July In Season

Eat produce when it's at its best.

This months seasonal produce

Courgettes, cucumbers and artichokes

Peaches & nectarines

Peaches & nectarines

Plump and juicy, there’s something seductive about this stone fruit. Clarissa Hyman takes you through her first time experiencing its virtues

I tasted my first golden-pink nectarine on a trip to San Francisco more years ago than I care to admit. I was still an unadventurous food explorer: it was not that long since I realised tinned sliced peaches actually came from fruit-bearing trees. Velvety peaches were my Californian fruit of choice but was the nectarine a peach or a plum with attitude? They are, in fact, a smooth-skinned variety of peach of mysterious origin that first appeared in Britain in the early part of the 17th century. The name possibly comes from German and Dutch words meaning nectar-peach. So alike are peaches and nectarines that peach trees can sometimes spontaneously produce nectarines and vice versa. Peaches were born in the mountain valleys and upland forests of central Asia. They need both summer sunshine and winter cool. Their natural home is in a temperate climate; they fail to thrive in and, in fact,...read more

Other seasonal produce

Fennel

Its fine, feathery foliage popular since Roman times, this bulbous beauty lends a mellow hit of anise to salads, meat, fish and more, says Clarissa Hyman with recipes by Linda Tubby

Umbelliferous. One has to say this word slowly… umbelliferous. Roll it round the tongue and savour those swaying syllables. More to the prosaic point, umbelliferous is the botanical name for a family of aromatic plants with hollow stems and, well, umbel-shaped flowers: the word was coined in the...read more

Fennel

Courgettes

The allure of these beautiful, and incredibly diverse, mini marrows is unrelenting, says Rosemary Barron with recipes by Linda Tubby

Among the many reasons to welcome those balmy summer days is the appearance of the beautiful, yellow-gold flowers and delicate, green courgettes on a plant quite magical in its ability to grow so fast and be so generous with its resulting bounty. Which other fruit can be fried, baked, steamed or...read more

Courgettes

Cucumbers

Summer tea parties may conjure up thoughts of dainty cucumber sandwiches but, as Helen Hokin points out, the salad staple deserves so much more, working well with a variety of ingredients with recipes by Linda Tubby

‘Hallo! Why all these cups? Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young? Who is coming to tea?’ Oscar Wilde put cucumber sandwiches centre stage in The Importance of Being Earnest when Algernon devours an entire plate leaving Lady Bracknell without. At about the...read more

Cucumbers

Blueberries

These true-blue fruits redolent of American summers and English picnics are at their juicy and sweet best in mid-summer, says Clarissa Hyman with recipes by Linda Tubby

The first time I went to the US, I stayed up all night channel-hopping like crazy and eating blueberries. Blueberries! As in finding my love on Blueberry Hill. Blueberries, as in singing the blues and the colour of Elvis’s suede shoes. It all merged in my fogged, adolescent brain. True blue may...read more

Blueberries

Radishes

Pink, purple, red – whatever their outer shade, these small root vegetables are cruncy and punchy on the inside, and fresher than spring itself, says Clarissa Hyman with recipes by Linda Tubby

Are you sitting comfortably? Then, I’ll begin. Once upon a time there was a little Chinese boy who planted a radish seed. It grew and grew until it was the size of a ping-pong ball, then a rice bowl and finally as big as the little boy himself. He tugged and tugged at the leaves but couldn’t...read more

Radishes

Raspberries

Tart and sweet, these perfumed fruits pair beautifully with vanilla, almonds, chocolate and even game. If, says Clarissa Hyman, you can resist eating them au naturel with recipes by Linda Tubby

To give someone a raspberry is a delicate, poetic, Jane Austen-esque gesture: to blow them one, however, is something else altogether. It seems curious that the fruit has attracted such a vulgar double meaning, but it is true the raspberry induces both delight and distress. The latter, in food...read more

Raspberries

Artichokes

This attractive, intriguing edible member of the thistle family is a harbinger of summer and, as Emma Baker discovers, it reveals its flavoursome secrets layer by layer with recipes by Linda Tubby

Eating a globe artichoke is rather like like unwrapping a delicious, precious package, albeit one enclosed in a peculiar, leathery armour. Each petal-like bract, with its nugget of slightly bittersweet, nutty, meaty flesh at the base, is topped by an intimidating thorn that reveals this...read more

Artichokes

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