Discover the most delicious things to eat this month, in our guide to the fruits and vegetables in season in June!
June marks the month when summer starts in earnest, and the time is right for barbecues, picnics and outdoor eating. In the summer, you probably want to cook and eat grilled foods, big salads and sweet, ripe fruit – slow cooked casseroles and big roasts are on hold until the evenings start to draw back in again.
The kind of food that we crave in summer calls out for fresh, flavoursome fruit and vegetables and right now there’s lots of variety around. In the warmer months, fruit and veg grow in abundance, so it’s good to have some plans for how you can use the bounty on offer, especially if you grow your own.
Just a reminder: I don’t believe that you need to stick strictly to eating seasonally. After all, the winter months could get very dreary if we couldn’t turn to imported fruit and veg to liven things up. But I do believe that seasonal eating helps to make meal planning more interesting and also allows you to take advantage of any gluts or bargain prices that might be available.
So here are just some of the vegetables and fruit in season in June. Keep an eye out for these at your local markets, greengrocers and farm shops:
We usually think of carrots as a year round vegetable but at this time of year, sweet young carrots will start appearing in markets and farm shops.
You don’t need to do much to make these carrots taste delicious. Of course they’ll be fantastic steamed or cooked in foil with a little butter. But equally you can just give them a wash and munch on them as they are: raw, unpeeled and unadorned.
They’re lovely to dunk in your favourite dip as well, whether that’s a bowl of hummus or some herby cream cheese dip.
Broad beans are a delicious taste of early summer, and a fantastic way to add extra meat-free protein to your dinner.
Crack open the pale green pod and you’ll see the flat-ish beans inside. They have a second casing which you’ll need to slip off before cooking when they are fully developed. But at this time of year you can generally cook them with the second pods still in place. If you do need to ‘double-pod’ them, cooking the beans in boiling water for a couple of minutes will help the inner pods to slip off more easily.
Broad beans are delicious when added to salads or mashed up with some oil and lemon juice and smeared on toast.
Although you might think of cauliflower as an autumn/winter vegetable, they are in season right now and can be a fantastic veg option for the warmer months as well. As well as the traditional white variety, you may also be able to spot purple and green varieties in the shops.
You don’t need to smother cauliflower in cheese sauce, as delicious as that is. Its delicate flavour benefits from roasting, either in individual florets or whole as an attractive vegetarian centrepiece. And it works very well with spices like cumin and turmeric in a curry or a lightly spiced vegetable stew.
The shops are full of berries over the next few months, but gooseberries never seem to appear as often as some other varieties. I’m not sure if that’s because they’re harder to grow commercially or if they’re just not as popular as they used to be. They’re often a little too tart to eat uncooked and the prickly gooseberry bush isn’t as easy to tackle as a strawberry plant.
But I absolutely love a mouth-puckering raw gooseberry, just thinking about it is making my mouth water. And when cooked down with a little sugar, gooseberries make a great filling for crumbles and fools, as well as being great in jams and chutneys.
Keep an eye out for the slightly sweeter red gooseberry as well – they’re definitely more palatable when raw!
The most iconic summer fruit has to be the strawberry, and right now we’re coming into peak strawberry season.
You probably don’t need any guidance on how to eat strawberries. You just need to decide whether you sprinkle over sugar, pour over cream or just eat them as they come.
Of course, they’ll also be delicious cooked up into a jam, crushed and mixed with cream and meringue or even turned into a crumble. You can stir them into ice cream, freeze into a granita, bake them in an elegant pastry tart – the options really are endless!
But make the most of the home-grown fruit while you can, because the ones that are imported out-of-season never taste quite the same…
Other fruit and vegetables in season in June include:
Elderflowers are still very much in season so if the weather is good, get picking and make some elderflower cordial.
Next month will see even more fruit and veg coming into season, so get ready for the annual glut of courgettes!