It’s late summer, and that means harvest time! There’s a glut of fresh produce heading our way from fields and orchards, so we’re back this month with some delicious ideas for September meal plans that make the most of what’s fresh and local. Not only is this much better for the planet, but it also tastes better – so it’s a win win! Keep reading for all the inspiration you need for cooking with the freshest local ingredients this month.
Fruit and veg to enjoy in September
Consulting the ever-useful Vegetarian Society guide, these are the fresh fruit and veg we can look forward to cooking with in September:
Aubergine, Beetroot, Blackberries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Courgettes, Chicory, Chillies, Cucumber, Damsons, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mangetout, Marrow, Onions, Parsnips, Pears, Peas, Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Raspberries, Red Cabbage, Rhubarb, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Sweetcorn, Sweetheart Cabbage, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Wild Mushrooms, White Cabbage
If you thought cauliflower was only about cauliflower cheese, think again! There are so many tasty things to do with cauliflower that you’ll never want for ways to use it up. If you also have potatoes to use, try a delicious cauliflower and potato gratin. These simple roast cauliflower wedges with tahini dressing make the perfect side for roast or barbecued meat.
Ranging from mild to mind-blowing, fresh chillis bring a bit of heat to all manner of different dishes, whether they’re listed in the ingredients list for a recipe or not. As well as the obvious spicy dishes such as curries and chilli con carne, you can use slices of fresh chilli to add a kick to pretty much any pasta sauce – even Bolognese! Using a fresh red chilli, our pan fried sea bass, creamed potatoes, spring onions and chilli is another fiery option.
September is the last month to enjoy fresh mangetout – a fancy name for edible peas in the pod. Steam or boil them as a tasty side, or add them to your favourite soups, noodle dishes and stir-fries, such as our speedy mince stir-fry. You can also eat them raw, and they bring a nice crunch to summer salads.
A ripe, juicy pear is a delicious treat to enjoy on its own at this time of year, but if you find yourself with a few fruits that need using up before they go mushy, there are plenty of delicious options. Our quick fruit jam is wonderful for using up diced pears, apples or any other fruit that needs eating soon. If you have a big bag of pears that you’re not going to get through, you could dice them and simmer them down with a little sugar, water and cinnamon to create spiced fruit compote, which you can serve with granola and yogurt, stir into porridge or just spoon into your mouth on its own! Don’t forget that sliced pear also goes well with cheese – perfect if you’re hosting a dinner party.
Renowned for its health benefits, watercress is around pretty much all year, but its pleasantly peppery taste makes it great for jazzing up the last of the summer salads. Classic egg and cress sandwiches make the perfect late summer picnic food, and you can blend it into a smoothie just as you can with kale. Watercress also makes a good garnish, as in our tasty red onion and goat’s cheese tart with pesto.
Head over to our recipe bank and type in your fresh ingredients for lots more September meal plan inspiration, and come back next month for ideas for cooking with the fresh produce at its best in October!