In Season

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Mackerel January -

Mackerel

After years under threat, these eye-catching and versatile fish are firmly back on the menu, says Clarissa Hyman

Readers of a sensitive disposition should move straight over the next paragraph or they might never eat mackerel again, which would be a great loss. For the diner, if not the fish. The reason these splendid silvery fish were once called the ‘scavengers of the seas’ was because they were said to have fed on drowned sailors. This theory, I am glad to report, is now thoroughly debunked but as the writer Alice Thomas Ellis once pronounced: ‘It is never a good idea to speculate too thoroughly on the eating habits of what you’re eating.’ It is a truism that all fish should be fresh but some have to be fresher than others. Or, rather, they spoil more quickly. In the 17th century there was a special law allowing fishmongers in Billingsgate to sell mackerel on Sundays, when all other trade was forbidden because their high oil content means they need to be eaten as soon as possible...read more

  • Pomegranates

    January produce

    Scallops, kale, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory and pomegranates

  • Swede

    February produce

    Cauliflowers, swede, oysters, lemons and passion fruit

  • Chicory

    March produce

    Purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage and oranges

  • Spring Onions

    April produce

    Spring herbs, spinach, watercress, shallots, blood oranges and rhubarb

  • Rocket

    May produce

    French beans, asparagus, Jersey royals, peas, spinach and rocket

  • Broad beans

    June produce

    Samphire, broad beans, gooseberries, cherries, strawberries and honey

  • Artichokes

    July produce

    Courgettes, cucumbers and artichokes

  • Peppers

    August produce

    Aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and apricots

  • Oysters

    September produce

    Peppers and figs

  • Fennel

    October produce

    Wild mushrooms, onions, sweet potatoes, fennel, apples and plums

  • Pumpkins

    November produce

    Savoy cabbage, pumpkins, celeriac, carrots, cavolo nero, potatoes, truffles and dates

  • Walnuts

    December produce

    Brussels sprouts, nuts, walnuts, chestnuts and cranberries

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