In July, we have everything crossed for long sunny days meaning abundant crops. It's the best time to enjoy fresh, crunchy salads and delicious, sweet berries. If you haven't grown them yourself, then don't worry - just visit your local greengrocer or farm shop. Buying seasonal food means it will taste it's absolute best - and at it's cheapest too!
So what foods are in season in July?
They're a much-hyped super-food due to the antioxidants. They're also high in potassium ad vitamin C. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh blueberries are the best, but they do freeze well but it's recommended to cook from frozen to retain their flavour.
To check they're fresh, a runner bean should snap and not bend. It's best to remove the 'string' sides before cooking and eating (very young beans won't need this). To retain nutrients in cooking, chop the beans after they've cooked.
Cherries without stems should be eaten first as they won't last as long as stemmed ones. Sweet cherries can be kept in the fridge. Once they're out of season, to get your cherry-fix, look out for Opies in the supermarket. They make a Cocktail Cherry with Maraschino Liqueur that are great for cocktails but I think they're brilliant in homemade cakes like our easy Cherry & Almond Cake.
Their name originates from the fact they were originally grown on straw. The biggest and reddest aren't always the tastiest. Often, the smaller ones and those with paler tips are often the sweetest. Try them with a splash of balsamic vinegar or Cointreau?
There are over 1000 varieties in various sizes, shapes and colours. Vine-ripened are best.
Food Events happening in July
July offers lots of excuses to enjoy food throughout the month. Here are just some of the food events happening in July:
1st - 30th - National Picnic Month: If you need some sandwich ideas, we've got some great ideas thanks to popular sandwiches from around the world. For something sweet, try our easy Vegan Flapjack recipe.
1st - 31st - Ice Cream Month: Let's hope it's a long, hot summer to enjoy LOTS of ice cream!
7th - World Chocolate Day
10th - 18th - National Doughnut Week: will it be ice topped, a classic ring or traditional sugared jam?
16th - National Cherry Day
17th - Hot Dog Day
Where to buy seasonal food
For seasonal food, head to the local greengrocer, butcher and fishmonger. Support your local farm shop too - to find out the shop closest to you, Farming UK has a list and interactive map.