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Summer Produce



Wild Boar











The quintessential sign that summer has arrived in North Yorkshire - the strawberry plant is a member of the rose family. Good quality strawberries should be bright red in colour, not too firm but not too soft either. If you can buy organic strawberries, do so, as they will only need wiping with kitchen roll. If you do need to wash the strawberries, wash them and dry them thoroughly on kitchen roll before serving.

Nutrition - Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, manganese and folic acid. They are a good source of ellagic acid (a phytochemical thought to combat carcinogens) and contain antioxidant flavonoids (linked with protecting against heart disease, stroke and cancers).

Tips � Strawberries are highly perishable and really should be eaten within 24 hours. They can be frozen, but freeze them individually on a tray or similar, before placing them into a freezer bag for storage. The scent is an indicator of quality and smaller strawberries often have more flavour. Look for berries that are unblemished and bright red with fresh-looking green leafy caps.

Preparation � Always remove the caps and white hulls from strawberries. They are at their best served simply with sugar and cream, or you can really bring out their flavour by macerating them with a little sugar in fruit juice, orange liqueur, sweet wine, sparkling wine or balsamic vinegar. Strawberries can be used as fillings for pies, shortcake, sponges and flans. They also make delicious ice creams, sorbets and mousses.






The glorious game bird. The red grouse feeds on the young heather shoots on the North Yorkshire Moors, from which it gets its deliciously distinctive flavour. The grouse season runs from the �Glorious Twelfth� (August) to the tenth of December, but young birds shot at the first half of the season are generally the better tasting. The meat is dark red, rich and gamey, yet at the same time delicate in flavour. Grouse is available from farmers markets, good independent butchers and game dealers, if shooting them yourself is not your bag.

Nutrition � Grouse is a rich source of iron, niacin, vitamin B1 and B2 and it a very low fat protein provider.

Tips � It is best to roast young birds. These are birds that are shot in their first year. They can be eaten within 24 hours, but if you prefer they can be hung for a short time � typically between 2 and 4 days, depending on the age of the bird and the weather. A plump bird (undressed weight of 700g) will feed one person � unless they are very hungry!

Preparation � Grouse has such a lovely flavour it is best not to hide it with strong flavoured sauces. It should be roasted quickly and allowed to rest briefly before serving. Traditionally Grouse is served on the rare side, but can be roasted for a little longer if that�s how you like it. Liberal basting is required to keep the meat moist or you can cover the bird with bacon. Older birds are tougher and not so good for roasting but make delicious casseroles, game stews or a fabulous ingredient in a mixed game pie.

Globe Artichokes


The globe artichoke is related to the thistle. Its leaves are eaten, along with the bottom part of the flower, called the heart. It makes a delicious starter simply boiled whole and served with melted butter, mayonnaise, hollandaise or vinaigrette for dipping the leaves into. Break off each leaf and draw the soft fleshy base through your teeth.

Once you've removed all the leaves you can pull or slice off the hairy 'choke' and eat the heart and the meaty bottom with the remaining sauce.

Preparation - First remove about four of the toughest outer leaves, then place the artichoke at the edge of a table so that the stalk overlaps the edge. Grasp the stalk and snap away the stem, removing also some of the tough fibres running up into the base. Now remove the inedible choke: carefully spread the leaves apart until you come to the central cone of thinner, lightly coloured leaves. Then pull this cone out in one piece and underneath it you�ll find the hairy �choke� �scrape this all out of the heart with a teaspoon, and add a little lemon juice to stop the inside discolouring. Now rinse out the artichokes and leave them upside down in some cold water to which some more lemon juice has been added (about 1 tablespoon to 2 pints /1.2 litres of water) until you are ready to cook them.

Don�t boil artichokes in iron or aluminium pans, as this can discolour them. Have your chosen pan ready filled with salted boiling water with a tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar added. Gently boil the artichokes, uncovered, for about 30-40 minutes or until one of the outer leaves pulls away easily and the bases feel tender when tested with a skewer. Then drain the artichokes upside down in a colander, shaking them to get rid of the excess water.


Marrows and squashes

Spring Onions



New potatoes



One of the most versatile (and cheapest) vegetables around. They have a fabulous crunchy texture and are available most of the year. There are several varieties of carrots including Parisienne which is a short, stumpy carrot that has a lovely, sweet flavour and Chantenay which is more conical in shape but has a very concentrated flavour.

Nutrition - Raw carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium; they contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, folic acid, and magnesium. Cooked carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of potassium, and contain vitamin B6, copper, folic acid, and magnesium.

Tips � Carrot soups can be flavoured with orange or mint. They are also very well complimented by herbs � in salads use mint, chives, parsley, coriander or basil, or add an oil and lemon vinaigrette dressing to grated carrot for a delicious side salad. Sweet main-crop carrots make a lovely moist carrot cake, and can also be used in pies with lots of spices (similar to pumpkin). They can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place for up to a week.

Preparation � New carrots just need scrubbing before cooking, but main crop carrots will need peeling properly. Both new and maincrop carrots are delicious raw, with maincrop being especially sweet. They can be boiled, steamed or braised in stock or butter and served as an accompaniment to any main meal. They are also perfect for adding to stews, casseroles, soups etc.




Dexter Beef





Like onions, leeks and chives, garlic is a member of the lily (or allium) family. The head is comprised of 12-15 cloves, each encased in papery skin.

It's practical health benefits include lowering blood cholesterol and antiseptic properties.

There are several recipes in which garlic takes centre stage rather than a supporting flavouring role -� perhaps most famously French chicken roast with 40 cloves of garlic. Garlic soup has a surprisingly soft sweet-savoury flavour yet uses around half a head per person.

Varieties - What most people think of as fresh garlic is actually a dried bulb. There are hundreds of varieties varying in degree of pungency, skin colour (pink, white, purple), and clove size. Fresh, 'spring' or 'wet' garlic is lifted from ground before the bulb matures and looks like a curvaceous leek.� The green portion rising above the ground is also edible. Look for it in speciality greengrocers and farm shops in June. Elephant garlic is very large but milder than regular garlic.

Preparation - Remember that the more garlic is crushed or chopped, the stronger it will taste.

Many people find garlic presses or crushers convenient, however some claim they alter the flavour of garlic; they are also difficult to clean.

For recipes that require whole garlic cloves, you can either cut away the dry nub of the clove and peel off the skin, or (if you need many cloves) blanch the garlic in hot water, after which the skin comes off easily.

If you are serving the garlic raw, cut the clove in half and remove any central green germ as they have a powerful taste and can cause digestive problems. If green shoots are sprouting from the whole head, throw it out.



Runner Beans



French Beans






Easy to grow and widely available throughout North Yorkshire, onions have a great history and give flavour to so many dishes. Onion juice is reputed to be a good cold cure, it will certainly make people keep their distance!

Nutrition � High in vitamin C.

Tips � When you are frying onions, don�t chop them in a food processor � this releases too much moisture and the onions steam rather than fry. Also when adding onions to the stock pot, drop in a piece of the inner brown skin because this will give a lovely warm golden colour, (but beware, if you overdo it you could get a bitter taste).

Preparation � Try cooking onions slowly with red wine, raisins and herbs such as thyme or marjoram, they are delicious with a slow pot roast.
Know your onions, as the clich� goes � and it�s valuable advice. Did you know, for instance, not to add salt to onions if you want them crisp and brown, as it draws out their water and prevents them from browning? For soft, white translucent onions, add salt when you begin cooking.

To know your onions is to know that these members of the lily family also vary greatly in strength of flavour and purpose.

Red onions have a discernibly milder flavour than the papery-skinned white or brown globe onion, and so can be used for salads or antipasti and for dishes in which onions are briefly cooked. There are also sweet yellow onions with a slightly flattened bulb and a more delicate flavour, and small, white pickling onions, picked early in the season.

The russet-coloured shallot has a lovely onion-garlic flavour with more sweetness and less sting, so is ideal for vinaigrettes, salads and fast-cooked dishes.




Damsons are a small oval-shaped variety of plum with dark blue or purple skin and yellow flesh. The taste is usually quite sour, so they are best when cooked, which brings out their deep tangy flavour. You will find them in shops from the end of August to the end of October.

The fruits' high pectin content makes them extremely good for jellies, jams and fruit cheese; they are also used to make chutneys and a variation of sloe gin. However, damsons are not just for preserving. They can be stewed to make compotes, or pie and crumble fillings. (If you find the taste of damsons is too strong, combine them with apples or blackberries.)

Damsons produce wonderful ice cream when pur�ed and churned with an equal volume of cr�me fraiche or mascarpone. Alternatively, make a sweet-sour damson sauce with sherry, sugar, and fresh spices such as root ginger to serve with fatty meats such as duck, lamb or pork.

Cultivated damsons are sweeter and more versatile than the smaller wild damsons you may find growing in some hedgerows. Varieties are rarely specified in greengrocers, however there are ten listed in the National Fruit Collection, including Farleigh and Bradley's King, Blue Violet and Merryweather.

Preparation - Avoid fruit with bruised or damaged skins. Like other stone fruits, damsons can be slit in half around the middle and twisted sharply to make the stone accessible. Ease the stone out with your fingers or a knife. The stones can be discarded, or cracked with a hammer and added to the pot as an almond-like flavouring.

However, it's not essential to stone damsons before turning them into jam or pur�e. Once the sugar is added and the mixture is brought to a full boil, the stones will rise to the surface, seemingly by magic, to be skimmed off with a slotted spoon.


Swiss Chard

Broad Beans


Broad beans are the oldest of all our beans, dating back to stone age times. Mystical beliefs were that broad beans, when offered in marriage ensured the birth of a baby son. And these kidney shaped beans were important enough to warrant the death sentence for their theft from open fields.

In the past the broad bean was a staple food of the poor and often roasted and ground to make flour, but equally enjoyed by the rich, who served it with sumptuous rich sauces. With no class distinction food like this can be used as frugal or as fancy as one prefers.

Nutrition - Sadly they are a neglected vegetable, as this wonderful hard little bean offers such a robust flavour and is highly nutritious; full of phosphorous, vitamin A and C and is notably rich in protein.

tips - The time to enjoy home grown broad beans is during the months of May, June and early July. The pods should be pale green and feel soft and tender. The beans need to be eaten within a couple of days of purchase and stored in the refrigerator, otherwise the carbohydrates in the beans turn to sugar which in turn changes the flavour of the bean. They do however freeze very successfully if frozen soon after gathering, then shelled and placed flat on a tray.

Young beans can be cooked whole, rinsed and boiled for no more than 5 minutes. As the beans become older they develop quite a tough outer skin. The easiest way to tackle this is to boil the beans lightly, then remove the skin when cool. The beans can then be added back to boiling water or steamed, whatever cooking method is preferred.

Serving - The classic accompaniment to the broad bean is parsley sauce or mixed with a salad with the summer savory herb. There are many other ways in which to use the beans, try adding them to soups, pasta or rice dishes.




Belonging to the lily family � which has more than 500 sub species � the shallot is a member of the Allium genus and closely related to onion, garlic, leek and chive. Its Latin name, Allium cepa aggregatum refers to its origins in Ashkalon in the Middle East. It is believed that shallots were first introduced to Europe by the crusaders back in the 11th century.

Shallots are multi-centred and have several, rather than a single, growing point. There are many different varieties of shallot grown around the world producing variation in colour, shape, size and flavour.

Here in the UK, the crop gets plenty of hours of daylight during the summer. Our farmers can therefore grow high quality �longer day� varieties. These produce firm brown or red skinned round or oval shaped bulbs. These varieties have excellent storage properties.

Nutrition - With a high nutritional value, shallots are also a rich source of vitamin A, B, C and E. Low in fat, they contain just 50-60 calories per 100g. Shallots contain the flavanoid compound quercetin. Research indicates that flavanoids act as anti-oxidants. Oxidants are the most common toxic agent we encounter in our food and their effects include ageing, heart disease and cancer. Produced by complex pathways, anti-oxidants neutralise oxidants. Research suggests that quercetin could help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

Tips - When buying shallots, be sure to select firm bulbs. If a shallot feels soft, or is sprouting, it is probably not all that fresh! A good quality shallot has a dry crisp outer skin which when removed reveals an inner skin lightly tinged pink.

Shallots, like onions, can bring tears to the eyes when they are chopped! The tears are caused by volatile compounds, which are released when the bulb is cut.

The following can help prevent tears: place the shallots in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes before chopping, peel the shallots under running water, use a wet chopping board and a sharp knife.


Rainbow Trout




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