In Season this Month… June
The arrival of June means that summer is quickly approaching, even if the weather isn’t on board with that idea the produce coming from vegetable patches and British farms are!
Highlights in June
A lot of us tend to buy frozen peas (if you ever stand in the freezer aisle getting cold while trying to decide between garden peas and petit pois it is useful to know that petit pois are just young garden peas that are picked and shelled when they are still small which can make them more tender). But from the start of June to the end of July fresh British garden peas are in season!
Peas are not only delicious but they are packed with protein – in fact a cup of peas contains more protein than an entire egg!
Of course peas are famous for being a great accompaniment to fish and chips on a Friday. But they offer a fantastic alternative to the classic smashed avocado on toast with poached eggs. Next time you are making brunch try smashing some freshly boiled peas (2-3 minute to cook from frozen) with lemon zest (1/2 a lemon), a handful of freshly chopped mint leaves, a teaspoon of olive oil and a crumbling of feta cheese. Then pile onto your toast of choice (I would recommend a sourdough) and top with a poached egg or two.
Known in the USA as fava beans, broad beans are a great stable of the British summer growing season – in fact, they are the first bean crop of the summer season.
If you simply pod them from their shells and boil them in water for 3-5 minutes then they are ready to be added to a salad or accompany some lamb. Broad peans have a thin skin that covers each individual bean, it is perfectly safe to each, but I like to take that skin off to pop out the bright green bean inside!
Broad beans go really well with peas – you could add some broad beans to your morning pea smash or if you fancy getting your broad bean hit later in the day you could make a green risotto with broad beans, peas, asparagus, courgettes and maybe even some chicken.
You can find strawberries on the supermarket shelves all year round thanks to imports. But these strawberries are chosen for their ability to withstand transportation rather than taste. So the British strawberries that started appearing on the supermarket shelves at the start of June will provide a much more enjoyable and juicy strawberry experience.
Of course you can do the Wimbledon classic and have your strawberries with a side of fresh cream. However, if you fancy doing something a bit different strawberries try adding them to a salad! They work particularly well with chicory, arugula (or other greenery of your choice), avocado, asparagus, chicken, red onion (I like it cooked) and a vinaigrette to finish it off.
Historically elder trees were believed to have magic powers which helped to ward off evil forces such as witches, nowadays when people think of elderflower they tend to think of cordial.
Elder trees are commonly found in woods and along hedgerows in the UK, and from late May you’ll see masses of tiny white flowers hanging in sprays – you can use these flowers to try making your own cordial at home. In order to make it you will need 40 or so large elderflower heads, 1.2kg of white sugar (granulated or caster), 4 unwaxed lemons, 4 unwaxed limes and 65g of citric acid. Once you have assembled the ingredients you need to put the sugar in a large enamel, glass or ceramic bowl and add 1.75 litres boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then allow to cool to blood temperature (about 37C). While it is cooling, thinly slice the lemons and limes and add to the sugar solution, along with the elderflowers (make sure you just add the flowers and not the stalks). Once everything is added cover and leave in a cool dark place for 24-36 hours, after that time strain twice then decant into a sterilised bottle and keep in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. Once you’ve opened a bottle it needs to go in the fridge and be used within a month!