After the light and juicy recipes of the summer, autumnal food is a chance to embrace richer ingredients to keep you warm through the chilly weather. With so many British classics to reach for in winter, seasonal autumn produce is versatile and full of wonderful nutrients to nourish your body. Let’s look at some late-year heroes, why you should prioritise seasonal food and how you can make the most of these fantastic ingredients.
Why eat seasonal produce?
Eating produce that is in season locally makes a big difference to the meal experience, from purchasing to tasting. As in-season produce is less likely to have been grown abroad, picked and transported and then stored, it’s likely to be much fresher. Consequently, it may be richer in the nutrients that the ingredient can naturally provide, as studies show that storage may exacerbate nutrient loss.
What’s more, if food has been grown closer to the point of sale, the environmental impact will be reduced. For example, the carbon footprint of a particular item is lower when it hasn’t needed to be transported as far. This may even reduce the cost of the produce, as it’s more readily available at that time of year with lower costs to procure it.
With an orange flesh and firm internal fruit, it’s got a depth of flavour that brings sweetness and nuttiness to a dish. In terms of texture, it has the potential to thicken recipes when boiled or stewed. With a good amount of vitamin A and a high fibre content, it can equally be chopped up and baked and then served in place of chips.
Recipe: Butternut squash soup is such a comforting dish, ideal for enjoyment after a rainy autumn walk. After cooking the butternut squash with your choice of other chopped vegetables, you’ll need to boil them together with stock in a saucepan before blending until smooth. This has the potential to be such an easy dish if you use high-quality saucepans to get the maximum flavour and reduction into the mixture.
Apples are synonymous with the UK for many people, having long been a staple in the diet of people on the British Isles, dating back hundreds of years. They’re rich in antioxidants which are crucial to help your body fight some forms of cell damage.
Recipe: Stewed apples are a really versatile recipe to pair with different things for a variety of desserts. We suggest trying our crumble topping and adding some cinnamon to enhance the autumnal flavours.
An underrated and incredibly versatile vegetable, this cruciferous wonder contributes a lot of vitamin C and vitamin K, which can help you absorb vitamin D properly to fight the dreaded Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s popular in vegan diets but worthy of a leading role in every repertoire.
Recipe: Because cauliflower has a very neutral flavour, it’s easy to use different spices to bring out a different quality. Try adding it to your next curry or roasting it in the oven to serve on the side of your favourite roast.
Leeks have quite a sweet but earthy taste and break down into a creamy consistency. As they’re low in calories but high in sulphur compounds that contribute to lowering cholesterol.
Recipe: As an ingredient that complements light dishes well, adding leeks will enrich most recipes with chicken or fish. Likewise, adding leek to a traditional frittata with a dollop of ricotta is a fresh and tasty autumnal lunch.