is little UK grown seasonal vegetables on the shelves.


For the ethical consumer this does provide us with a quandary; of course buy what UK produce there is but with the advent of new farming methods including heated poly tunnels and imported foods, there is still a lot of variety on the shelves.  It's tricky because the environmental consequence of importing foods is not the same for different products.  Some fruits and vegetables can be transported by boat, others have to be air freighted.  The difference in environmental impact from air freighted produce to home grown but in heated poly tunnels to boats.  It's a tricky balance to strike but by boat certainly seems to be the more logical answer.

But before we think of importing foods, there are two great things on my shopping list this month.


Mussels

I think people get scared of the idea of mussels.  They are one of the easiest foods to cook, honestly.  In less than 10 minutes you can have a delicious, and cheap meal.  The classic of course is moules mariniere (see photo at the top).  I add cream to mine which isn't completely faithful to the French classic but is delicious.


As mussels cook, the flavour which comes out of the shells is part of the delight.  This helps flavour sauces like in this Salmon recipe.


It also adds to the overall flavour of a dish like with this fish soup.

Purple sprouting broccoli


I love purple sprouting broccoli, to me, it is more flavourful and delicious than asparagus.  I had a really lucky childhood, my parents used to like growing fruits and vegetables and purple sprouting broccoli was something they liked to grow.

It is lovely boiled until just tender then dipped into garlic butter but if you want something different then why not try...

Orange

Of course oranges are imported.  The UK does not have the sunshine to grow citrus fruits but that said, they are normally transported by boat and are a great and healthy part of the diet.

If you want to go all out for citrus, this citrus fruit salad is surprisingly delicious.


There are also still other vegetables still just in season, particularly the other brassicas like cauliflower but they're heading out so make the most of them that you can!

The freezer

The other way I get through this period is to use my freezer.  You can get great UK produced frozen vegetables all year round and the classic one is of course frozen peas.


One of my son's favourite recipes is a pea and ham frittata.

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