what's in season: june

my father's violas - and they're edible!
Rise up, and do begin the day's adorning;
The Summer dark is but the dawn of day.
The last of sunset fades into the morning,
The morning calls you from the dark away.
The holy mist, the white mist of the morning,
Was wreathing upward on my lonely way.
The way was waiting for your own adorning
That should complete the broad adorned day.

Rise up, and do begin the day's adorning;
The little eastern clouds are dapple grey:
There will be wind among the leaves to-day;
It is the very promise of the morning.
ux Tua Via Mea: your light's my way -
Then do rise up and make it perfect day.
Hilaire Belloc, 1870–1953

I have said it before and I will say it again! June is probably may favourite month, for no better reason than it is my birthday month, the days are getting longer and as a child I was firmly convinced of June’s magical properties; Mid Summer Day was full of faeries, enchantment and stories of future loves and I had no reason to disbelieve this. On my sixteenth birthday, I was given a bottle of homemade wine as a present, with a beautifully designed label entitled “Rachel’s Midsummer Magic” and I have been trying to maintain this feeling of enchantment ever since!

The elderflower comes into season – a plant that was once thought to have mystical qualities and the ability to protect us from witches. I am intending on getting my act together this year to make some elderflower wine (which should protect me from most things, although probably not an overwhelming desire to sing karaoke after a couple of glasses or two!)

As summer approaches, most of us Brits are praying for sun and a chance to picnic and barbecue, although most of the time it is a hopeless case as our summers seem to be getting even wetter. But we can still soldier on with lovely party food, such as lamb and feta bites, perfect whatever the weather.

But despite the weather, home-grown food really is coming into season, albeit a few weeks later than normal. My favourite English asparagus has a couple more weeks to go and my beloved broad beans and peas are here to stay for a while. Thank god! Tomatoes make their first appearance too and the lettuces are raring to go too. British strawberries are only weeks away, cause for celebration indeed - I shall definitely be making bucket-loads of jam this year, as last year my strawberry jam ran out far too quickly. I shall also definitely be making Eton Mess again, with my strawberry and hazelnut meringues. It is divine (she says modestly!)

Look out for Jersey Royals, the king of new potatoes, where the specific growing environment (island slopes, sea breezes and seaweed mulch) gives them an intense potato flavour.

vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (globe), asparagus, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli (calabrese), broom buds, cabbages (various varieties), carrots, cauliflower, chard, horseradish, lettuce, marrow, peas, peppers, sea spinach, tomatoes, turnips, wild fennel

fruit and nuts:
apples, cherries (European), elderflowers, gooseberries, pears, raspberries, redcurrants, rhubarb, strawberries, tayberries

meat and game:
chicken, lamb (welsh), mutton, pork, turkey, wood pigeon

fish and shellfish:
black bream, crab (spider), freshwater crayfish, cuttlefish, grey mullet, herring, mackerel, pilchards, pollack, prawns, river trout (brown and rainbow), salmon (wild), sardines, sea bass, sea trout, shrimp

1 comment:

Junglefrog said...

I cannot wait for the summer to start!! But yes, moaning about the weather doesn't really seem to work does it? :) a lovely collection here!