In Season: June
English Gooseberries should make an appearance around week 2 or 3. Early examples can be somewhat diminutive and may be a little on the sharp side, but will improve steadily before the end of the month.
If the weather is favourable, English Cherries could make an appearance around the middle of the month.
English Raspberries and Redcurrants will both also come into season in June.
English Strawberries, whose season normally begins in late May, will start to become more established throughout the month.
Many of you will be familiar with the Sharon Fruit, which is a ‘non-astringent’ variety of Persimmon. Kaki Fruit (aka Japanese or Asian Persimmon) on the other hand, is an ‘astringent’ variety of the same fruit which, unlike Sharon Fruit, needs to become very soft before it can be eaten. When not yet ripe the Kaki possesses a hard shell and firm flesh containing very high levels of tannin, causing it to taste dry and bitter. However, by the time it’s fully matured (or bletted) the shell will have become thin and waxy and almost translucent; the flesh will by this time be a thick pulpy jelly able to be scooped out with a spoon and possessing a flavour which can be likened to a cross between mango and apricot.
June Fruit Bowl
June is undoubtedly the most bountiful of months for home-grown fruit, with more varieties coming into season in the UK during this period than at any other time of year.
European and Northern Hemisphere fruit generally is also extremely abundant and of excellent quality.
Furthermore, it's at this time when the hardier autumn and winter fruits from the Southern Hemisphere regions (mostly South Africa and South America) really start to come into their own.
Notable buys include Strawberries, Raspberries and Cherries. Peaches and Nectarines of all types and flesh colours, as well as Apricots, should be plentiful, of a good size and very flavoursome. Plums will have become riper, sweeter and more tender and succulent.
Spanish Melons should be at their best, too.
Southern Hemisphere Apples and Pears will have reached their peak. Oranges and easy-peel Clementines and Satsumas should also be more plentiful.
Grapes will vary in quality and be quite expensive at the start of the month, but will get better and cheaper towards the end.
Kiwi Fruit from New Zealand and Chile, as well as New Zealand Golden Kiwi, should be of optimum quality.
They’ll also be a veritable array of tropical options from which to choose, including Custard Apples (aka, Cherimoya), Passion Fruit, Papaya, Star Fruit, Physalis (aka, Chinese or Cape Gooseberries), Granadillas, Tamarillos, Prickly Pear, Kaki Fruit (aka, Persimmon) and Pomegranates.
English new season Celery should replace Spansh-grown imports.
Iceberg, Cos/Romaine, Oakleaf, Lollorosso and Lollobiondi Lettuces are now all home-grown.
Cornish Mids should by now be our standard variety mid-sized potato, and wonderful they are too. Let me try to explain why. Their skins are smooth and tender, and their flesh have a slightly crumbly, chest-nutty bite to them, which makes them suitable as both a salad and a roasting spud. Their flavour, too, is reminiscent of sweet chestnut and provides a beautifully balanced counterpoint to the skin’s mild earthiness.Ten minutes boiling time from a cold start is sufficient to achieve a good al dente texture whilst ensuring even, thorough cooking. And if you’re so inclined as to cut them in half and toss a few in a frying pan or wok to give ‘em a bit of a sauté, you’ll find they brown-off and develop a good degree of crispness well before becoming dry or bitter. Lovely.
The Tomatillo is a round, usually bright green, tomato-like fruit belonging to the nightside family and native to Mexico. Each cherry tomato-sized fruit is encased in a semi-transparent, dry papery husk, very similar to that of physalis. Its flavour is slightly more acidic and not quite as sweet as most conventional tomatoes; furthermore, its texture is denser and less watery. Widely used in Mexican sauces, salsas a dips, Tomatillos are very versatile and can used raw to add a fresh, tangy, almost citrusy flavour to summer dishes, or, to access their mellower, more savoury qualities, they can fried, grilled or roasted.
The Summer Solstice, which occurs on June 21st in the UK, is the name given to the longest day of the year in terms of the number of hours of daylight. It also heralds the official end of the British Asparagus season. This doesn't mean that thereafter its quality will go into sudden decline or become scarce. It does though serve to give notice that its time is limited and you are therefore urged to do your patriotic duty by making as much use of it as you are able in the meantime.
New season English Broad Beans, which are always of exceptional quality, should be available by week 2 of the month at the latest.
English Marsh Samphire should be available no later than mid-month.
June should see an influx of varoius English new season Cabbage varieties, namely Summer Savoy, Hispi (aka Sweetheart Cabbage) and Primo. Primo Cabbage is what’s known as a “dome” or “ball-headed” variety. It’s a large summer crop cabbage which at first glance comes close to resembling Savoy with regard its size, shape and structure, but is less crinkly and not as dark. It possesses instead smooth, pale green leaves that are crisp, succulent and tightly-packed. This makes for a high-yielding cabbage, and furthermore making easier for it to be sliced or shredded and cooked very much like white cabbage, and likewise be used raw in salads and slaws.
English Rainbow Chard normally makes an appearance mid-month. Although the stalks may be quite slender early on, and the leaves not as broad as later season examples, the colours and textures of both will be vibrant and firm, yet tender and succulent.
English Broccoli will replace Spanish imports at some point during the month.
French Purple & Orange Cauliflower will both make an appearance at the begining of the month.
English Chantennay Carrots will be replaced by Spanish at the begining of the month. Spanish will be larger and more expensive than the English and will be the only option for five or 6 weeks.
- Jack Lawless