September is all about preserving for the long, winter days ahead. Some British-grown fruits are starting to slow down whilst others are coming into their own. The list below shows the main seasonal foods available in September along with recipe and storage ideas.
Reminiscent of small plums, damsons can be quite tart (some would say palate cleansing). It's a great fruit to use as a base of a crumble, tart or cobbler. We prefer to 'drink' our damsons and for many years have made both Damson Gin or our absolute favourite - Damson Brandy.
Make: For a warming Christmas drink, there's nothing finer than a Damson Brandy (especially if you warm the glass slightly on the radiator before drinking!). Try our recipe for Damson Brandy, which can be swapped for Damson Gin or Damson Vodka. If you've a real glut of damsons, then we have a really easy Damson Jam recipe too.
Store: Damsons are great frozen. Some recipes for Damson Gin suggest using frozen damsons and bashing them when they're out of the freezer as an easier alternative to pricking them before steeping in the alcohol and sugar.
British apples are at their best in September. Bramleys are best for cooking and don't forget the windfalls - they're just as good if they're collected quickly. For eating apples, there are Braeburns or my personal favourite - Egremont Russet. When I was a child, once russets were available the next stop was satsumas - then Christmas!
Make: Stew some apple with cinnamon and a little brown sugar and use to as a Cruffin filling.
Store: To store apples over winter, wrap each one in a single sheet of newspaper or brown paper. Place them in a single layer on a tray or in a cardboard box. Alternatively, stew them and freeze to use later for pies, crumbles or as a traditional accompaniment to pork.
Courgettes are great store cupboard back ups. They can be used to bulk out a bolognese sauce, top a pizza, grate into a chocolate vegetable cake or cut into batons and fry to make vegetable tempura.
Make: Our tried and tested salad recipe of Roasted Courgette, Chickpea & Pumpkin Salad is a good accompaniment to cold meats or steaks.
Store: Freezing is a great way to preserve courgettes. Courgettes can be frozen but it's best to blanch or cook first to preserve the texture and taste. Do not freeze courgette in it's raw state as it will deteriorate into a mushy mess.
Substitute marrows for courgettes and vice versa. Marrows are more watery than courgettes (dare I say more bland?).
Make: Use marrow to make a seasonal Piccalilli recipe. Try out Hot Piccalilli recipe.
Store: Cooked marrow freezes fairly well when stored in an airtight container or freezer bag.
British Pears are in season now. Buy them whilst they're hard as they bruise easily. Ripen them in a few days at room temperature.
Make: Pear Chutney is delicious with cheese but for those with a sweet tooth, try our recipe for Chocolate, Almond & Pear Cake.
Homegrown spring onions are still in season, although they are coming to an end. For those following a special diet like FODMAP, it's recommended to only eat the green 'tops'. Once you've cut these tops, place the onions in a glass of water and within days the tops will start to grow again.
Make: Serve over Chinese dishes or stirred into mash to make a traditional champ.
Store: Keep Spring Onions in the fridge in the crisper drawer, sealed in a plastic bag they should stay fresh for a couple of weeks.
Also in season: Beetroot, Figs, Greengage, Venison, Runner Beans, Sea Bass and Sloe.
Seasonal food dates in September:
All month - Sourdough September
All month - Organic September
1st - National Tofu Day
4th - National Fish & Chip Day
4th - International Bacon Day
7th - World Salami Day
13th - International Chocolate Day
18th - 3rd October - British Food Fortnight
25th - World's Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan
26th - National Dumpling Day