The best thing about summer is all the fresh British fruit and veg. Thanks to the warmer weather, there’s lots in season right now.
Along with the sunshine, June brings with it the sweetest, most succulent strawberries; young beans to toss in summer salads and stir-fries, or whizz up into light soups; and lovely, sweet apricots for fresh, fruity desserts.
And, let’s not forget gooseberries - the green ones are perfect for picking right now and taste delicious baked in a big gooseberry pie.
There’s lots of ways to enjoy this season’s crops, and you’ll find everything you need to make exciting, nutritious and tasty dishes at your local Co-op.
Broad bean season starts in May. When they’re young, you can just eat them whole like mangetout - but after that, you’ll need to pod them. Inside you’ll find a bright green, softer and tenderer bean which you can cook like peas. And the smaller the bean, the tastier they are. Broad beans are a really versatile veggie that taste great in risottos and pilaffs, soups and salads. Try pureeing them into a creamy houmous, toss with bacon for a tasty warm salad, or bake with eggs and cheese into a rich savoury tart.
Broad beans are a good source of fibre, vitamins A & C, & potassium
The first peas of the season need nothing more than a quick boil with a sprig of fresh mint. They’re delicious braised in stock with salad onions, gem lettuce hearts and a nob of butter. Fresh peas make a great summery soup. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, try adding basil for an aromatic twist. For a more summery take on a classic roast dinner, serve them with in-season new potatoes and a juicy joint of meat. They don’t always need to be cooked though. For something a bit different, why not try them raw in salad with fresh mint and crumbled feta, or blitz into a pea guacamole?
Peas are a source of fibre, vitamin A & C C
Smooth and sweet with a musky perfumed flavour, peaches are a delicious fruit that can be enjoyed in both sweet and savoury dishes. Bake inside a good old-fashioned short crust pastry pie served with cream, simmer with honey and serve with warm ice cream, or cold as compote with flapjacks. Apricots are also great brushed with butter and grilled for a sweet, caramelised flavour. Whizzed up they make a simple sauce that you can serve with chicken or lamb chops, or try slow-cooking them in a tasty, Moroccan tagine.
Apricots are a good source of vitamins A, C & fibre
Juicy, tart and full-flavoured, the gooseberry season starts with the familiar green gooseberries (the best ones for cooking). Use them to make a delicious gooseberry fool, or poach them with a little sugar and water to make a traditional side to serve with mackerel. Or bake under a crisp crumble topping or satisfying homemade pie. Later in the season come the dessert gooseberries that are sweet enough to be eaten raw - try them in fruit salads.
A good source of Vitamin A, C & fibre