Brassica oleracea is the most intrepid member of the cabbage family, with a well-deserved reputation for being able to grow anywhere.Domesticated before 600BC, the original wild cabbage still grows around the shores of the Mediterranean and selective breeding in the intervening centuries has given rise to plants as varied as cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli and cauliflower.Unlike firm-headed cabbages, kale is distinguished by having no heart, but the open form means the leaves accumulate more vitamins A and C, and more antioxidant carotenoids than varieties whose tightly furled inner leaves never see daylight.Best eaten as soon as possible after harvesting, but if needs must keep in a paper bag in the fridge for 3-4 days (the chill will help ward off bitterness).Trim away the thicker parts of the stalks, chop coarsely and steam or boil in salted water for a few minutes as you would with spinach or cabbage.Nigel Slater's kale with oyster sauce and toasted sesame seeds. .
Seasonal UK grown produce
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Potatoes, main crop Great varieties of main crop Potatoes, ask for your favourite or for advice on what’s good for mashing, roasting and boiling.Purple Sprouting Broccoli Great product, but can be weather affected.Quince Good UK product, as an alternative to French.Swede One of our most versatile root veg, why not have it ready diced? .
What's In Season
What was once considered a bitter winter vegetable is now a hip fresh ingredient with endless new recipes.In the Netherlands and Germany, kale has been a staple winter vegetable for generations, often eaten as a one-pot mash potatoes dish.I, for one, am happy that kale has gotten the recognition it deserves as a great source of vitamins A, K, C and E with plenty of fibre and minerals.There are records of a crinkly leafy green vegetable in ancient Greece as far back as 2000 BC.Since it is a sturdy species that survives well in colder climates, it was especially popular among farmers in North West European regions such as Scandinavia, the Baltics but also in Scotland.With our cooler climate British farmers rely quite heavily on winter crops and, compared to many of its Brassica relatives, kale is one of the least demanding ones.The Scottish heirloom variety, which is very curly with a blueish green tint, is called Vates Blue Curled Scots.Sowing kale starts in the spring, around April or May although some farmers may choose to plant as late as June.The most important element for cultivating kale is moisture so as long as the soil has good drainage, it will grow nicely.Their need for moisture does mean that British organic farmers have a little more work on their hands when the summer is particularly hot.The darkest variety is dinosaur kale which has longer crinkly leaves with a light stem running through.The sweetest Scottish kale variety are found at the end of winter as they gain more flavour after a frost.Those with darker leaves are best suited for cooking while the lighter coloured harvest can be used for raw food preparations.It instantly packs the soup with extra vitamins and healthy minerals that give our immune system a boost during the cold weather months. .
Kale is a very handy ingredient for seasonal eaters as it is one of the few green vegetables that is more abundant and flavourful during the coldest months of the year.It can be substituted for cabbage or spinach and makes a fine side dish when blanched and sautéed with garlic (a little soy and a sprinkling of chopped, roasted nuts is a lovely addition).A member of the same family as the cabbage - Brassica oleracea - most of the kale eaten in this country is curly leaved and belongs to the species acephala.Give kale a good wash in a sinkful of water to remove any dirt clinging to the inside of the leaves. .
Instead of forming a head, the leaves grow in a loose rosette at the top of a stem.For whole leaves, rinse, then put them in a pan without shaking the water off, cover, then cook for up to 2 minutes, until wilted.For chopped or shredded leaves, put in a pan of water 1cm deep with a pinch of salt, then bring to the boil and simmer for up to 5 minutes, until wilted.Try frying shredded kale in olive oil, with garlic, and chilli flakes for a few minutes in a frying pan until wilted and tender and a simple side, or finely chop and add to soups, stews and risottos.Kale can also be eaten raw, and the leaves ‘massaged’ between your fingers with oil or lemon juice to break down some of the fibres, and make it a bit more palatable.Rubbed with oil, and then roasted, you get fantastic ‘crisps‘, reminiscent of crispy seaweed that can carry other flavours such as chilli, nutritional yeast, or parmesan.Kale is a great vegetable to add to soups as it’s robust enough to take a bit more cooking than leafier greens. .
Seasonal food calendar: What fruit and veg is in season now
Seasonal food is not only great on our plates but it's good for the planet too.Knowing which fruit or veg is in season now could save you money, plus eating seasonal food will make your meals taste better too.When foods are in season, there's more of it, which means lots of supermarkets will have deals and offers on surplus organic food (opens in new tab).Bulk-buy fruit and veg when it's in season and freeze food (opens in new tab) before it becomes more expensive in later months.For example, when tomatoes are in season, make a batch of herby tomato pasta sauce (opens in new tab) and freeze in containers for pastas and soups.Eating seasonal vegetables or fruit grown in the UK is also good for the environment.Instead of eating produce flown in from around the world, we can eat seasonal food grown in the UK that has a much lower carbon footprint - which is more sustainable.So, if you’re wondering when you can start strawberry picking (opens in new tab) or when lamb is at its best, you've come to the right place.Take a look below to see what fruit and vegetables are in season each month and browse some of the recipes you could make with them too...Oranges and lemons are coming into season in January, as are root veg like parsnips and swedes.Salmon also makes its seasonal debut at the start of the year.Potatoes (main crop).Our favourite seasonal January recipes.Only the hardiest of veggies are around in February - the only newcomer is purple sprouting broccoli - but there's lots of lovely seafood in season.Keep the winter blues away with hearty recipes made with February's seasonal foods.Apples (Bramley) (end of season).Brussel sprouts (end of season).Mushrooms (wild) (end of season).Potatoes (main crop) (end of season).Purple sprouting broccoli (coming into season).Our favourite seasonal February recipes.Pan fried salmon with red chillies and parsley.In March, the weather (hopefully) warms up, getting you in the mood for lighter dishes with spinach, spring onions and watercress coming into season.Lemons (end of main season).Oranges (end of main season).Passion fruit (end of season).Purple sprouting broccoli.Spinach (comes into season mid-March).Spring onions (coming into season).Our favourite seasonal March recipes.April seasonal food.Asparagus, burrata and prosciutto on toast.Enjoy early spring in April and the seasonal foods that come with it, the most well-known, of course, being lamb.Asparagus and apricots make their debut, and it's also the season for tuna and crab.Purple sprouting broccoli (end of season).Our favourite seasonal April recipes.A seasonal pea, bacon and parmesan risotto.May is the month when seasonal food gets really colourful, with peas, carrots and cherries coming into season, along with aubergines and rocket.The first of the new potatoes arrive, sardines and pollock are available too.Pollock (pollack) (in season from mid-May).Baked mackerel fillets with bean and onions.It's the best month for broad beans, pak choi and courgettes, while strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and tomatoes have started to ripen.Haddock and mackerel also come into season.Artichokes (globe) (coming into season).Pak choi (in season end of June).Spinach (end of main season).Our favourite seasonal June recipes.An iced peaches fruit loaf.Berries are in season and blackberries make their first appearance, along with melon and peaches.Sweetcorn, broccoli, beetroot and courgettes come into season and seafood lovers can enjoy fresh, seasonal scallops.Fruits in season in July.Broccoli (in season from end of July).Potatoes (main crop) (coming into season).Spring onions (end of season).Turnips (summer season crop).Rabbit (main season begins).Our favourite July seasonal recipes.Roasted broccoli with breadcrumbs and pistachios.Mediterranean vegetables are everywhere in August, berries are still going strong, broccoli is abundant and nectarines come into season.There's lots of fish and seafood around too.Kiwi fruit (end of season).Potatoes (main crop).Our favourite August seasonal recipes.September marks the end of summer berries, but there's lots of other fruit like apples, plums, grapes, figs and pears.Pumpkin, squash, kale and leeks make their debut, lamb makes a comeback and it's the start of the mussels season.Apples (Bramley) (coming into season).Grapes (short season to October).Broad beans (in season until early Sep).Butternut squash (coming into season).Pak choi (end of season).Potatoes (main crop).Our favourite seasonal September recipes.A creamy, wild mushroom soup.Autumn's still great for fruit and veg.It's the start of the season for wild mushrooms, cranberries and shallots, while squash and pumpkin are widely available.Oysters start their season and its turkey time too.Mushrooms (wild) (coming into season).Potatoes (main crop).Turnips (winter crop coming into season).Our favourite seasonal October recipes.Gordon Ramsay's brussels sprouts with pancetta.Root vegetables like swedes and parsnips sweeten in the November frost and as the festive season approaches, chestnuts, clementines and passion fruit are easy to come by.Passion fruit (coming into season).Artichokes (globe) (end of season).Brussels sprouts (in season from end of Nov).Butternut squash (end of season).Our favourite seasonal November recipes.It's the season to be jolly in December as goose, duck and of course, turkey are in the shops.Cauliflower comes into season, as does sweet pomegranate, while hardy veggies like parsnip, swedes, turnips and sprouts are easy to find.Potatoes (main crop).Pollock (pollack) (until start of Dec).Our favourite seasonal December recipes.Whilst fruit and vegetables are known to be ‘in season’ during certain times of the year, there are other food groups which are unaffected by the seasons.Dairy products are available all year round and aren’t deemed seasonal foods.Milk, cream, eggs and butter are an example of this, with British bred cows and chickens producing their products from January right through to December.What are the benefits of eating seasonal food?There are a number of advantages to eating seasonal foods - benefiting your wallet, tastebuds and the environment at large.As a rule, fruits and vegetables are fresher and tastier when in season as they will have been harvested recently and grown locally.Products sourced outside of their season are often grown under managed conditions or other parts of the world, and it takes time (and a lot of distance) to transport them to local stores.This not only costs more, but also jeopardises the food’s quality and flavour.In contrast, seasonal vegetables will be cheaper to buy because they’ve been grown in the UK and won’t rack up huge travel costs.They’ll also taste superior as the time from being picked to appearing on your plate is considerably less.What’s more, buying seasonal food is also better for the environment.This is because their shorter journey to store will have a better carbon footprint than foods that have been transported from thousands of miles away. .
How to grow kale / RHS Gardening
Kale is usually sown into a seedbed, away from the main vegetable plot, then later transplanted to its final growing position. .
Growing Kale from Sowing to Harvest
And then there’s the opportunity to grow red or purple kale, which we reckon wouldn’t look out of place in any ornamental border.Give it a sunny position in order to encourage stronger growth during the dark winter months.Add plenty of compost to the ground before planting and if your soil isn’t especially rich, top up its fertility by applying a balanced organic fertiliser such as chicken manure pellets a week or two before planting.Once you’ve harvested the previous crop, your sturdy young kale seedlings will be ready to plant.Depending on how soon you plan on planting your kale you may need to pot your seedlings on into larger containers.Kale needs to be well anchored, so be sure to properly firm the plants into position so that the rootballs are in good contact with the soil. .
How to Cook Kale, In Season in September - Bon Appétit
A member of the brassica family, kale is a hardy leafy green that is ready for harvest in late summer.Its thicker leaves won't wilt if washed first, so unlike lettuce, you can rinse it and strip it from the stems (save them for sautéeing!Kale can be eaten raw (as millions of salads will tell you), but it can be tough and fibrous, so either massage it with your fingers, or use an acidic dressing to help break down the leaves, making them easier to chew and digest. .