What’s in season
Seasonal food is important for extra freshness, value and flavour, find out ‘what’s in season’ this month and how to make the most of seasonal flavours from our Farm shop.
The cabbage, or brassica, family is huge, and includes everything from the familiar red, white or green varieties with tightly packed leaves, to cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts as well as pak choi, popular in Asian cookery. The round, crinkle-leafed Savoy cabbage and the pale, lozenge-shaped Chinese leaf are considered to be two of the best to cook with. The flavour of cabbage varies from type to type, ranging from savoury to gently sweet, but one thing they all have in common is a rank smell if overcooked, so brief cooking is key.
The carrot is a member of the parsley family and is related to the parsnip, celery and fennel. Eaten raw or briefly cooked, carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, carotene and potassium. Choose firm carrots and avoid those that are flabby with wilted green tops. Go for small carrots if you can, as they are more tender than large ones and need very little cooking.
The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages, grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm in diameter and look like miniature cabbages, popular this time of year. Add flavour cooking either boiled, roasted with panchetta or shredded into a winter salad they can be delicious.
Lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender flesh. Slow cook the shoulder, grill some steaks or bake a traditional shepherds pie, this amazing tasty versatile meat can be used in so many dishes and is perfect for family Easter entertaining.
The parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to the carrot and parsley, it has an earthy but sweet flavour and is great used in hearty winter roasts, soups and stews.
Young, small parsnips don’t really need peeling – just scrub clean and serve whole, older parsnips should be peeled very thinly with a peeler or sharp knife, then chopped into evenly sized chunks and if the central core is very fibrous, this should be cut away.
It’s also known as yellow turnip, Swedish turnip and Russian turnip and in America, rutabaga. In Scotland, where it is known as neeps, swede is the traditional accompaniment to haggis on Burns night has a round shape and a purple-green skin and the flesh is yellowy-orange, with a sweet, earthy flavour.