what's in season: september

plum wonderful!
September fattens on vines. Roses
flake from the wall. The smoke
of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.
Geoffrey Hill - September Song
New and Collected Poems, 1952-1992)

In theory, September is the pinnacle of perfection in terms of the vegetable patch; a truly excellent month for fruit and veg such as sweetcorn, broccoli, apples, blackberries, damsons and early pears. That's the theory anyway. But as a result of fluctuations in the jet stream, a high altitude wind that has really put a dampener on the party, seasonal fruit and vegetables have been badly hit! Bah! It has been a truly terrible time for Britain's fruit and vegetable growers with our near-Monsoon conditions and the lack of pollination of fruit (yes, bees don't like the rain either).

Despite all that doom and gloom, it is the time for salad vegetables such as peppers and juicy tomatoes, even if you buy ones from abroad, and I am very happy that this year I have managed to grow one pepper, three rather misshapen chillies and half a dozen courgettes! Small by most people's standards, but a positive glut for me! Sadly my plum and pear trees are doing very badly and any fruit that has struggled through the awful conditions has fallen prey to the ravages of wood pigeons.

So while I won't be preserving my own fruit and vegetables, I will be looking out for cheap deals at the market and supermarket for an embarrassment of riches to make chutneys, jams and relishes, as well as laying down some fruit vodka for Christmas (I do like to be prepared!)

You'll begin to see more of the autumn and winter vegetables such as pumpkin, celeriac and cauliflowers. But September also marks the beginning of the fish season (every month with an R in it). Look out for sea bream, crab and my favourite mackerel, which packs such a punch in flavour.

vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (globe), aubergines, beetroot, borlotti beans (for podding), broad beans, broccoli (calabrese), cabbages (various varieties), carrots, cardoons, cauliflower, celeriac, ceps, chard, chillies, courgettes, cucumber, endive, fennel, french beans, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lambs lettuce, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, oyster mushrooms, pak choi, peppers, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins & squashes, rocket, runner beans, salsify, sorrel, spinach, swede, sweetcorn, tomatoes, watercress

fruit and nuts:
apples, bilberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, chestnuts, damsons, elderberries, figs, grapes, greengages, hazelnuts, juniper berries, loganberries, mulberries, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries

meat and game:
beef, chicken, duck, goose (farmed), grouse, mallard, mutton, partridge, pork, rabbit, turkey, venison, wood pigeon

fish and shellfish:

black bream, crab (brown, hen and spider), freshwater crayfish, herring, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters (native), prawns, river trout (brown and rainbow), salmon (wild), scallops, sea bass, shrimp, sprats, squid, whiting

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