Discover the fruits and vegetables in season in August, with tips to help you make the most of this delicious seasonal produce!
Did I say that June had been underwhelming? Well, Summer definitely made itself known in July, with record temperatures and precious little rain to be had across the UK.
The weather has been a bit more ‘average’ in recent weeks, but of course there should still be several weeks of summer weather to enjoy before the autumn draws in. Although I have noticed that the mornings are starting to get darker – at least they are at 5am when my furry alarm clock (Charlie the chihuahua) wakes me up for his breakfast and morning dose of medicine!
August should be another bumper month of seasonal fruit and veg, with plenty on offer from all the usual places. While the evenings are still warm and light, I’ll be trying to get outside for barbecues when I can, and I’m looking out for interesting seasonal salad and veg dishes to accompany the usual meat and fish.
So here are just some of the seasonal fruit and vegetables that you may see this month in your supermarkets, local markets, farm shops and greengrocers. You’ll also find some more ideas for how to use the fruit and veg below in the monthly posts for June and July seasonal produce.
Just a reminder: I don’t believe that you need to eat seasonally all the time. Our wintertime menus would start to feel quite dreary without the fruit and veg that is imported from overseas. But I do firmly believe that seasonal fruit and vegetables make planning meals more interesting as well as allowing you to take advantage of seasonal bargains and any gluts that you might come across.
Eating blackberries always reminds me of the long summer holidays as a child in Shropshire. The railway embankment at the end of our road was covered in bramble bushes, and the berries made a handy snack while we were playing out for hours on end.
If you are lucky enough to have brambles growing near you, then now is the time to go out and make the most of this delicious fruit. Don’t forget these basic guidelines for foraging:
- Be sure you can identify what you’re picking, leave it if you’re in any doubt
- Don’t pick from below waist height (to avoid dog and fox wee!)
- Avoid picking near roads due to the fumes from passing traffic
- And make sure you leave some for the wildlife and other foragers
Once you’ve picked your brambles, there are so many ways you can use them. Cook them into puddings, cakes and crumbles, turn them into jams or even use them to flavour vodka or gin. They also freeze well, so you can keep some blackberries on hand to brighten up the winter months.
This is another one of those vegetables that we think of as being available all year round. But just as the last of the purple sprouting broccoli disappears, calabrese (the vegetable that you probably picture when you think of broccoli) is reaching the height of its season.
It’s far more than just a vegetable to steam and serve alongside your evening meal. You can turn it into soups, add it to stir fries and pasta dishes, or even roast it alongside some florets of cauliflower (also in season now) and then cover them all in a luscious cheese sauce. And don’t throw away the stalk – you can peel and slice this before adding to stir fries.
French beans are another crop that is ideal to grow at home, with dwarf plants being particularly suitable for container gardening. But even if you haven’t grown them yourself this year, the summer months are their peak season.
This vegetable hardly needs any cooking. Just top and tail them, simmer them for a few minutes and then toss them in a lemony vinaigrette or crispy fried bacon to make the perfect summer side dish. They’re also a great addition to pasta dishes and even work well in a Thai style curry.
Yes, sweetcorn is available all year round in the freezer aisle and in tins, but there’s nothing quite like fresh corn on the cob.
Corn on the cob is a fantastic vegetable to cook on the barbecue, especially if you can get hold of it in the husk. Just remember to give them a good soaking in water first so that the husks don’t catch fire on the grill. If you can’t get corn in the husk, you can wrap them in foil instead.
Then after you’ve grilled the cobs for around 10-15 minutes, and peeled away the wrapping, you can slather the corn in plain or flavoured butter, or use a sharp knife to cut the corn from the cob and add it to a salsa. Either way, it’s a perfect summer veg!
If you’re growing your own tomatoes at home, this should be the month when they really come into their own. And you can’t beat a freshly picked ripe tomato, full of flavour and with the warmth of the sun still on it.
I’m sure you’ve got enough ideas for how to use tomatoes, but if you’re planning to eat them uncooked, they’ll generally taste better at room temperature. The cold of the fridge will really spoil their flavour so if you do store them in the fridge, make sure you take them out a couple of hours before you plan to use them.
Some of the other fruit and vegetables in season in August include:
- Currants (black, red and white)
- Raspberries (summer varieties)
Summer starts to make way for autumn in September, so check back next month for more ideas for your seasonal fruit and veg!