Saturday, 6 June 2009

Foods by Season - June

Back when I was still working in Newcastle city centre, I often took my lunch break at the Literary and Philosophical Library around the corner from my office in Milburn House. I promise to show you pictures of these amazing places soon, but for now I want to talk about the books that drew me to the library.

They were the ones about homemaking, cooking and gardening in the 1930s and 40s. They have wonderful books about all sorts of cottage crafts, how to knit your own underwear (no joke - sounds itchy, doesn't it?), specific gardening advice by species.

One of the books I enjoyed talked about foods in season

and I took copious notes from which I developed an Excel spreadsheet of foods by month; I've added to it as I found other sources. I always take notes from this spread sheet before going food shopping.

Mind, some of these foods I've never heard of, never seen, wouldn't know what to do with them if I found them. But that's part of the fun of reading old books in foreign places!

So, here is what my sources have listed as being in season in June:

aubergine (AKA eggplant)
carrots (at their best)
summer squashes (AKA, marrow, courgettes, zucchini)
lettuce (at its best)
medlars (I've never seen one in a store)
peaches (I've yet to find a fresh peach in England that didn't taste like cardboard; I stick to canned peaches over here and pig out when I'm in the US)
pineapple (obviously this book isn't about locally grown foods, but you do see small pineapples in the store; I buy cans and avoid getting stabbed with the pointy bits)
raspberries, tayberries, loganberries, etc.
turnips (at their best)
bream (Hint: this starts the list of fish and game)
crab (hard to find 'naked' crab meat sometimes and I don't care for 'dressed')
eel (yes, I have seen eels for sale, but never tasted one; they are known to be high in fat and therefore dioxins; that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it)
grey mullet (apparently no relation to red)
lobster (at its best; however highly overrated for the price, in my opinion)
prawns (big shrimp)
red mullet
salmon (most plentiful)
whitebait (think deep fried minnows; not bad, but it was just for the experience)

I know I'm easily pleased, but I love some of those fish names!

Of course, this information about seasonality applies to the UK and perhaps parts of Europe. Seasonal foods elsewhere may be different, particularly in the southern hemisphere!


Anonymous said...

Rick's dad gardens. His squash is just starting. He gave me zucchini and yellow squash. Will mix and cook them for "my" dinner. These are more of the vegetables Rick does not do!

In MN we went smelt fishing after the creeks were free of ice. You would go at night and take a flash light. The light froze the fish and you could put your hand in the water and pick them out of the water. For those who had not patients, they would use a net to make quick work of it. We would go home with a bucket full. When our folks said "enough" or "you have to start cleaning them" we would sell them along the street.

Shelley said...

You could always try roasting the squash. Mind, it's just a way to fry them in the oven, but they are really delicious. Courgettes aren't one of Bill's favourites, but he loves them roasted. Also, zucchini is the original ingredient for Spice Cake, the recipe for which is somewhere on this blog. Use the search in the upper left corner if you're interested. I can't believe Rick is really a farmer's son, being as anti-veg as he is.

I so love hearing about your childhood in the north - you did such different things to what we did in Oklahoma!

Rick Stone said...

Actually, I'm no farmer's kid. I grew up on the southside of OKC. Pop never even put in a garden during those years. He did drag us to the country twice. Once in 1952 to a 160 acre farm by Rosedale in McClain County. I attended the first grade there and then Mom moved us back to OKC. In 1959 he moved us to an acreage in Choctaw. Atteneded sixth and seventh grade there before Mom moved us back to OKC, ten blocks south of where we had been. I'm strictly a city kid.