Autumn is well and truly upon us and some days it feels as though Winter is not far behind. Now is the perfect time (if you haven’t done so already!) to switch to more warming and satisfying foods. This doesn’t just mean piling in the stodge but taking advantage of some of the great and quirky food which is seasonal this time of year.
Here are three of November’s finest that I have chosen to look at in more detail:
Bletting is the storage of fruit until it has become half rotten at which point the aromatics have developed and the taste intensified. Once your medlars have bletted you can scoop the flesh out and eat it raw or mix it with cream and sugar to eat alongside port. You can even make a fruit cheese or curd if you are feeling brave enough. See below for a medlar jelly recipe, a perfect accompaniment to your cheese board selection.
Probably not a fruit bowl staple, but definitely one which would be interesting to try and experiment with.
Fresh and bletted Medlars (www.delishably.com)
2. Cavolo Nero
Although Cavolo Nero is at it’s best in the October month, it is one of my favourite vegetables and something I wanted to mention here. It is one of the few, truly seasonal vegetables that we don’t see in the supermarkets all year round which for me makes it much more interesting and appealing.
Cavolo Nero originates from Tuscany, where it has been grown from as early as 600BC and is a staple in many Italian classics including the Tuscan Ribollita.
Very distinctive dark green almost black leaves make this cabbage stand out from the crowd. It can be used as a cabbage substitute in all recipes and is also delicious simply fried in olive oil with garlic.
Cavolo nero is a good source of lutein, vitamins K, A and C, a significant source of the B vitamins, fibre and calcium as well as containing manganese, copper, iron and many other elements.
Fresh Cavolo Nero (nancyharmonjenkins.com) Classic Ribollita (food52.com)
With a name which literally translates into “Turnip cabbage” this vegetable is suffering (or benefiting!?) from a bit of an identity crisis. An edible bulbous root and cabbage like leaves with a taste somewhere between water chestnut and turnip make this a versatile little creature.
Once peeled the bulb can be lightly steamed, cubed, and roasted or used to bulk up stews whilst the leaves can be stir fried or sautéed on the side. Want a lighter lunch option? Try shredding the Kohlrabi flesh and adding to coleslaw for a seasonal twist.
Part of the Brassica family, Kohlrabi is packed full of anti-oxidants and immune system boosters. Also a good source of vitamin C, fibre, B vitamins and minerals this nutrient packed powerhouse will help fill you and keep you firing on all cylinders throughout the winter.
Purple & white Kohlrabi (healthyseasonalrecipes.com) Kohlrabi & apple slaw with lite dressing (tastyeatsathome.com)
For more seasonal produce inspiration check out this great calendar to find out when your favourites are available: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/all